Kurt Angle vs. Desmond Wolfe
20 December, 2009
Universal Studios; Orlando, FL
Three Degrees of Pain Match
Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
Certain things people slam TNA for are just pretty dumb, and are often rooted in a type of "homerism" for the WWE. Do not get me wrong, there are plenty of reasons to slam TNA, but some of the stuff people come up with are ridiculous. This match has a couple valid criticisms however.
First off, this is a very solidly worked match. I very much enjoyed watching it, and I enjoy that style of wrestling. I hate "Escape the Cage" type of cage matches, but that is a personal taste, and that was the stipulation for the third fall, so be it.
This match is obviously TNA's version of the "Three Stages of Hell" match - which was originated back in Philadelphia in the mid-90s in a match between Eddie Gilbert and Cactus Jack, but given that name when the WWE adopted the "gimmick match" much later. The gimick for the match is usually something along the lines of a normal straight fall, followed by a No-DQ fall, followed by a fall inside a steel cage.
With the awesome mat wrestling chemistry Angle and Wolfe had with each other, TNA obviously went for a spin on that tyoe of match here, with a "pinfall" fall, a submission fall, and then the cage fall. The problem, however, was that TNA doesn't have a quick way to lower the cage, like WWE does, so they just had all three falls in the cage, but they were only allowed to use it if the match went to a third fall.
Why not just make it a 2/3 falls submission match inside a steel cage? The only explanation I can think of is that they were leery on having Angle tap out to Wolfe twice (he did once before this in a match, I believe), but had no problem with him eating a pinfall. I dont think Angle would have looked any worse for wear if he had tapped to one of those arm locks after the Jawbreaker Lariat, but maybe that is just me.
To me, the escape the cage finish was anti-climatic, because both men were going at it toe-to-toe with submissions and mat wrestling the entire time, and then suddenly it becomes a race. I would think it would be harder to make a guy tap out or to pin them than to out-run them in a cage match. It wasn't as if this rivalry was built upon outside interference and the cage was needed to keep people out (or in, for that matter).
They were obviously going for a UFC/MMA feel to the match, and making the third fall a "cage match" allowed the cage to be there, but not really be part of the match. I dunno why they didn't just have a cage match similar to the Samoa Joe/Kurt Angle match a year or so before this, other than they maybe didn't want to look like they were trying to do that same match - I dunno.
How scary is it that Desmond Wolfe bled like that after hitting the cage, when now we know he is allegedly Hepatitis C positive? Allegedly. That is the popular rumor that has circulated on the internet among credible sources such as the Figure Four/Observer.