When you talk about the meteoric rise and equally rapid collapse of TWD, the discussion inevitably begins to bring up different articles which, for whatever reason, just seem to live on in people’s memories. Nearly all of these columns in question were the watershed moments for TWD’s brief existence. They were pieces of writing which, while not always Fitzgerald, were in their own way incredibly well composed. Each had a sort of obvious importance to the writers, and often to the site as a whole. Among these few esteemed columns are:
Adam Testa’s interview with Tyler Black where Adam did such a good job interviewing Black, he accidentally killed the latter’s push in RoH. None of that, by the way, was Adam’s fault. The fact that a relatively major promotion like RoH was paying that kind of heed to us was amazing; the interview was also top notch.
Keith Ensminger’s review of “The Rise and Fall of WCW,” for all we know, actually garnered attention from WWE.
Jason Le Blanc, Mike Cranwell, Scott Beeby, and others’ joint effort in producing the TWD 50 was both a phenomenal feat of coordination and writing prowess, but also got us a tweet and direct link share from Chris freaking Jericho. Jericho pimping the site is honestly the highlight of TWD for me, and I can say that—for me—there was no cooler feeling during its existence than when we received that mention.
To that end, I’ve always wondered why I get included in that list for, of all things, a column typically only known as “That Tolcat Article.”
I don’t think it’s the best writing I did for the site; that sentiment lies with the collection of drubbings I gave Dixie Carter. It’s also not the piece I was proudest of overall. That sentiment lies with my article calling Deangelo Dinero a hypocrite, among other things; I’d wanted the site to be about tackling topics that other sites either couldn’t or wouldn’t, and that was a perfect example of what I wanted—especially because it had that “wow, he really went there” factor going for it.
Instead, the column by me which people remember the most, and by a mile I might add, is a scathing reply to an email sent by an obvious Kurt Angle Apologist whom happened to go by the name of Tolcat. As far as I’m concerned, its greatest attributes were that I had worked in some of my better digs and that I was in rare form with my use of pictures that day.
At any rate, I suppose this article would probably be the one to start with if different columns I wrote are going to be reprinted here. Give the people what they want, right? Below, you’ll find the complete “Tolcat Article,” including original pictures and captions, just as they appeared on TWD the first time around. If that sounded like I was advertising a restored film, I sort of was. Finding these old columns of mine in tact is wrestling journalism’s equivalent of finding complete and ready for restoration copies of every film Theda Bara ever starred in. I hope reading it (or reading it again as the case may be) is as enjoyable for you as my experience getting to relive it was for me.
— Ray Bogusz, July 2012
TWD Editorial Roar: Kurt Angle Has The World’s Dumbest Marks
Originally published by The Wrestling Daily, 30 November 2009
One of the things that makes me so proud to say I’m one of the three founders of this site is that we seem to attract a particularly bright breed of reader. All of our writers–and the vast majority of our readers–are an absolute pleasure to interact with on a daily basis, and I wouldn’t ask for anything to change.
Unfortunately, Co-founder JLB and myself attract a particularly unwelcome demographic, no matter how hard we try to write at a level that should be driving them away. This group is known as the “Blindingly Stupid” and to be honest, they give us a lot of headaches. It’s not like this is a new problem though. A long time ago–before TWD was even an idea–the aforementioned JLB and myself paired with a certain “Magnificent Bastard” who shall remain nameless, and terrorized the Internet Wrestling Community’s lowest common denominators as a sort of “Wrestling Journalism” version of the Fabulous Freebirds. Hell, we even had a name: The Mega Jerks.
Even back then, despite the fact that we were utterly merciless to anyone who even happened to glance across our swathe of destruction, it seemed as if people just continued to line up in droves to be picked apart by our almost incessant vocabularical onslaught. Could some of this have been from a few incredibly cognition challenged individuals who just weren’t going to learn, thus causing all parties involved to engage in an unending moonlight dance? I guess that’s probably true–there are some horrifyingly retarded individuals out there who think they know everything (or anything) about pro wrestling…just ask the folks at wildtalkradio, who used to host some idiot’s show entitled “The Wrestling Report.”
However, that can’t possibly account for all the activity we got trolling around the infinitely choppy seas of the world of online wrestling journalism, nor can it account for the equally infinite amount of hate mail us admins (particularly JLB and myself) manage to get throughout a given week. No, I submit that some people actually enjoy reading columns where TWD staff takes anger filled individuals’ incredibly stupid emails and tosses them around like chew toys in a virtual cage of trained attack dogs.
It’s happened in spades with our omission of Kurt Angle from the recently completed TWD 50, and after Jason published a two part look at why Kurt Angle was left off “The 50” in response to a particularly mind-numbing comment, I figured that if we got any further email on the subject, that it would either be from someone looking for attention or from someone who’s head is so chock full of bird droppings that I’d have to contemplate starting a campaign to investigate whatever company had their heads so far up their own dickholes that they were dumb enough to accidentally hire someone who has an IQ on par with a sea cucumber.
