Kurt Angle’s WWE return this week was a reminder of his enduring all-round qualities, which were evident in his rap battle with John Cena in 2003.
Angle is the most accomplished athlete in WWE history given his Olympic Gold Medal, which of course he won with a “broken freakin’ neck,” but it was his comedic skills which really helped endear him to the audience as an on-screen character.
In 2003, John Cena was at the height of his Doctor of Thuganomics gimmick and had his eyes set on earning the respect of Angle in the ring.
In the build up to their match at No Mercy, Angle took it upon himself to challenge Cena to a different type of battle – of rap and rhyme.
With Taz hosting, the Doctor kicked off proceedings, unleashing on Angle like he had so many others on the Smackdown roster previously. He ran down the Olympic Gold Medalist’s credentials as a rapper, a wrestler, and a man, with a series of cutting lines.
Cena’s best lines included:
“I’m just a punk, p*****g off more people than prank calls, hope you got your three I’s coz you got no balls”
“So hit this cat’s music so the fans can say you suck too, this finger doesn’t mean you’re No.1 Kurt, it means f—”
Angle cut Cena off before he could finish his obscenity fuelled sentence and complimented his rapping ability bar the last line.
His retort focused on Cena’s smack talk not being backed up. He could talk the talk but not walk the walk. He also laughed at Cena’s overall rapper gimmick, outing him as an imposter in the process.
Angle’s most cutting comments included:
“There was once was a kid who liked to talk a lot of smack. He’s actually whiter than me but he thinks he’s black”
“He can’t run, he can’t hide, it doesn’t matter if he’s rapping, because at No Mercy when I get my hands on him, his b***h ass will be tapping”
Angle then let Cena know that he wasn’t out here to rap, he was out here to fight, kicking off a brawl between the two men. Kurt got the upper hand at first before Cena fittingly levelled him with a microphone.
Cena later high-tailed it in classic heel fashion as Angle’s music played out. Angle later won the match and feud at No Mercy, making Cena tap to the ankle lock.
This was one of many matches between the pair, with Cena’s debut coming against Angle a year prior, and the two later battling for the WWE title in 2005. Cena would induct Angle into the Hall of Fame in 2017, a sign of their mutual respect and friendship off-screen.
The rap battle was a classic “Ruthless Aggression” era segment, laced with obscenities and innuendos, and showed the range of both men – Cena as a heel and Angle as a comedian on the mic but a “wrestling machine” in between the ropes.
Angle’s willingness to be the butt of a joke was seen again on Raw this week with Edge and is a reason why he is right up there with the best all-round characters in WWE history.