By Raphael Garcia
The worlds of mixed martial arts and professional wrestling clash once again, as Kurt Angle has joined Bellator MMA, but not quite in the way many people expected. The addition of the professional wrestler and Olympic gold medalist to the promotion is going to lead to some angered fans and interesting talking points. But it’s a move that is a bit too late in coming to fruition, as both parties really could have used each other a few years ago.
For those who are unaware, Angle is a legend of sorts in all worlds of wrestling. On the “real” or amateur side of the sport, he is a two-time NCAA heavyweight champion and he won gold as a heavyweight at the 1996 Summer Olympics. He is one of four people to ever win the Grand Slam, which includes junior nationals, NCAA, World Championships, and the Olympics. That’s an accomplishment that no other professional wrestler or MMA fighter can boast of obtaining. As a professional wrestler, Angle is a multiple-time champion, but what is more relevant in that realm of entertainment is that he is considered one of the best technical wrestlers of this generation. Angle became a top star in both WWE and TNA, even at an older age than most breakout stars.
The announcement that Angle is only going to appear at the fan festival event before Bellator 145 in St. Louis quelled much of the criticism related to the possibility that he would appear in the cage. At 46 years of age and after multiple serious injuries, asking Angle to step in and fight would be a bad idea. Even though he has an extremely high-level knowledge of wrestling, one must question how much his body can truly handle at this point in time.
Tito Ortiz, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and “King” Mo Lawal have tried to play both sides of the fence. While these men have each seen some sort of success in the world of MMA, they haven’t successfully crossed over into professional wrestling in the same fashion. Could Angle have done so? The timing on answering that question is too far gone, but this is likely the closest that we will get to finding an answer.
Kurt Angle is an athlete that doesn’t need any type of introduction. His name being featured in the headlines of mixed martial arts news sites is exciting for a moment, but not in the way that fans would have hoped to see. We are well past the point where Angle has anything to offer in the cage, but his name alone will surely grab some attention as Bellator 145 draws closer.