Kurt Angle recently spoke about his fight against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XIX for the WWE Championship. The Olimpic Gold Medalist revealed that he came to the event with his neck badly touched and there were doubts about whether he could fight.
Angle had an operation scheduled on his neck, but he changed the date so he could fight. Vince McMahon also had doubts until the end, and for that reason, he had a plan B.
In the first edition of his new podcast Kurt Angle Show, Angle explained that Chris Benoit was going to take his place in case of not being able to fight. Of course, Vice McMahon’s plan B didn’t happen because Kurt Angle fought, but it would have been very interesting to see how Benoit’s career would have changed.
Back then, Benoit had already won the Heavyweight Championship in WCW but had yet to do so in WWE. Had he faced Lesnar and won, it would have been the first time in his career to win the title.
In the beginning, when I came back from South Africa and they gave me the doctor’s diagnosis, I told Vince that I was going to have surgery and that I was going to have to skip WrestleMania, Angle stated.
He said, ‘I’ll call you later. 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 give the title to Brock and I think Brock was going to go to WrestleMania and facing a new title opponent in the main event. I think they were going to replace me with Chris Benoit. He was basically going to take my place. It pissed me off.
“The next day I went to my neighbor’s house and there was a boy named Johnny. He has Down syndrome. Great boy, very nice and friendly, and a huge fan of wrestling. He said, ‘Kurt, I’m so sad that don’t go wrestling Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. ‘I said,’ Yeah, it’s pretty annoying Johnny.
He said I wish you would. So I thought I’d call Vince and choose to have surgery after WrestleMania and see if I called Vince and said, Why don’t we have the match at WrestleMania and I postpone the operation? I know my arm is atrophying, but in a couple more weeks it’s not going to hurt, so let’s fight.
He said You have to get the doctor’s approval. I’m sorry, Kurt, but we have a match that is advertised on TV before WrestleMania, where you’re fighting Brock and he will beat you. I said We’re going to have to do it.
Change that Vince. He said You’re going to have to fight that match. I said, What can we do to be able to retain the title and go to WrestleMania without affecting the SmackDown match. He replied, Let me call you. He always does when he’s trying to come up with ideas. I waited a couple of hours and he called me back. He said, ‘We have an idea. We’ll use your brother Eric. He looks like you. We’re going to dress him up. like you.
“When I got to SmackDown that night, I got in the ring, went to the corner, and started praying with my head on the turnbuckle. Brock Lesnar’s music played and the lights went out. No one knew my brother Eric was put under the ring in the same outfit as me before the show.
When Brock came out and the lights went out, I rolled out of the ring and my brother came in and replaced me and got into the same position as me. So Brock thought it was me when he came down the ramp and went into the ring. He attacked my brother, hit him, hit him, went to cover him and saw that it wasn’t me.
He got up and took a second look, and I sneaked into the ring and rolled him up for a quick 1.2.3. So I retained the title to defend it at the main event at WrestleMania. It was a great angle. It wasn’t the match the fans expected. It was in my hometown of Pittsburgh. He took me to WrestleMania, which was the most important thing.
I think the idea was Vince’s or Brian Gewirtz’s. They were two of the people who had great ideas for the character of Kurt Angle