Gary Vaughan is a Mark. David Martell is a Smark. This week…
Smark vs. Mark presents:
The Attitude Era Tournament
2. The Rock vs. 7. Kurt Angle
Who is the best in ring wrestler?
Gary Vaughan: This Attitude Era matchup is one of the first to be really challenging for me personally. Both The Rock and Kurt Angle were great in-ring wrestlers. Therefore, I have to judge them by other elements of their wrestling technique and the value of their wrestling ability by my standards.
As much as Kurt Angle deserves to be considered one of the Attitude Era's purest wrestlers, I'm going to have to go with The Rock when it comes to in-ring ability. Yea, I know, how could I choose an electrifying entertainer over an Olympic Gold medalist in a wrestling competition? Well simply, the WWF was not based on wrestling ability alone. So, clearly The Rock was a great wrestler just as Kurt Angle, but he was more entertaining in between the ropes.
The Rock gave us Samoan drops, spinebusters, and flowing snap DDTs that were more than just moves when he applied them. The Rock made simple moves look like lightning in a bottle. One of my favorites was his signature punch combos that ended in a shaky hand to fist end punch. Even his finishers in The Rock Bottom and People's Elbow had the crowd on their feet. Kurt Angle on the other hand was just a great wrestler that really didn't make anyone say, "That move was awesome!” So, The Rock gets the nod in the ring.
David Martell: As much as I love the Rock, Kurt Angle is clearly the better in ring wrestler. Kurt angle is an Olympic gold mentalist in wrestling and it shows when he is in the ring. More than often he has been considered the greatest technical wrestler there has ever been and in my book he is at least in the top five in ring wrestlers of all time. The only two people I might consider as good or better would be HBK and Daniel Bryan. Kurt Angle was a guy that could not only make others look like amateurs, but he also had the ability to make other wrestlers look great. It’s a weird concept, but it’s true. A perfect example was John Cena’s first match. John Cena came out as a nobody and Kurt Angle quickly elevated him in his very first match. I am not taking anything away from Cena, but a match with someone of a smaller caliber might have made John Cena’s career a lot different, at least from the beginning. Kurt Angle might not always be right in the head but when he’s in the ring he is one of the all-time greats.
Who is the best on the mic?
Gary Vaughan: There is no competition between The Rock and Kurt Angle when it comes to mic ability. The Rock was and is still considered one of WWE's best on mic personalities in their history. If you disagree, turn around and say that to "The Millions... And Millions of The Rock's fans!” Over the year's Rock gave us catch phrase after catch phrase. Not only that, The Rock gave us some of the most entertaining feud banters of all-time with other WWF superstars. There was no one better on the mic in the Attitude Era. So, trust me when I say The Rock made Kurt Angle look like an amateur when it came to the mic.
David Martell: The Rock might just be the greatest ever on the mic. The guy could cut down any man any day of the week and the crowd always ate it up. That was really the best part about the Rock. Who was he going to insult this week? The Rock had a million catch phrases and I can still remember every single one till this day. He could always make you laugh even when he dissed your favorite wrestler. The man not only could talk, but he could sing. Who can forget the epic Rock concerts? When it comes to the mic there is rarely anyone better and Kurt Angle is simply not in his league.
Who has the most “it” factor?
Gary Vaughan: Kurt Angle was a total package when he came to the WWF. He could wrestle with the best of the best. Angle could talk the talk with some of the other elite on mic personalities. So, how could he not be an "it" guy? It's simple, when he is put against The Rock, "It doesn't matter how good Kurt Angle was".
The Rock was a mega-star in the WWF and with millions of wrestling fans all over the world. He was excellent in the ring and he was a master at using the mic. Kids were buying his action figures, women from age 12-25 were buying anything with The Rock's shirtless body on it, and guys of all ages were in Rock T-shirts chanting every phrase The Rock had ever given. Besides Stone Cold, The Rock was the face of wrestling during the Attitude Era. So, Kurt Angle has no chance of being an "it" guy when he is put against the man who shined like the sun in the summertime.
David Martell: I am pretty sure that The Rock was born with the “it” factor infused in his DNA. There are not many wrestlers out there that can say they have anywhere near the amount of “it” factor that the Rock has. You could probably count them all on one hand. The Rock is what you call a total package. The man can wrestle, talk and captivate everyone. There is a reason that he is a big Hollywood star and there is a reason that people still want to see the Rock wrestle in the main event. The Rock is in the top five wrestlers of all time and to some, he might be the best wrestler of all time. Even at the ripe old age of 25, I still get excited about the Rock showing up on WWE programming. Simply put, The Rock is the “it” factor.
Who has your favorite match?
Gary Vaughan: I think one of the best matches of either Rocky or Angle has to be one they are both in. The exact match I'm thinking about just happens to be a WWF Championship bout. The Rock vs. Kurt Angle at No Way Out 2001 for the WWF Championship has to be one of the best matches in both of their careers.
This match was very entertaining and full of great grappling move sets. Of course, submissions were throughout this battle, but you had to expect that with Kurt Angle in the match. Overall, the match was great; with the exception of the referee messing up the ending.
David Martell: It is incredibly hard to pick the best match out of these two phenomenal wrestlers. The first match that popped into my head is a match with both men in it. It’s the Rock vs. Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker at Vengeance 2002. It also happens to be one of my all-time favorite promo videos.
As a kid, this was one of my all-time favorite matches and it still holds up till this day.
Who has your favorite moment?
Gary Vaughan: One of my favorite moments has to be with the one guy that has a million great moments. That man is The Rock and narrowing down just one is hard. So, I chose a moment that I remember and thought was one of the funniest. Plus it involved four wrestlers that I really admired in the Attitude Era.
It was 1999 and The Rock and Mankind were in the ring. The Dudley Boys made their way down the ramp and into the ring; while all along talking down to the Rock and Sock Connection. Of course, The Rock interrupted Devon to ask who they were. As Bubba Ray stuttered that they were the D-d-d-d-dudley Boys, The Rock answered with an "I-I-I-It Doesn't Matter!" and began a brawl. Definitely, this has to be one of The Rock's best moments.
David Martell: I am pretty positive that in the last two columns I have mentioned The Rock in this same section of the column. The Rock has had my two favorite feuds with Stone Cold and Mankind. To keep things different and so I don’t repeat myself I am going to have to go with the Rock’s singing ability. No, I am not talking about the Rock Concerts. I am talking about one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs.
Poor Test just didn’t see this song coming. This truly showed us how creative the Rock was at all times. The guy is a master of the crowd and it’s these small moments that made him so special.
In what seems to be a unanimous decision, The Rock won the hearts of both the Smark and the Mark.
-Gary Vaughan and David Martell, DirtSheets.com