That Wouldn’t Go Down Well Today: Kurt Angle – wrestler, ‘friend’, hugger of men

Welcome to ‘That Wouldn’t Go Down Well Today’! In this segment, Primal Mistry will go into the archives of wrestling history and find things that are just…absolutely not okay in the current year.

Wrestling. It’s a funny business. A never ending story that always changes with the times. As a fan since I was an 8 year old back in 2001, I’ve seen it evolve: things like the wrestlers who don’t fit the mould of being a six foot five bodybuilder having long world championship reigns*, the female empowering movement of the divas…ahem…women’s revolution and the emphasis of the safety, wellbeing and health of the wrestlers.

*Mick Foley was the exception to that particular rule back in ’99. (Photo: Mike Kalasnik)

These things didn’t really exist when I started watching 15 years (wow I’m old) ago. We should really be grateful, even if the hot potato nature of the Raw Women’s Championship scene is a drag.

This leads me to the point of this article. Earlier today, I was browsing through YouTube and I stumbled across this video of an in ring segment from the Attitude Era. It’s here somewhere – one of the tech nerds highly skilled web developers, plonked it on the page somewhere. (Editor’s note: pasting the URL added the video automatically. Who are you calling a nerd?! You’re fired.)

Before you carry on reading, watch the video. For the record, I don’t endorse the behaviour in the video but I’m not offended by it, I am aware it’s fiction and the original nature of it wasn’t to deliberately offend a specific group of people.

Watched it? OK, good.

Holy fucking shit. That would definitely not go down well now. Let me break it down (reference intended) for ya. On a side note, apart from the grainy 4:3 square video from 17 years ago, there’s something odd about this video. I can’t place my finger on it…

Anyway, This is the love triangle storyline from 2000; anti-hero babyface, WWE COO Triple H feels threatened by slimy heel, 2017 Hall of Famer Kurt Angle, who Hunter thinks might be pursuing his wife Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley.

Triple H speaks. He starts to think there’s a misunderstanding. He compliments Angle. He speaks of how accomplished Kurt is as a gold medal winning olympian who is an outstanding athlete at the prime of his life. Suspiciously, the cerebral assassin builds Angle up. He then starts to describes the beauty of the his wife Stephanie. Bonus: he puts emphasis on the HELMSLEY part of her last name…as if she’s his property.

Now, The Game mentions does a back and forth with the two and mentions that Kurt just wants to be friends with her. That’s fine. Though he is adding emphasis to it not sounding right.

Oh. There it is. “What kind of a guy stands in front of a hot woman and just wants to be her ‘friend’?”

Casual homophobia. That will make a 2017 social justice warrior salivate.

Now Triple H starts to lay it in. This is interesting, its not the vitriolic verbal smashing we’re used to from pro wrestling; rather, playful bantery jabs peppered with faux acceptance. “It’s the year 2000, alternative lifestyles are perfectly acceptable in this day and age!”.

Wow.

Trips then shows select footage from Kurt’s Olympic wrestling from four years previous, coupled with Hunter’s own delightful commentary to make everything look more suspect – funny positions, hugging the referee and crying. The latter two are definitely absolutely fine to do.

Due to the ever changing values in society, did we witness an unintentional double turn? Well, I wouldn’t go that far. I suppose.

The Game expresses that Kurt should come to terms with his true feelings, but just when he says “open the closet door…”

SCREEEEEEEEEEEECH, followed by those uplifting guitar chords. Its jolly old Saint Mick. Ah, surely Mick Foley wouldn’t stand for Triple H’s bullying. Mick Foley, who represents plenty of charities and is a vocal advocate against bullying. Mick’ll stand up for Angle.

Oh he is. Phew. Mick’s commending Angle’s Olympic efforts and amateur wrestling as a whole…and then he FUCKING JOINS IN.

What the hell Mick? Helmsley and Foley are meant to be antagonists and now they’re taking turns taking shots.

Well that’s something, I guess. If you were to ask someone with no knowledge about wrestling who was the hero and villain in this situation, then don’t be completely surprised if they get it completely wrong. To be fair, Kurt could’ve just pointed out he was married to his wife Karen and saved us a lot of future cringe, but then again wrestlers are very unlikely to cheat on their significant others.

Kurt Angle’s marital status is between him and…Jeff Jarrett. (Photo: Mike Kalasnik)

Normal programming resumes and Commissioner Foley books some matches and drops a cheap pop – right here tonight in Chicag…OHHH, THAT’S WHY SOMETHING DIDNT FEEL RIGHT. They’re in Chicago and they’re not chanting for a clearly absent CM Punk.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this article, understand it’s all a joke but appreciate how different things used to be and hopefully there’ll be more of this, or I get an actual job.

Take care and thanks for reading. Peace.

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  1. The future is bright. The future is Black and Yellow! - NXT: The Future is Now Book Review - UKProWrestling.co.uk

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