When it comes to the best technical professional wrestlers in the world today, Daniel Bryan and Kurt Angle are at the top of the list. Recently, Bryan has found success as a tag team competitor and held the WWE Tag Team Titles with Kane for an impressive eight months before losing the gold at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view. Daniel Bryan has been one of the bright spots on WWE TV and it’s clear to see that the creative team is taking their time developing his character. Kurt Angle is one of TNA’s top Superstars and is still the only Olympic Gold Medalist in professional wrestling history. He’s been wrestling at a high level ever since he joined TNA back in 2006. This past Sunday at TNA’s Slammiversary XI PPV, Angle was announced as the second inductee into the TNA Hall of Fame and will be taking his rightful place next to the “Icon” Sting.
“TNA vs. WWE Fantasy Match” is pretty self-explanatory; it’s a weekly series that will feature a match between current TNA and WWE Superstars. Along with the booked match and predicted winner at the end of each piece, there will a brief history of each Superstar. Also, career accolades and informative stats about each competitor will be highlighted as well.
This week’s Fantasy Match showcases the two submission specialists; Daniel Bryan of the WWE and the former WWE turned TNA legend Kurt Angle.
Although Kurt Angle was a member of the WWE roster for eight years, he and Daniel Bryan have never competed against one another. A brief history of each Superstars’ career as well as their championship reigns and accomplishments are examined:
At the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, Kurt Angle won the gold medal in heavyweight freestyle wrestling. Four years later, he signed with the WWE. With only one year of developmental training, Angle made his WWE debut in 1999 and quickly captured both the Intercontinental and European Championships, becoming the very first, self-proclaimed, Eurocontinental Champion. At No Mercy 2000, Angle won his first WWE Championship by defeating The Rock in a No Disqualification match. Within a year and a half of his WWE debut, Angle had won the Intercontinental, European and WWE Titles. He also won the 2000 King of the Ring. It’s safe to say that the WWE took a chance by giving him such a quick push, but the risk paid off as Angle became one of the most impressive and charismatic wrestlers throughout the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression Eras. In August 2006, Angle received an early release from his WWE contract (which was set to expire later on in the year) because of health issues.
Weeks after his WWE contract had expired; Angle signed a deal which brought him to TNA Impact Wrestling. Angle instantly became a main event star and won many World Titles so far his TNA career. As of today, Angle is in the middle of a feud with TNA pioneer AJ Styles, they produced yet another technical masterpiece at the Slammiversary XI PPV in Boston. As stated earlier, Angle was inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame this past Sunday. At TNA, Angle has been a crowd favorite, has feuded with some of the company’s top wrestlers and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Kurt Angle’s Accomplishments:
WWE: Six time WWE World Champion; WWE Tag Team Champion; Intercontinental Champion; European Champion; Hardcore Champion; 2000 King of the Ring Winner; WrestleMania 19 Main Event.
TNA: Five-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion; Two-time TNA World Tag Team Champion; Two-time King of the Mountain winner; X-Division Champion; Bound for Glory Main Event (2007, 2010, 2011); TNA Hall of Fame (Class of 2013).
Believe it or not Daniel Bryan has competed in 71 different wrestling promotions, but writing about his experiences in all of those promotions would take an eternity, so for the sake of time (and hand cramps), this article will feature the American Dragon in his Ring of Honor and WWE days.
Early in his career, Daniel Bryan jumped from promotion to promotion and was quickly making a name for himself as one of the best young professional wrestlers in the world. In 2002, he joined the number three wrestling promotion in the world, Ring of Honor. In September 2005, the American Dragon won the ROH World Championship and proudly defended it against all comers, including wrestlers from other independent promotions around the world. In his 462 day ROH World Championship reign, Bryan successfully defended the gold 38 times. It’s safe to say that he was a fighting champion, huh? After the conclusion of his 15 month title reign Bryan decided to take some time off in order to heal an injured shoulder. He returned to Ring of Honor just a few months later.
On August 23, 2009 Ring of Honor announced that Daniel Bryan signed a contract with WWE. What seemed to be a bright and positive future quickly dissipated when Bryan was released from the company less than a year later.
On July 11, 2010 WWE.com issued a statement confirming the release of Daniel Bryan. It was reported that Bryan was released for choking WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own neck-tie during an episode of Monday Night Raw which featured an NXT invasion. The act of choking clearly violated the WWE’s TV-PG rating and Bryan paid the consequences, well, sort of. Fortunately for Bryan, he returned to the WWE a month after being released and has been tearing down the house ever since. Also, Bryan has clearly won over the WWE Universe and is one of the most popular Superstars in the business today. Who knew screaming the words “yes” and “no” would be so infectious?
As of today, Daniel Bryan is considered to be one of the best technical wrestlers on the planet and recently, the WWE has been putting a lot of its focus on developing his character, which is phenomenal news. Also, there are rumors that the WWE has a big match planned for Bryan at the upcoming Money in the Bank PPV, which is another indication that he is on the path to superstardom.
Daniel Bryan’s Accomplishments:
ROH: Ring of Honor World Champion; Ring of Honor Pure Champion; 2004 Survival of the Fittest winner; Unified the ROH Pure Championship with the ROH World Championship (2006).
WWE: WWE World Heavyweight Champion; WWE Tag Team Champion; WWE United States Champion; 2011 SmackDown Money in the Bank Winner; Voted Wrestling Observer’s ‘Best Technical Wrestler’ (2005-2012).
Kurt Angle vs. Daniel Bryan 2013
When it comes to overall wrestling ability, it is difficult to pick a favorite between Kurt Angle and Daniel Bryan. If the two squared off in the ring, it would have to be at a neutral site/promotion so that there would be no “favorites”. If the match took place in a TNA or WWE ring, Dixie Carter/Vince McMahon would do everything in their power to help their contracted star win the match. In this instance, we’re talking about a straight up one-on-one wrestling match with no stipulations or interference.
It was very difficult to make a decision on who would win, but with age comes knowledge and the fact that Kurt Angle is twelve years older and has a bit more muscle on his body gives him the edge over Daniel Bryan. Angle has also won 11 World Titles so far in his career and is an Olympic Gold Medalist. You cannot argue with those facts. While Bryan may be younger and faster, Angle is quick enough to keep up with the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Another reason why I give Angle the edge is because of Bryan’s recent run of form. He’s been pinned week after week by one of the members of the Shield while Angle scored a huge victory over AJ Styles at the most recent TNA PPV. On Bryan’s defense, his current “weak link” storyline/gimmick has propelled him to the top of the WWE and being the “weak link” has helped him transform into a (more noticeable) wrestling machine, much like Angle in his early WWE days. Regardless of the outcome, Kurt Angle vs. Daniel Bryan is a match wrestling fans dream about.
The match would be filled with submissions, suplexes, kicks and countless near-falls but in the end, I see Angle winning by some sort of roll-up or applying the Ankle Lock after a 25-30 minute instant classic.
Winner: Kurt Angle
If you enjoyed reading this article and would like to have an influence on next week’s TNA vs. WWE Fantasy Match, please feel free to comment below with the two wrestlers you’d like to see square off.