After announcing last week that he would have his retirement match at WrestleMania, Kurt Angle reveals that Baron Corbin will be his final opponent. Debuting in WWE in 1999 following a gold medal win at the 1996 summer Olympics, Angle transitioned to the world of pro wrestling like he'd been born to ply his trade in the scripted sport, winning his first WWE championship from The Rock in 2000. Angle would go on to have classic matches with the likes of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Eddie Guerrero, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, and many many others.
While it's obviously not being brought up much now that he's back in WWE, the near-decade Angle spent wrestling for TNA Impact Wrestling produced some excellent encounters as well, adding to Angle's overall legacy as a sports entertainment icon. Angle tore the house down in matches against Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Booker T, Sting, Christian, Bobby Lashley, Jeff Hardy, and more while working for Dixie Carter. Angle is currently a member of both the WWE and TNA hall of fames, and for good reason.
Despite all his past accolades though, all wrestling careers must come to an end, and at age 50, Angle just isn't quite the performer he once was. Clearly realizing this, Angle announced last week on Raw that he was embarking on a brief farewell tour, which will end at WrestleMania XXXV on April 7. On tonight's Raw episode, Angle revealed that his retirement match will see the Olympic gold medalist go one on one with recent WWE rival Baron Corbin.
The live Raw crowd in Chicago reacted to Angle's declaration as if they were a balloon that had just been popped, and it's not hard to understand why. Corbin has long been most of the hated men on the WWE roster, and not just because his character is a jerk heel. Corbin is widely seen by fans as someone who's been handed opportunity after opportunity due to his size and look, despite regularly underwhelming viewers with boring promos and matches full of headlocks and stalling. Most WWE devotees would've preferred just about any other member of the Raw roster.
Corbin's reveal as Angle's WrestleMania retirement match opponent was doubly disappointing due to rumors that old Angle rival John Cena would in fact be his opponent, in what would surely be an memorable encounter. While there are still two more Raw episodes before WrestleMania, and WWE could conceivably end up swapping in Cena or another high-profile opponent for Angle, that would make tonight's announcement a troll of epic proportions. At the very least, if Angle vs. Corbin does happen, here's hoping the former ends his career with a victory.