If I had gotten the first one, I’d have probably blown it off as some hack attempting to get his name on a website that in under half a year, has managed to become a reputable and established source for wrestling news, coverage, and opinion analysis. The email would have been deleted from my inbox and that would have been the end of it.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I got the second one.
Below is the email received via the administrative address at approximately 10:00 am, November 28th, more than 24 hours after JLB published his two volume, point by point explanation of why Kurt Angle was left off the TWD 50. It is reprinted verbatim.
I just happened to see your headline drawing people to your site by completely underrating Kurt Angle.
I realize you’re trying to get attention from the other marks, but to not have Kurt Angle in the top 50? He’s in the top 10, if not top 5, of wrestlers today. Who is actually better? Randy Orton? The Miz? Big Show or the anonymous charisma-challenged greased body-builders that frequent the WWE?
Most wrestlers would tell you that Angle is one of the stiffest workers out there, just like Taz, Conan (yes, Conan), the late Chris Benoit and Findlay (before WWE turned him into the Doink-like stereotype he is today) were. He has one of the best work ethics, is not afraid to take a bump.
Not putting people over?! Didn’t you see him wrestle Matt Morgan, and Desmond Wolff? How about The Pope? Angle had great matches with all of these, and wrestled two great wrestlers in one night! And his mike skills have gotten a lot better, more Flair like in his approach. Once he started wearing the suit was the beginning of Angle taking a page or two from the great Nature Boy’s book.
P.S.: I love how you say the e-mail goes to the “committee”. Does that mean it goes to Mom’s computer in the den?
Ahh, the joys of having serious issues. I guess I’ll start with the “P.S.” statement at the end, since I’d rather flow into more serious stuff through the end of this column.
To answer your question bluntly: Maybe. I mean, it would kind of depend on what your definitions of “den” and “mom’s computer” happen to be. I do have a blocked off workstation at my apartment where my computer sits, and my computer is the one I received as a graduation present from my parents. So, I guess in the same loose sense that Kurt Angle is a physically gifted wrestler, it does go to my mom’s computer in the den. The only way it could possibly *not* go there would be if you meant that it gets forwarded to my Mom’s email, which I then sneak on to after she falls asleep. In that sense, you’re completely wrong because it actually gets forwarded to my “corporate e-mail address” and there I find that we actually have some common ground to stand on before I get to the meat of your email, because I see that you have emailed *me* from *your* corporate address.
A closer inspection reveals that you work for a company called “The Pompeo Group” which helps with executive recruiting. I’m kind enough to list a little about myself on *my* corporation’s page, and had been hoping to learn a little more about *you* on yours. To be honest, I had been hoping to read something around the lines of “TolCat helps place fellow Down Syndrome patients in executive janitorial roles at McDonalds’ across the globe. He is motivated every day by Kurt Angle and his unbelievable talent. Who needs a spouse when you can watch Kurt Angle struggle to get to his feet after a cover, then put a guy over by shaking his hand? Word is Bond.”
Alas, I couldn’t find *anything* about you on the staff bio page, nor were you among those listed on the contact page. This either means you’re totally irrelevant at the company, or you’re such an embarrassment that you’re hidden away so nobody can accidentally come into contact with the radioactive brand of moron you happen to be. I’ll bet on the second.
I’ll close out this section with a question of my own. I assume that your email is on a corporate server, so if I “accidentally” reprinted your email address (which I am perfectly free to do), and “accidentally” encouraged the thousands of loyal TWD readers to sign you up for bestiality and child porn, could you “accidentally” get fired and would that be funny? I guess I’m more asking if that would be funny to you, because it’d be side-splittingly hilarious to me, especially since I can’t think of anyone less deserving of a paid position *anywhere* than someone as dumb as I’m about to expose you to be. Idiot.
I just happened to see your headline drawing people to your site by completely underrating Kurt Angle.
One of the best ways to tell if someone is a complete dolt, or very drunk, is to see if they are reading imaginary headlines on the website.
Personally, I love imaginary headlines. They can say whatever you want them to say, that way you can respond however you wish, and you won’t come off like some completely illiterate jackanape…at least you won’t come off that way in your own head. Unfortunately, that headline has never appeared anywhere on the site. In fact, the two articles that spawned both JLB’s responses and, in a way, this one were actually titled: “TWD 50: Future 50’ers and Honourable Mentions” and “TWD 50: 10-1: WWE, TNA, New Japan, Dragon Gate and more.”
Holy shit on a shishkabob! I don’t even see his name anywhere in the titles. It’s not even hidden somewhere with randomly placed capitalized letters that would spell out something like “A N G L E S U C K S.”
