Posted by: sportsandbeans | August 29, 2006

Rage Against “The Machine”. =)

Migs ID by Migs

When one talks about wrestling, and the WWE, it’s hard not to think about Kurt Angle.

The man’s won every conceivable wrestling plum- 5 world titles, the WWE European Title, Tag Team Titles, the Intercontinental Title, an Olympic Gold Medal in the 1996 Olympics, and a spot in the US Wrestling Hall of fame. In recent months, Angle’s enjoyed much success, particularly in recent months, as he maintained his spot as a mainstay on WWE Smackdown, Monday Night Raw, and ECW on Sci-Fi, along with, for a brief period, donning his 5th world championship.

Having established the presence of all of Angle’s accolades only adds to the tremors his recent departure from the wrestling world has caused.

Yes, you heard me right- the man known as “the machine” has hung up his boots. Angle said in a recent bit of correspondence with WWE.COM that he felt so battered and bruised physically, and that he wanted to spend more time with his family and heal up mentally as well. He opined years upon years of wrestling had taken a toll on his whole person.

I don’t work as an athlete for a living, but being a longtime follower of sports and professional wrestling, I more or less have an idea of how hard grapplers work to earn a buck, and to entertain spectators. If you take a look at the WWE’s tour schedule within a 2 or 3 month period, it’s not uncommon for one to see a main eventer like Angle, Randy Orton, or John Cena have to go through 2, 3, or even 4 shows a week, in various far-flung locations no less. Ergo, it’s not really too surprising that Kurt feels worn down, considering that after preparing painstakingly and competing for the United States in the 1996 Atlanta Olympiad, he made a quick leap into the pro-wrestling circuit, with hardly any surcease. He’s battled the best in the business, from the Undertaker, to Eddie Guerrero, to Brock Lesnar. He’s bled, been rammed into steel ringposts, and been pushed off stages into unforgiving steel on a consistent basis. He’s also won many wars, but for every war won comes a likely bit of casualty that needs to be chalked up.

Will we ever see Kurt Angle in the ring again? If his statements to do WWE.COM are any indication, then we probably will, but perhaps not in the near future. It’s apparent that Kurt wants to bide his time with regards to the “recuperation” he needs. At this point, that isn’t a bad thing. After having laid claim to wrestling’s Holy Grail time and time again, it’s about time that this gladiator enjoy some solace for a change, some peace he certainly deserves after earning the admiration, and respect, of his peers and onlookers along his path to glory.

I fervently hope that the WWE takes this opportunity not only to, perhaps, reassess the programs in currently has in place which seek to care for its athletes that break their backs to sell seats (not that what’s in place is hellish, but I’m sure it isn’t exactly without it’s share of flaws either), but also to push the younger members of its roster to the forefront so as to create a semblance of “talent equilibrium” per brand, and for the entire company overall. The loss of Kurt Angle at this point is devastating in terms of how it affects the star power level of the ECW label and the WWE as a whole, but there can be an upside to this, on personal and business levels. It’s a matter of handling things with care, in the truest sense of the word.

Thanks for the blood, sweat, and tears, Kurt. In the eyes of many a sports fan, young and old, scholar or stevedore, you definitely do not “suck”. =)

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