No.4: Kurt Angle
Arguably the greatest pure wrestler in professional wrestling history, Kurt Angle. Few men have had a quicker rise to the top than Kurt Angle.
Debuting in at the Survivor Series in 1999, Kurt was instantly on the fast track to success. In his first few months, he went on to win the Intercontinental and European Championships. He would then go on to win the 2000 King of the Ring followed by winning the WWF Championship defeating The Rock at No Mercy in the same year.
Kurt by far was one of the most funniest and comical wrestlers of the time. However, the more comical he got, the more serious the WWF fans took him seriously. Kurt was able to back it up in the ring and go at a rate unlike any other wrestler.
Kurt continued to wrestle the lights of The Rock, Triple H, Chris Benoit, Shane McMahon, and Stone Cold Steve Austin in a small amount of time. Kurt became a big key to the future of WWF/E for the foreseeable future.
Kurt, in the inaugural WWF/E Draft, was moved to SmackDown. He began feuding with Edge, Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker and The Rock. He would also have his head shaved by Edge at Judgement Day 2002 in a hair vs. hair match.
While on SmackDown, Kurt played a key role in developing the future of the WWE. He showcased new and upcoming stars like Brock Lesnar, Edge, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio and John Cena.
Kurt’s and Brock’s hard hitting feud took a toll on Kurt. They went on to main event WrestleMania 19 where Lesnar would win the WWE Championship. After WrestleMania, Kurt took time off to have surgery on a broken neck. Unlike Edge, Kurt rushed to get back into the ring.
Kurt would go on to reclaim the WWE Championship and recoiled his feud with Brock Lesnar. Kurt would then set his eyes back on building the future main eventers of SmackDown.
Kurt would then continue to cement his legacy with legendary feuds with the lights of Eddie Guerrero, John Cena, and Shawn Michaels. Kurt would go on to linger around the midcard until opportunity prevailed.
Batista unfortunately suffered an injury which forced him to relinquish the World Heavyweight Championship. Kurt who was on Raw at the time entered and won the World Heavyweight Championship. Where he would have a historic bout with The Undertaker and then defending the Championship at WrestleMania 22 against Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton. After WrestleMania, Kurt was sent to the resurrected ECW. Kurt finally was able to show his new more physical attitude that no one had ever seen. However, Kurt did not last long as he would leave WWE shortly after.
Shortly after leaving, Kurt would sign with TNA Wrestling. From the first moment with signing with the promotion, the world was buzzing. Especially after leaving a huge impact by attacking and brawling with Samoa Joe.
Kurt would go on to have a hellacious and brutal rivalry with Samoa Joe. Which led Kurt to winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Kurt ran through the competition until he reached Sting. He began feuding with Sting leading to the dream match between the two.
Kurt being in TNA led to a ton of dream matches with the lights of: Sting, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and many more. Kurt made TNA his new home.
Kurt was also able to show more of his character in TNA. Showing his comedic side. However, a more serious side put Angle up there with the greatest. Kurt was the constant professional in and out of the ring.
In just a short amount of time, Kurt became the top of professional wrestling. Kurt went at a speed and continuously stayed there. He competed at over 30 consecutive pay per views in a row. He also won numerous championships in both WWE and TNA.
Kurt Angle can be argued as one of the greatest of all time. Someone to make the transition from amaetur wrestling to stepping in the squared circle and adapting at the rate Kurt did is remarkable. Once Kurt reached the top, there was no knocking him off the top.