What’s next? Imaginary TV where you tell us about Angle’s great matches in 2009? Imaginary radio where you call in to the now-in-development TWD radio and regale Jason and I with your chimp like thoughts on the world of wrestling while futilely attempting to convince anyone with an unbruised cerebral cortex that Kurt Angle is God’s gift to wrestling? I can’t flipping wait!
“I realize you’re trying to get attention from the other marks, but to not have Kurt Angle in the top 50? He’s in the top 10, if not top 5, of wrestlers today. Who is actually better? Randy Orton? The Miz? Big Show or the anonymous charisma-challenged greased body-builders that frequent the WWE?”
I’m glad you got imaginary conclusions from your imaginary headline, because that’s not what we were going for at all. In fact, I’m pretty sure the last thing we wanted to do was attract a bunch of TNApologists to the site so they could tell us how good Kurt Angle is and how awesome TNA is. For one, neither of those statements is even remotely true, and two, TNApologists are about as annoying as the hypocritical “Go Green” commercials NBC runs while it pumps out Sunday Night Football broadcasts.
Even if that happened to be what we were going for, why in God’s good name would we have picked Kurt Angle as our lightning rod? There are infinitely more popular wrestlers out there right now than Angle whom didn’t make the list, or were placed far enough down that they could have been omitted and gotten better heat for us (again, assuming that that’s actually what we were going for). John Cena’s left toe outsells and outdraws Angle, and he’s not there. Why wouldn’t we have picked him, or even Christian? He’s ranked pretty low on the list, yet I could write a column entitled something along the lines of “Christian’s Chest Appears Sweaty and Fuzzy” and it would garner at least 9000 hits. Not to spend too much time reiterating points JLB already made, but since you obviously didn’t read his two part S.C.O.R.E. column, I’ll remind you that Angle doesn’t result in TV ratings either. TNA is still struggling to consistently stay above a 1.0 ratings share on a week to week basis. Ironically, that was the same situation it was in before Angle came to the company. It’s almost as if Angle has had little to no effect on the ratings. Could that possibly be because his skill set has deteriorated to the point that his matches are virtually unwatchable, thus rendering any benefit he may have brought utterly and completely useless?
As for your question of “who is actually better” I’ll direct you to the pages bar at the top of the site, where you can see full archives of each installment of “The 50” and therefore read about no less than 51 wrestlers who are better than Kurt Angle. This isn’t to say that Angle is the 52nd best wrestler in the world, just that there were a minimum of 51 wrestlers in the world who had a better year than him…and Misawa died in June for Christ’s sake.
The funniest part of this particular section is that you then ask “who is better” and follow that up by giving three examples: Randy Orton, Miz, and Big Show. The funny part? None of them made the list either!
Since I *now* know that you didn’t even bother to read the actual list, allow me to inform you that for our purposes, none of them were ranked either and in fact, only The Miz was able to garner any real support at all. One must wonder why you’d be shooting off emails about something you didn’t even read.
Most wrestlers would tell you that Angle is one of the stiffest workers out there, just like Taz, Conan (yes, Conan), the late Chris Benoit and Findlay (before WWE turned him into the Doink-like stereotype he is today) were. He has one of the best work ethics, is not afraid to take a bump
The fact that he is not afraid to take a bump does not in any way mean that he should. Angle is dangerously close to killing himself in the ring, and the slightest tick to his rapidly balding hobo head will probably kill him. This is what happens when you’ve had a “Broken Freaking Neck” numerous times and have never been enough of an adult to actually take the proper time to heal yourself. This really shows up in his work when the TNA announcers describe him as in “top shape” and “physically dominating” all while the official is attempting to help him stagger to his feet on his nearly useless knees.
That particular scenario happened this past Thanksgiving, prompting my dad (who honestly does try to give wrestling a shot) to comment: “Look at that fake shit. That is the least believable thing I’ve ever seen. This is why I don’t watch wrestling.” Kurt Angle: World Class Wrestling Ambassador.
Also, TolCat, “being stiff” is not a compliment in regards to wrestling. Unless Kurt Angle is looking for a career as a piece of lumber, he shouldn’t be aiming to be stiff.
Not putting people over?! Didn’t you see him wrestle Matt Morgan, and Desmond Wolff? How about The Pope? Angle had great matches with all of these, and wrestled two great wrestlers in one night!
I’m still not 100 percent certain how Kurt Angle put “Desmond Wolff” over. It’s not like he was some new guy on the scene. You see, I’ve been watching the aforementioned man of a canine moniker wrestler under the name “Nigel McGuiness” in Ring of Honor for years. He was pretty over then, and to be frank, he seems like he could be pretty over now against anyone on the TNA roster…even the irrepressibly irrelevant Rhino/Rhyno.
