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Oh, it’s true, it’s true! For the first time in over a decade, pro wrestling legend Kurt Angle will wrestle a match inside a WWE ring. The Olympic gold medal winner will lace up his boots for the first time since the 2006 when he replaces a sick Roman Reigns in a match Sunday at TLC.
The WWE made the surprise announcement in a statement Friday, saying that “medical issues” will cause Reigns to miss the pay-per-view. Previously, the match was promoted as being a reunion of The Shield. According to Pro Wrestling Sheet’s Ryan Satin, Reigns is unable to compete due to viral meningitis that’s been working its way through the RAW locker room.
Leading up to the PPV, Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins had teamed up and caused havoc across on RAW, much to the chagrin of The Miz. Angle had set up a match featuring The Shield against The Miz and a team of his choosing for TLC.
In recent episodes of Monday Night RAW, the formation of The Miz’s team came to light. He assembled a team of Braun Strowman, Kane, Cesaro and Sheamus, and they were set to take on The Shield in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs 5-on-3 Handicap match. But due to Reigns illness, Angle enters the mix to team with Ambrose and Rollins.
Angle’s last official match in the WWE in 2006 in ECW, and he was granted an early release from his contract due to health reasons. He went on to have a successful career in Total Nonstop Action wrestling for a decade before finding his way back to where it all started.
In addition to Angle’s return to WWE action, the wrestling promotion revealed that Bray Wyatt has been forced from the PPV card due to the illness. He was set to take on Finn Balor in a match that was dubbed as being “The Demon” versus “Sister Abigail.” Instead, Balor will take on A.J. Styles, who’s currently on the Smackdown Live! roster.
But the huge addition of Angle to the match card is the obvious story of the PPV. Following various stops with TNA and the independent circuit, Angle came home to WWE earlier this year. It was announced in January that Angle would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame prior to WrestleMania, and he was subsequently appointed RAW general manager the very next night by Vince McMahon.
It’s not clear how much work the 48-year-old Angle will do inside the ring, as his health has been an issue in the past. The fact he’s able to wrestle in the WWE is a pretty big surprise, as there had been major concerns about his health after numerous injuries and past addictions to pain killers. Despite the issues, there had been rumors that Angle would wrestle Triple H at an upcoming PPV. There’s been no word on those plans as of yet.
TLC is Sunday and will be streamed live on the WWE Network beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern.