Top 20 WrestleMania moments: No. 6
Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle (WrestleMania XIX, 2003)
Because WrestleMania is the biggest show of the year, wrestlers often push the envelope when it comes to high-risk maneuvers so that they can be immortalized with a “WrestleMania moment.” Lesnar got his moment in this match, but it wasn’t because he hit a spectacular move – it was because he missed. Watching on television, I thought for a few seconds that I was witnessing a tragedy in the ring when Lesnar mistimed a Shooting Star Press and landed right on his head late in the match.
Up until that point, it was Angle’s safety that I feared for. Suffering from serious injuries to his neck and spine, Angle ignored his doctors and delayed surgery until after his WWE title defense against Lesnar at WrestleMania. Angle held nothing back during the match, wrestling his usual high-impact style. I cringed every time he took a bump, but the scariest moment in this match – or perhaps in any match I have ever seen – occurred shortly after Lesnar climbed to the top rope seeking his big moment.
Lesnar did not get full rotation of his Shooting Star Press and he took a sick bump on his head. I thought for sure he had broken his neck, but, amazingly, he escaped with a concussion and a lot of soreness in his neck. “How is Lesnar not dead?” said a stunned Tazz, who was doing commentary. Lesnar, who was scripted to win the match, had a dazed look on his face and was bleeding from the nose, but somehow he managed to get to his feet and hit his F-5 finisher for the victory. After the match, Lesnar still appeared glassy-eyed when he and Angle hugged each other. Six weeks later, I interviewed Lesnar about the incident and he said that he didn’t remember anything that happened after leaping off the top rope.
Lesnar accomplished a lot during his short pro wrestling career, but he also was involved in two dubious WrestleMania moments: landing on his head in 2003, and he and Goldberg getting booed out of Madison Square Garden in 2004.