Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle - 7
I remember watching this particular show at my friend Todd’s apartment with his sister and her boyfriend at the time. Shawn working the mat early on was really good, especially with him dusting off the short-arm scissors. When was the last time someone used that move? The exact moment J.R. talks about how great Shawn is on the mat, the two combatants have to be broken up in the corner. Shawn goes to the outside and tears apart the SmackDown announce table but Angle grabs him and bends him backward on the ringpost. Thus far, everything has been decent but the only thing that’s really been bugging me is the audio. It sounds like they got the audio tracks switched or something because the audience is louder than the commentators. Also, the referee is starting to get on my nerves. The key thing for a referee is to blend it seamlessly with the action, something this referee fails at. Everytime Shawn would chop Kurt, he would do some sort of weird signal, and anytime Shawn was in the ankle lock and didn’t submit, he would give the “safe” sign in baseball. Referee distractions aside, there were two giant spots in the middle of the match. First, was when Shawn damn near slipped off the top rope on a cross-body attempt to the outside and accidentally kneed Kurt in the face. Moments later came the second one where Michaels did a springboard off the second rope and crashed onto Kurt, who was sprawled out on top of the SmackDown table. Every time Michaels went for the superkick, Angle would catch it and reverse it into the ankle lock. Shawn finally hit a superkick for a close near-fall and Kurt did a giant belly flop off the top turnbuckle when Shawn moved on a moonsault attempt. Shawn’s facials toward the end of the match were terrific, especially when he was locked in the ankle lock. Kurt’s over-the-top “intensity” seemed a bit forced at times and there was a ridiculous spot where he pulled up the straps on his singlet only to take them back off. Why was that necessary? Kurt was dominant for the majority of the match, except when a high spot needed to be done. I would’ve liked to have seen Shawn have some more offense but I’ll take what I can get.