In 2019, WWE Hall-of-Famer and Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle wrestled his final match at WrestleMania. Angle lost to The Ratings King of Friday Nights, Baron Corbin, who dodged a moonsault from the legend and hit him with the End of Days to get the three count. It was, perhaps, the most thrilling moment in The Chadster's life to see my hero take out Angle like that. But as it turns out, despite it clearly being one of his best ever, Kurt Angle never wanted that match with Corbin, to begin with. In fact, he would have preferred John Cena.
Kurt Angle was interviewed by Denise Salcedo, and the topic of his retirement, as well as his final match against Baron Corbin, came up in the discussion. Dave Meltzer transcribed the relevant portion in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
"Basically, I wanted to come back and have a good way to retire," Angle said in the interview. "Vince McMahon told me that I had a program with Baron Corbin, and I told him that I wanted to retire at Wrestlemania, and he said, `Well, you're going to wrestle Baron Corbin because you had a program with him for the last seven months.' I said, `Vince, I want to retire, Baron is a great talent, but he's an upcoming talent, how about John Cena?'. He said, `If you want John Cena, next year you got him, but this year you get Baron.' I said, `Vince, I am not going next year. I am done. This is it.' He said, `Well, you're stuck with this.' So I respect it, I understood why because they had spent a lot of time building up Baron Corbin and we had to have a match. If I wanted to continue for another year, I could have got Cena, but I didn't want to go a whole other year. I knew I was done."
Can you imagine if, as Angle wanted, WWE had brought in John Cena for his retirement match? We would have missed out on an absolute classic, and King Corbin would be missing a crucial building block required for his meteoric rise to become the Ratings King of Friday Nights. Thankfully, things went the way they did. I think it all worked out for the best in the end, don't you?