Ever since news first broke early this year that Kurt Angle would finally be returning to WWE to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, fans have been speculating and dreaming about when (if ever) he would return to the ring, and who he might face if (or when) he finally did. The fantasy booking and dream opponents were numerous, and Angle himself has been saying loudly and often to anyone who would listen that he’d love to get back in the ring and mix it up.
But no one, not in a million years, would have anticipated Friday’s sudden news that Angle is going to be in Sunday’s WWE TLC pay-per-view. News came out via WWE.com that he would be replacing Roman Reigns in the Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match main event that initially pitted the Shield of Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose against the fivesome of the Miz, Sheamus, Cesaro, Braun Strowman, and Kane.
So now Angle will team up with Ambrose and Rollins to take on five men, including two of the biggest monsters in the company, in a TLC match. That’s a hell of a re-introduction to a WWE ring.
Angle’s last WWE match was 11 years ago, when he wrestled Sabu at an ECW TV taping on August 8, 2006. He’s spent the past decade in TNA/Impact/whatever, where he wrestled pretty much nonstop, and even became a TNA Hall of Famer in 2013. In his time away from WWE, he’s been IWGP Heavyweight Champion, six-time TNA Heavyweight Champion, and a whole lot more.
His last match on the independent circuit, and his most recent match to date, was in March, when he had a steel cage match against Cody Rhodes. So he only has a few months’ worth of ring rust to shake off, not 11 years, but it’s still been a long-ass time since he’s wrestled a WWE match.
Angle has been training and being drug tested and evaluated by WWE doctors since he returned to the company as the Raw general manager following WrestleMania, and has also put his battles with substance abuse behind him. It’s possible that he’s currently the healthiest and most in-shape that he’s been in years. Still … I don’t think that necessarily means a TLC match is a GOOD idea.
Let’s all think happy thoughts for Kurt Angle while we continue to try to wrap our heads around this news.