Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Roode
January 30, 2016 (Airdate: March 1, 2016)
Wembley Arena (London)
Describing the pacing of this match without making it sound like ridiculous hyperbole from someone who dislikes Angle, TNA or both is near impossible. So I won’t even try to dress it up.
The match starts with as token of an attempt at a feeling out process as there could be. Angle and Roode locked up, did a “we know each other well!” standoff, and then moved on. That opening took less than a minute. The next minute was basically the entire body of the match. They did some mid-range offense and a little over two minutes in, collided with a clothesline for a double knockout spot. Just to make it clear – they did a double KO spot to lead into the finish roughly 30% of the way into the match. The final six minutes of this eight and a half minute match was the standard Kurt Angle finishing stretch. Roode and Angle reversed each other’s submission finishes, countered each other’s non-submission finishes, and kicked out of a signature move or two. It was your typical Angle ending that he became so fond of and reliant upon after his feud(s) with Benoit.
It has been a while since I have seen Angle roll out his hyper-finishing sequence. He wrestled sparingly in 2015 (TNA ran sparingly in 2015) and it wasn’t like I caught every one of his matches even then. His sprint finishes are a nice treat every now and then (you get a stomach ache having to watch them every week) so I kind of liked the ending portion of the match. The thing is, the rest of the match was so ridiculously compressed that it was almost laughable. They literally dedicated more than two-thirds of a sub-nine minute match to the finishing run. Due to that, I am not sure it even felt like a full match; more like a semi-entertaining segment. I know Angle’s matches have traditionally been more finishing run heavy than the norm but this felt extreme to me.
If you are yearning – or like me, haven’t seen a match of his in a while – to see Angle do the same finisher trading stretch run he has been using for a decade and a half now, then you are in luck. Otherwise, it is just a bizarrely structured match with tired action.