8 dream opponents for Kurt Angle’s farewell match at WrestleMania 35
Kurt Angle surprised the WWE Universe on Raw when he revealed that WrestleMania 35 would play host to his farewell match. Though the announcement that the gold medalist’s in-ring career is ending is certainly sad, the fact that Angle does not yet have an opponent for April 7 has the WWE Universe dreaming of potential foes for him to face on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
That speculation has also taken over the WWE.com offices. Some of the editors here got together for a spirited debate on who Angle’s final opponent should be. Take a look at our picks below, then let us know in the comments who you think Angle should face on Sunday, April 7.
John Cena’s first WWE match was, famously, against Kurt Angle. The Olympic Hero’s last WWE match should be against John Cena. There should be no further explanation necessary.
But if it’s elaboration you desire, consider that latter-day Cena tends to resurface only for showcase events – most recently evidenced by his showdown with The Undertaker at last year’s WrestleMania – and a battle with Angle would certainly play into that foundational principle of the 16-time World Champion’s in-ring twilight. Consider also the other side of that coin, that Angle himself has said he wants to tussle with the best WWE has to offer while he still can, and a match with Cena is fast becoming just as much of a rarity as a match with the Olympian himself. (This was, to a degree, how we ended up with Cena vs. Goldust on Raw last year.)
But no matter how you want to look at it, the main argument for this prospective farewell is still its most basic one: It’s not often that a WWE career – or any career, really – is afforded the opportunity to end on a note of pure, perfect symmetry, and Angle has more than earned the right to enjoy a moment of that rarity, import and magnitude. It’s an obvious rationalization, sure. But it’s true. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
There are the obvious reasons why Shelton Benjamin would be the perfect opponent to cap off Kurt Angle’s WWE Hall of Fame career. From their respective amateur wrestling roots, to their time together on Team Angle, to Benjamin long citing Angle as one of his mentors, the match would clearly have a real and deep meaning for both Superstars.
However, the main reason why it should be Kurt vs. Shelton in Angle’s swan song at WrestleMania 35? Because, bluntly, it would just be a really freaking great pro wrestling match.
Go back and watch any of Angle and Benjamin’s past bouts. They rule. And now, with only one conceivable opportunity left for them to shoot for a double-leg takedown on the other, hit each other super hard, or counter the counter of each other’s intricate counter, I say we close out the career of one of the best to ever do it by pairing these two up on The Grandest Stage of Them All one last time and just letting them GO. — RYAN PAPPOLLA
Kurt Angle’s final opponent should be someone who not only matches Angle’s intensity between the ropes, but who also shares a storied past with the WWE Hall of Famer. Samoa Joe checks both of those boxes. Joe was one of Angle’s fiercest rivals during The Olympic Hero’s time away from WWE. And let there be no doubt that a battle between The Wrestling Machine and The Samoan Submission Machine on The Grandest Stage of Them All would be otherworldly hellacious. A fight against Samoa Joe wouldn’t only be a fitting final bow for Angle, but also an incredible opportunity for the red-hot U.S. Champion to shine in his long-overdue WrestleMania debut. Forget kowtowing opponents and maudlin sendoffs; let Angle’s farewell match be representative of the competitive fire that defined his illustrious career. — JOHN CLAPP
At the 1996 Olympics, a fresh-faced Kurt Angle represented the United States and blazed a gold medal-winning trail in freestyle wrestling (with a broken freakin’ neck) that led him to WWE. About 16 years later, a young Chad Gable represented USA in the 2012 Olympics in Greco-Roman wrestling. What better time to see these respective roads merge than at WrestleMania. A match between the two consummate grapplers of their generation would see history come full-circle. Where Angle brings with him seasoned experience, Gable comes in as the closest successor to that in-ring Olympic magic. Watching the two heighten their well-respected wrestling game on The Grandest Stage of Them All – while the entire MetLife Stadium showers The Olympic Hero with “You still got it!” chants – would not only be a dream match fulfilled, but also the best way to bid “Farewell.”— RALPH BRISTOUT
If Kurt Angle wants to end his WWE Hall of Fame career in the most epic way possible, unearthing The Undertaker for a battle on The Grandest Stage of Them All would be a proper sendoff for The Olympic Hero. The history between these veterans goes back to The Attitude Era, and their intense clashes for the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship are practically required WWE Network viewing.
With a 24-2 record at WrestleMania — which includes a legendary 21-match winning streak — The Deadman is nigh unbeatable at The Show of Shows … but Angle would surely be up for that challenge. Oh, it’s true. — JAMES WORTMAN
Kurt Angle may have mocked Rey Mysterio’s size when the masked man first arrived in WWE in 2002, but he quickly learned that The Ultimate Underdog was a world-class competitor. Whether it was in singles or tag team competition, the WWE Universe was in for an instant classic whenever Angle and Mysterio locked horns. Mysterio even dethroned Angle as World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania 22.
What better way to end a Hall of Fame career than to square off with a future inductee in a battle pitting speed and high-flying against Olympic-level grappling? There’s no doubt that it would be one of the most memorable WrestleMania battles ever. — BOBBY MELOK
Kurt Angle has had a legendary career. He’s faced nearly every major Superstar in WWE – Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, and the list goes on. However, there’s one name missing from that list.
Angle returned to action in WWE at TLC 2017 to fill in for The Big Dog, donning The Shield’s riot gear to join Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose to battle Braun Strowman, The Miz, The Bar & Kane in a Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match. Since then, Angle and Reigns have never crossed paths. Before The Olympic Hero hangs it up, he should add one last name to his illustrious résumé, and square off with Roman Reigns in what would surely be a hard-hitting affair. — BOBBY MELOK
Four months ago, Drew McIntyre decisively defeated Kurt Angle, picking the Olympic gold medalist apart in uncomfortable fashion. The Scottish Psychopath even went so far as to use Angle’s trademark Ankle Lock to pick up the victory, which was the ultimate sign of disrespect.
After the loss, many questioned whether that should have been the end for Angle. The WWE Hall of Famer, however, did not give up on the spot. And though he will be saying farewell to his in-ring career at WrestleMania, there may be no more apropos way to call it a career than to avenge his humiliating defeat and prove to McIntyre – and any other doubters – that Kurt Angle can still go. — BOBBY MELOK