During 2006 fans across the world were awestruck when Jim Cornette, TNA’s then Management Director, announced that on ‘No Surrender’, Kurt Angle would make his debut, speculation immediately followed of who would be his opponent, what was condition was he in arriving to TNA and did he have the same passion for wrestling as he did in WWE.
All these questions would be answered a few weeks later on an episode of Impact Wrestling when he arrived to the ring confronting the then NWA Heavyweight Champion, the undefeated Samoa Joe.
The two men stood in the middle of the ring, the Championship lay between them, the tension was built fantastically and with barely a foot from each other, Angle struck first with a vicious headbutt and then delivered a hard Angle Slam. The crowds were ecstatic as he held the Title in his hand but shortly afterwards Joe rose with blood pouring down his face delivering an Enziguri, within seconds the two men launched at each other and were surrounded by officials who desperately attempted to pull the two apart in an excellent intense debut.
Angle’s feud with Joe would help catapult TNA in ratings and opinions throughout the world as the two would clash at ‘Genesis’ in a superb match that would see Angle prevail and in doing so ending Joe’s undefeated streak by submission but it wouldn’t end there as the two would clash later at ‘Final Resolution’.
Angle continued his Title success after WWE by capturing the NWA Heavyweight Championship at Sacrifice 2007 in a superb Triple Threat Match involving Christian Cage and Sting, later that year he would follow this reign by becoming the first ever TNA Heavyweight Champion winning it at ‘Slammiversary’ in a blistering King of the Mountain match defeating AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Christian Cage and Chris Harris.
The rivalry between Samoa Joe and Angle continued through 2007 as the two became Tag Team Champions and their bitterness escalated when Joe, who then the X-Division Champion challenged Angle, the TNA Heavyweight Champion to a “Winner Takes All” match at ‘Hard Justice’ and after an amazing match, Angle would stand tall, holding all four Titles at one time.
Another high point of TNA’s history falls directly in-line with Kurt Angle’s as the faction ‘The Main Event Mafia’ consisting of Kevin Nash, Sting, Booker T, Scott Steiner and Angle himself arrived in 2008. For an entire year the group remained dominant, consistently owning Impact as if it was their own but it was its own in fighting that bought an end to the group, however in doing so rewarded the fans with series of excellent matches featuring ‘The Icon’ Sting versus Angle.
During 2009, Nigel McGuiness then known as Desmond Wolfe arrived in TNA and immediately targeted the Olympic Hero. Two of TNA’s best technical wrestlers at the time began to have a series of stirling matches whither it was the Street Fight rules match that Wolfe won or at ‘Turning Point’ 2009, in a 16 minute classic that Angle triumphed or the next month in December at ‘Final Resolution’ in the “Three Degree’s of Pain” match, another fantastic bout that Angle would win, and it remains a fine example of the quality that these two men brought to the TNA and the fans.
Later on Angle found himself at odds with the outspoken Mr Anderson. The two would engage in some of the best matches Mr Anderson would ever have and with Lockdown 2010 being one of TNA’s all time Top 10 matches ever, with Angle winning.
In 2012 TNA had created its own Hall of Fame, with the first inductee being Sting, the second, one year later in 2013, it was announced that Kurt Angle would be next, but despite rejecting it at Bound for Glory because he didn’t feel deserved it, a few months later and after some amazing matches with Bobby Roode, he would accept the well deserved award and join Sting in the TNA Hall of Fame.
In 2015 TNA made its debut on Destination America and Angle found himself firmly in the Title picture opposite Bobby Lashley. Angle managed to seize the TNA World Heavyweight Championship for a record sixth time in London on the TNA UK Tour and remained a fighting Champion fending off challenges from Eric Young, Lashley, Rockstar Spud and Austin Aries until Ethan Carter III defeated him during July to take the Championship.
Throughout his time in TNA, Angle has had fought in various feuds, took part in multiple battles and faced viscous enemies that has excited every fan that has witnessed them but one man in TNA had consistently been the thorn in his side, over the years the opponent has found a new ways annoy, aggravate and get under skin of the Olympic Hero, that man was Jeff Jarrett.
It was Jarrett who struck first blood at ‘No Surrender’ in 2008 when during Angle’s TNA World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat match involving Christian Cage and Samoa Joe, Jarrett hit Angle with his guitar causing him to lose the match. The two would collide at Bound for Glory IV in an excellent match but Angle would be defeated after interference by Mick Foley, who acting as the special enforcer, followed up by a brutal guitar shot from Jarrett himself.
The two would engage in months of arguing and interfering in each others matches until they faced again at
Genesis 2009 in a No Disqualification Match when Angle would win.
Fast forward to 2011, that year began in frantic form during the first episode of Impact, Angle interrupted Jarrett’s $100,000 Mixed Martial Arts Challenge and the two had a chaotic contract signing for Genesis that month in an MMA exhibition match, but in the PPV itself Jarrett would win after blinding Angle during the third round. The feud would continue to February at ‘Against All Odds’ when Jarrett would defeat Angle again. Jarrett would again gain the upper hand alongside Karen Jarrett, at Lockdown in April in an “Ultra Male Rules” Two out of Three Falls steel cage match. But Angle would gain a measure of revenge in June at Slammiversary IX when he defeated Jarrett, but the “final battle” between the two would climax in a Parking Lot Brawl that would result in Jarrett losing and being forced to move to Mexico without Angle’s children. However, we all knew Jarrett would return to TNA, bringing with him Global Force Wrestling.
During November last year, Angle announced he would remain with TNA until the conclusion of their Maximum Impact Tour of the UK on January 31, 2016. And every wrestling fan can agree on one thing, Kurt Angle has made the right Impact on TNA over the last ten years, “It’s True, it’s Damn True”.
The TNA Kurt Angle Farewell Tour hits the UK the month, Manchester 29th, London 30th, and Birmingham 31st.