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“He was basically going to take my place. It bothered me” – Kurt Angle On Chris Benoit Being His WrestleMania 19 Replacement

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• “He was basically going to take my place. It bothered me” – Kurt Angle On Chris Benoit Being His WrestleMania 19 Replacement

During the debut episode of The Kurt Angle Show podcast, WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle discussed main eventing WrestleMania 19 in 2003 and almost missing the event due to neck issues.

Here’s what Angle said:

“At first, when I came back from South Africa and I got the diagnosis from the doctor, I told Vince I’m going to have to have surgery and I’m going to have to skip WrestleMania. He said, ‘I’ll call you back. I have an idea. Let me talk to the writers.’

He decided that we were going to have a match before WrestleMania on SmackDown and I was going to drop the title to Brock and I believe Brock was going to go to WrestleMania and face a new opponent for the main event. I think they were going to substitute Chris Benoit, I believe. He was basically going to take my place. It bothered me.

The next day I went to my neighbor’s house and there’s a really good kid named Johnny. He has Down’s Syndrome. He said, ‘Kurt, I’m so sad you’re not going to be wrestling against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania.’ I said, ‘Yeah, it’s pretty upsetting, Johnny.’ He said, ‘I wish you would.’

It stuck with me so I thought I’m going to call Vince and choose to have surgery after WrestleMania. I called him and said, ‘Why don’t we have the match at WrestleMania and I will have the surgery, but I will wait and put it off. I know my arm is atrophying but another couple weeks isn’t going to hurt, so let’s have the match.’

Vince said, ‘You need to get it approved by your doctor. I’m sorry, Kurt, but we have a match that is advertised on TV this past week on SmackDown before WrestleMania where you’re wrestling Brock and Brock is beating you for the title.’ I said, ‘We are going to have to change that Vince.’

What can we do so I can retain the title and move on to WrestleMania without it affecting the SmackDown match?’ He responded, ‘Let me call you back.’

I waited a couple hours and he called me back. He said, ‘We have an idea. We’re going to use your brother Eric. He looks just like you. We’re going to dress him up just like you. Put the Team Angle hood on him and we’re going to pull a switcheroo on Brock on SmackDown the week before WrestleMania.

So I retained the title to go on to WrestleMania for the main event. It was a cool angle. It wasn’t the match that fans were hoping for. It was in my hometown of Pittsburgh. It got me to WrestleMania which was the most important thing.

I believe the idea was either Vince’s or Brian Gewirtz. They were two of the ones who came up with the great ideas for the Kurt Angle character.”

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• ON THIS DAY IN WCW HISTORY (January 28, 1995) – WCW Saturday Night

On this day in 1995, Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling aired an episode of their weekly TV show ‘WCW Saturday Night’.

This episode featured pre-taped matches, interviews & storyline segments on the road to the ‘WCW SuperBrawl V’ PPV.

The card of the show can be found here:

Stars & Stripes vs. Cuban Connection (Ricky Santana & Fidel Sierra)

“Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright vs. Rick Stockhouser

“No 1 Hulkamaniac” Dave Sullivan vs. John Faulkner

“Dirty” Dick Slater & Bunkhouse Buck vs. Kenny Kendall & Mike Davis

Avalanche vs. Mike Khoury & Alex Davis

Jean Paul Levesque (Hunter Hearst Helmsley) vs. “Natural” Dustin Rhodes

Harlem Heat vs. Barry Houston & Scott D’Amore

“Enforcer” Arn Anders vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage

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