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31 Days of Wrestling (12/8/15): Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Lashley

Welcome, Henrinites, to our 31 Days of Wrestling series—our year-end celebration of the matches from all over the pro wrestling world that best shaped and defined 2015 in our hearts and minds as the wrestling fandom.



#8: Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Lashley for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, Impact Wrestling, March 20, 2015

It's funny, but when you think about it, both WWE and TNA are in similar boats right now: both are depending on their young blood to carry them through 2016 and what's left of 2015. The TNA from earlier this year looks and feels almost like an entirely different beast—bigger stars reigned at the top of the card before lion (or hyena, depending on how you look at things) Ethan Carter III took the championship in June. Guys like the Dudley Boys, Samoa Joe, and James Storm were still with the company, and little did everyone know they would be jumping ship to the enemy within the year!

Right now, the title is up for grabs, and TNA is in a real position to elevate a hungry up-and-comer into a star. Before that, however, the old guard were preparing to transition.




The March 20th episode of Impact Wrestling would see then-champion Bobby Lashley defend his title against Kurt Angle, who would go on to win the match. (If a title change on a TV episode sounds strange to you, remember that TNA had stopped doing all but a couple of their PPV events.)

To be perfectly honest, while both men are two of the best wrestlers on the TNA roster (and there are a lot of them), the fact that the title had to change hands on a TV taping meant that they didn't have as much time as they needed to pull out as dramatic a championship match as they should have done. The action was solid and they milked out as much drama as one can manufacture out of a big-time match, but everything felt rushed in order to fit on the broadcast, leaving us with just an above-average TV main event. (That is not, in no way, a bad thing.)

The Angle reign was important, if only for the reason that Angle was a much better foil for the ascendant EC3 than Lashley or anyone else ever would be. EC3 would have needed the best opponent possible for the perfect old school-versus-new school clash, properly transitioning into his first world championship reign. (We'll cover that actual match later this month.)

Photo from TNA


*****


See our previous entries for 31 Days of Wrestling:

#1: Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania
#2: Kazuchika Okada faces Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship atWrestle Kingdom 9
#3: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley at NXT TakeOver: Respect
#4: Fenix vs. Mil Muertes, Grave Consequences
#5: The Rise of Kevin Owens

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