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Monday, January 16, 2017

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EOTR Match Of The Week: The Rock vs Kurt Angle- No Way Out 2001

By @Phranchize19

It's very hard to follow matches that feature Stone Cold Steve Austin but the Rock and Kurt Angle had the unruly task and they did not disappoint. They simply put on a classic and crafted a great story at the event before the biggest show in WWF history, Wrestlemania X-Seven.

Kurt Angle had become WWF Champion by defeating The Rock in October of 2000. Since that time, Kurt Angle managed to escape with the title in every possible way in matches against Undertaker, Austin, Triple H, The Rock, Rikishi, and more. Kurt was still a relative newcomer at the time and with WrestleMania needing a marquee main event, I'm only assuming Vince McMahon didn't feel that Kurt Angle was ready to main event WrestleMania so he eventually pulled the title from him. Rock on the other hand had been involved in the “Who ran over Austin” storyline for a little while. A lot of people felt Rock had most to gain seeing as he was the number 2 guy in the company at the time. In order to be number 1, Austin had to be out of the way and that's exactly what happened. Rock would unsuccessfully compete in the 2001 Royal Rumble, but won the right to battle Kurt Angle for the WWF title by defeating Big Show. Many automatically assumed Rock was going to win the match and Kurt Angle used that to fuel one of his best performances to date.

The Match
This was by far one of the best stories told in a match that I had ever seen. This match went back and forth. Even the Big Show interference felt right. They tore the house down and showed that Rock could hang with a technician the caliber of Kurt Angle. Kurt Angle would work on the legs of Rock setting him up for an ankle lock. The story being crafted in this match is based around the fact that Rock was heavily favored which motivated Kurt, but at that point Rock had never actually defeated Angle in a big time match so the two storylines made for an excellent match. Kurt showed a viciousness he had lacked during his run as champion and you can see at times Angle carried Rock during this match.

Fun Fact
Earl Hebner would botch the three count in the match after Rock landed the Rock Bottom. Rock was said to be highly upset afterwards because he felt it took down the quality of the match (I for one, disagree).

If you want to see a great match that has traditional technical  wrestling but is also high impact, this is the match for you. The Rock’s smash mouth style and Angle’s technical style blended so well together. Angle proved he belonged in the main event and Rock did what legends do, and that is put on a great performance.

-C. Yates


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