Why do I get to question his ability to put over Matt Morgan and “The Pope” too? Well…he hasn’t. Sure, he managed to work some decent matches with them, but they’re not exactly world beating phenoms being pursued by promotions across the globe. If Morgan and Dinero were such hot commodities, WWE, ROH, NJPW, NOAH, AAA, and even PWG would be fighting tooth and nail to get them to sign on.
As it stands, Dinero is a jobber and Morgan is drifting along aimlessly as he has for much of his career.
Plus, TNA’s ratings wouldn’t be in the toilet if Angle had made them stars. In fact, both Morgan and Dinero will be lucky to even be remembered in 30 years. I highly doubt that by that time, anyone will care that they worked a few good but not memorable matches with Kurt Angle at a random career point.
Hell, does anybody outside of the Impact Zone even care the slightest bit about Deangelo Dinero? I mean really…he’s pretty irrelevant. You could even switch Matt Morgan in that question instead and the result would be the same.
Thank you, Kurt Angle, for giving both of them such a great rub! With the obvious fame and popularity they’ve gotten thanks to you putting them over, both Dinero and Morgan can now go to any other promotion in the world and accomplish precisely dick.
And his mike skills have gotten a lot better, more Flair like in his approach. Once he started wearing the suit was the beginning of Angle taking a page or two from the great Nature Boy’s book.
Hold the damn phone, because this might the dumbest thing I’ve ever read, and I once read a paper telling me that global warming was causing global cooling.
Aside from the fact that you seem to think microphone is actually spelled “mikerophone” I’ll go ahead and tell you that Angle’s similarities to Flair end with the fact that they happen to share the same profession.
Kurt Angle came to fame after winning a gold medal at the 96 summer Olympics with the same aforementioned broken neck. He went to WWE for a few years as a fairly good draw, continued to get hurt, continued to not rehab properly, and continued not being able to get anybody over. Remember the World’s Greatest Tag Team? In case you forgot (everyone one with a life probably has) it was made up of Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin. They tried getting a rub from Angle, and look how far their careers have gone. Do you think Shelton Benjamin is set to light the world afire like someone who has gotten a rub from an all time great would? Didn’t think so.
Then again, Kurt Angle isn’t an all time great. Flair is. Ric Flair dominated the industry for the better part of three decades. He completely redefined the position of a heel in a way that at the time was only paralleled by the mannerisms of and reactions drawn by fellow 80’s mega star, Macho Man Randy Savage. Flair completely changed the face of the sport and for better or worse, had a direct hand in making some of the biggest stars of this or any other era. Hell, The Four Horsemen was the launching pad for some of the best careers in the entire history of the business.
Flair was also an absolute marketing machine. Sure, Angle can cut a good promo and all, but for the better part of 20 years, Ric Flair’s promos were consistently in the top two or three in the world for a given year. If Billy Graham revolutionized the wrestling world that would become the 80’s, Flair revolutionized that and helped create what we would come to know as the Attitude Era 90’s.
Even physically, Flair was and is infinitely better than Angle. At Wrestlemania XXIV, Flair showed that if it was just for one night, he could work a hell of a match. Angle often looks a lot like Flair did down the stretch. The problem is that Flair has 20 some years on Angle. That’s also about how many years Flair has in comparison to Angle career wise. Angle didn’t even start wrestling professionally until 1998, and not in WWE until 1999. That means he’s got a whopping 11 years experience and he’s about to fall apart. That’s not just a sign of somebody totally uncut for the business, that’s a sign of somebody who either can’t or refuses to take proper care of himself in favor of a bigger short term pay day because he’s too dumb to think long term and too selfish to bother being around long enough to put anyone over. What a guy. Flair has had some of the best longevity in the business. Even as he shits liquid feces all over his career down in Australia, Flair still looked infinitely better than Hogan, and at times, better than Angle. Again, the problem is that Flair is also infinitely older than Angle.
In closing, I’d like to say that the above letter was written by a complete dumbass. It’s one thing for people to like Kurt Angle, it’s another to bury you head in the sand and insist he’s something he isn’t…and never was. Angle doesn’t have the list of guys he put over into stardom. He doesn’t have a sustained career filled with excellent matches throughout. His promos are not going to be remembered the same way as “Jet Flyin’, Limosuine ridin,’ stylin’ and profilin’ ” and “I am the Lord and Master of the ring andyou’re going to find that out, one athlete to another, right now. You can’t compete with me, no, history beckons the Macho Man” will. Kurt Angle will become a footnote in wrestling. Happy if he gets some sense and walks away. Sad if he continues attempting to kill himself. He isn’t one of the 50 best now. He won’t be one of the 50 best next year. And he sure as hell isn’t one of the 50 best of all time. He never was.
Ray Bogusz was the editor of TWD. All opinions expressed here are his and not that of TWD as an entity. He is also 1/3 of a group formerly known as the Mega Jerks. They still kick ass.