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Kurt Angle

Kurt Angle

After 20 years and 13 world championships, many mat classics and many more belly laughs, Kurt Angle will retire at WrestleMania 35.

The Olympic gold medalist will announce his final opponent tomorrow on Raw. Given Angle's legend, many expect a poetic opponent. John Cena comes immediately to mind because it was against Angle, on Smackdown in 2002, that the future ace of the company made his debut in a scrappy effort against the established Angle. Cena would be Angle's last opponent, just as Angle was Cena's first.

But I don't like that idea.

Retiring Angle does nothing for Cena, who will presumably disappear from WWE again after the match. Ever since his storyline with the Undertaker at last year's WrestleMania, Cena's basically been a non-entity for the company that once couldn't exist without him. So not only would there be no storyline followup to him retiring Angle, but Cena's also been on autopilot in the ring as a result of him spending increasing amounts of time in Hollywood. Not that Angle needs an opponent to test him physically: The way he turns his neck these days tells you all you need to know about his orthopedic health. And with what looks to be as many as 15 matches on the card, including the requisite 40 minutes for HHH's no-holds-barred brawl with Batista, WrestleMania doesn't need any more epics, either.

Angle can have a short but competitive match with someone else, though. That's what would really be poetic about his last match: Doing for another debuting superstar what he did for Cena 17 years ago. Maybe it could be Velveteen Dream, the preternatural young talent who's been compared to Cena himself. Maybe it could be Matt Riddle, the fellow amateur wrestler who's repeatedly said he wants to retire Brock Lesnar and could claim a consolation prize, or a credibility boost, in Angle. Maybe Cena could fake us out tomorrow on Raw and be the one to introduce either of these future champions.

Whoever Angle faces at WrestleMania, though, it'd be nice if the match was as useful as he's always been.


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Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.

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Features editor for The Citizen and auburnpub.com. I also cover local arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.