Lashley (c) vs Kurt Angle
TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Taped 01/31/2015, aired 03/20/2015
Wembley Arena, London, England, United Kingdom
Lashley had, like, a really good 2014, and Angle, despite currently being a collection of broken bones loosely wrapped in aging, leathery flesh, is still one of the best ever, so this should be pretty fun. Woof, Lashley is a spectacle here. One of the most prototypical wrestlers I’ve ever seen. This is the first time these two have ever met in the ring, and there’s a bit of a feeling out process at the beginning, and it’s clear that Lashley is simply faster, stronger, and more energetic than the Olympic gold medalist. The two men grapple around, leading into a series of suplexes by Angle. Shortly thereafter he grabs an ankle lock, but Lashley is able to quickly get to the ropes, and Angle clotheslines the champ over those ropes when he reaches his feet. Lashley tries to cause some separation on the outside and drops Angle face-first on the guard rail to regain the advantage. Lashley works over the vet, pretty gingerly really, and Angle’s comeback attempt is stuffed. Angle’s eventually able to turn the tide with a freaky diving shoulderblock/headbutt thing off the second rope, freaky in that when he lifts himself up onto the second rope, his facial expression and the way his body is shaking make him look like a literal monster. Jesus, Kurt, stop fucking wrestling. Slugfest in the middle between both men, and Lashley looks to have the advantage before Angle ducks a line and delivers a trio of German suplexes. Angle Slam attempt is avoided and Lashley hits a spinebuster for two. The champ goes for a spear but Angle ducks out of the way, sending Lashley crashing into the turnbuckle, and hits five more German suplexes, putting us up to eleven total in this match. He grabs an Ankle Lock for a moment before Lashley turns over and kicks him off, following it up with a big powerslam for two. We come back from commercial to see Lashley crash into the turnbuckle again when Angle dodges out of the way. Rollup from Angle is transitioned into an Ankle Lock, but Lashley is able to fight his way out and roll through it, sending Angle face-first into the bottom turnbuckle in a pretty sick spot, really. Angle really seems in rough shape here, even before that spot. Lashley goes for the spear and eats a knee to the face, and an Angle Slam gets the challenger a solid nearfall. Clothesline attempt from Angle in the corner is blocked, and Lashley floors the Olympian with a line of his own, and brings him right back down with a pretty, and painful-looking, vertical suplex. Angle slowly drags himself to his feet using the ropes and eats a big spear for two. I should probably mention here that Josh Matthews and Tazz on commentary are miles better than they were on the previous match, the EC3/Spud hair vs hair match. The champ climbs to the top rope and Angle meets him up top, looking for a big belly to belly, but Lashley fights him off and sends him crashing back down to the mat. He comes off the ropes with a fairly sloppy frog splash, but nobody’s home. Angle slowly ascends to the top himself and comes down with a cross body, but Lashley rolls through it and grabs an ankle lock of his own in a pretty cool little spot that I quite like. The Olympian eventually gets to the ropes, ducks a line, and hits a real slow Angle Slam for two. Lashley holds on, though, and sort of awkwardly transitions into a cross armbreaker from the kickout. Angle muscles his way out and again cinches in the ankle lock, dragging Lashley away from the ropes when he goes to grab them, and grapevines the leg right in the middle. Sadly, Josh and Tazz here go pretty robotic on commentary right before Lashley taps out. Not a bad match by any means, but a very simple one that’s sullied by watching a broken, crazy man in his late 40’s do something he really, really shouldn’t be doing anymore. Still, it serves as a fairly enjoyable TV main event, and is certainly one of the better TV main events in the world in 2015, considering the relatively poor quality of wrestling TV these days.