WWE 24: Kurt Angle

I am usually asleep by 10:30 on Monday nights. Which means most weeks I have to catch the end of RAW on my DVR. But last night the commercials for WWE 24 worked like 5 Hour Energy and I was a half asleep truck driver. Believe me when I tell you this was one of the best, if not the best, episodes of 24 ever. I love the Wrestlemania episodes and the comeback episodes with Rollins and Finn, but this one was different.

Entitled KURT ANGLE: HOMECOMING, one of the very first scenes immediately helped me understand what this documentary was about. In the first few minutes, they kept putting over the fact that Kurt hadn’t talked to anyone in the company for 11 years. The doc starts with Kurt in the ESPN studios 4 weeks before Mania discussing the HoF. After that he travels to Stamford to meet with WWE execs. In what seems to be an impromptu exchange, Kurt is walking down the black tiled hallway of TITAN Tower when he bumps into Stephanie.

Its the most awkward moment in the entire documentary. As a fan and spectator, one naturally assumes that these people are in each others lives for ever and always. Even if a talent leaves the company, they must still keep in touch, or at least the office must read about their lives. This scene proves none of that is true. In a cringe-worthy exchange, Stephanie says, “its been a long time” before having a jerky conversation about each others kids, while Stephanie complains about not having makeup on in-front of the cameras. While the exchange is brief, it frames the tone of the film and really underscores the magnitude of Kurt’s absence from WWE. For 11 years there was absolutely no contact.

As the documentary continues, and as we learn more about Kurt’s work ethic, attitude and drive you start to realize that the lack of contact is probably due to Kurt’s stubbornness. Nevertheless, it shows how the inner sanctum of WWE works. Stephanie and Kurt shared multiple kisses on screen, he was a major part of the company and then one day, like that, he’s gone. The magnitude of Kurt’s absence is then punctuated by his first meeting with Vince. HHH escorts Kurt over to Vince’s office and upon entering share an embrace before Vince looks at the cameras dead-ass, points to the door and says, “Out. Out.”

I was shocked. I don’t feel like it was a work. And as the documentary goes on, and as we have heard so many times, Vince is like a father figure to these guys. Looking back on that scene now that I have watched whole documentary, it feels exactly like a son and a father who have been estranged for 11 years reconciling. Its powerful stuff.

The documentary goes on to profile Kurt’s life, from his Olympic journey to his Hall of Fame induction speech. It seems like rumors and innuendo online about Dixie Carter and TNA are overshadowing what this documentary is truly about. Yeah she’s in it, but only to add perspective to Kurt as an entertainer and employee. There is a lot in this film; from some of his high spots and in-ring work to his dedication to his kids and his overcoming addiction. While the story chronicles his return to the WWE, what your left with is just how much intelligence, integrity and most importantly how much intensity this man has. Oh its true…its damn true.

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