A look at the media mix swirling around WWE Hall of Famer’s WrestleMania opponent
Perhaps the most buzzed about aspect of Monday night’s WWE RAW is Kurt Angle’s retirement match at WrestleMania.
Angle announced last night on the show from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois that he wants to square off against Baron Corbin at the Grandest Stage of Them All™ which was immediately met with consternation among fans and pundits alike.
As we noted earlier this morning, even Angle’s own wife initially took to twitter to voice how underwhelmed she was with the match, only to delete the tweets soon thereafter.
Shortly after Raw went off the air, Mike Johnson posted his post-show “Hotline,” during which he seemingly shot down his own straw man angle that the match announcement was “a swerve” by WWE.
In a common PWInsider trope, Johnson framed an argument wherein he responds to reader questions he’s received about a given topic of interest.
Here, Johnson teed up the idea of whether or not WWE was really planning to go ahead with the match as announced.
Johnson said on his podcast that, as far as he’s been told, “this is 100% “ the plan for the match at this time.”
He reiterated this in a brief article on the site published Tuesday morning as well.
Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez also gave some degree of lip service to the idea that, perhaps, Kurt Angle will face John Cena at the Met Life Stadium next month.
During their Raw recap episode of Wrestling Observer Radio (subscription required), Alvarez noted how the fans were chanting “we want Cena” following Angle’s match with Chad Gable, to which Meltzer responded, “maybe that’s the match. John Cena still doesn’t have an opponent at WrestleMania.” To which Alvarez replied, “well I hope that is the match.”
Unfortunately, however, other than clinging to the idea that “plans change all the time” in WWE, there is nothing to suggest the match won’t be Angle vs Corbin.
That hasn’t stopped some of the lesser wrestling noise sites from publishing their clickbait new$ headlines openly asking whether the match could be changed. Taking their lead from Johnson’s original straw man, and Meltzer’s apparent wishful thinking, headlines have appeared all day on some of the lower tier sites pushing the issue.
WWE is obviously aware of the how discontent fans are with the matchup, and much has been made among the punditry of how the first indication of that played out on Raw when WWE “worked it in to commentary” when Michael Cole addressed the groan-worthy announcement.
Furthermore, Kurt Angle himself addressed the disappointing match in a backstage interview following Raw, which WrestlingInc’s Marc Middleton has transcribed. An excerpt appears below:
“Well, I know it wasn’t the popular pick,” Angle admitted. “I know a lot of fans were hoping for someone else, but for me, he was the one guy who’s gotten to me more than anybody.” Angle said.-Marc Middleton transcription
“Sure, I would love to face John Cena or AJ Styles or Samoa Joe or Braun Strowman, but Baron Corbin is a great wrestler. Regardless of how you feel about him, he is really good and he’s a great challenge for me at WrestleMania …”-Marc Middleton transcription
Wade Keller on his WKH episode last night (subscription required) noted that WWE had published an article over the weekend hyping potential superstars fans would want to see Angle square off against in his farewell match.
The piece, titled 8 dream opponents for Kurt Angle’s farewell match at WrestleMania 35, lists the likes of the Undertaker, John Cena, Samoa Joe among others, but nowhere was Corbin’s name found. So, in a way, WWE may have itself to blame for the lukewarm response to this match, because expectations were set way too high.