By Scott Keith on 18th September 2022
I'm sure you've maybe addressed this before, I watched the Angle bio and got to checking out the No Way Out 06 Taker match and it got me thinking … when did Taker in your estimation go from the overweight, no-selling drag on the uppercard that you showed nothing but contempt for in your late 90s and early 2000s rants to the more lean and motivated guy who maybe just made you think “huh, this kid can work” ? Was there a specific match or moment or was it gradual ? I was never a huge fan of the guy's work outside the obvious Shawn 97 matches and the HIAC 98 car-crash-esque spectacular but I have a great time digging in to his late 2000s period and from then on until he could barely walk and hung it up.
I'd say that Smackdown match with Kurt Angle with the wacky “pin and submission at the time time” finish, or somewhere thereabouts. That was really the first time in a while where I could recall him working past a level of “Booger Red” or his generic biker character, and he didn't have many bad matches after that.