The story of a real wrestling match taking place between Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar more than a decade ago has reached folktale status in the wrestling industry.
But it in an interview with Sports Illustrated, Angle finally confirmed it.
Just to clarify, we're not talking about a wrestling match that you see on Monday Night Raw every week. We're talking an amateur/Olympic style-wrestling match between two of the greatest in history of the United States.
Angle, a Pittsburgh native, has a laundry list of accolades starting at Clarion University of Pennsylvania where he won two NCAA championships. He then went on to win a gold medal in the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta.
Lesnar, on he other hand, also won an NCAA championship at the University of Minnesota and was a two-time All-American.
With the list of accolades between these two a mile long, the real wrestling match between these two in 2002 while both were in the WWE was highly anticipated. According to Angle, he came out the victor.
"We fought in a wrestling ring during the day before our show," Angle told Sports Illustrated. "It was fun. It was nerve-wracking. Someone was going to win, get hurt, or die."
According to Angle, Lesnar thought that he would dominate the match due to his size advantage. Lesnar was not only taller than Angle, but at about 300 pounds, held about an 80-pound weight advantage.
But Angle was undeterred as he used his impeccable technique to best the future UFC Heavyweight Champion.
"Brock was in the ring with Big Show," Angle said. "He was literally throwing this 530-pound man around the ring like a little kid. I'd never seen anyone lift up Big Show like that without his help, but Brock was picking him up and throwing him around."
"I said to Big Show, 'Get out of the ring.' Then I tapped Brock on the should and said, 'Let's go.' And that's when we started."
"I know I'm not the biggest person, but I've annihilated people a lot bigger than me," he said. "You're one of the best in the world as an NCAA champion like Brock, but when you're an Olympic gold medalist, that's a whole other level. The guys who saw Brock and I wrestle that witnessed how much of a gap there is between the two."
With two massive competitors (and egos) the intensity escalated rather quickly.
"We were doing take-downs, and it was very, very tight," Angle remembered. "Brock showed me that he knows how to wrestle. A lot of heavyweights are big and strong and know how to use their weight, but Brock knew how to wrestle. He was a lightweight who grew into a heavyweight body, and he brought that technique with him. That's how good Brock was."
Although Brock was technically sound, Angle said that he did not score a point on him.
"When I got done with him, I didn't want to wrestle him again," Angle said.
The prospects of Angle and Lesnar competing against each other WWE ring again, however, are rather slim. Although Lesnar recently signed a multi-year contract to remain with the WWE, Angle felt as though the WWE gave him the cold shoulder when he was a free agent in 2014.
When his contract ran out with TNA Wrestling, Angle said that he was open to returning to the WWE, but only if they offered him a fair deal. Instead, Angle said he received the runaround.
"Paul [Levesque] is in charge," Angle said. "I found that out when I contacted Vince. I've always had a good relationship with Paul, so I didn't consider that a problem. But he decided they had enough talent."
"For the Vince McMahon who I knew, enough was never enough. He always wanted more. I don't know what was going on over there, but they even canceled our meeting. I never went to see them. They didn't even sit me down and talk to me."
Feeling humbled and miffed, Angle eventually re-signed with TNA Wrestling.
"It blew my mind," he said. "It was as if I was a nobody, that I wasn't Kurt Angle. From a wrestling standpoint, they just weren't interested. But TNA not only stepped up, they gave me everything I wanted — the dates, the money, and it's no secret that I've went to rehab in the past, and they gave me time off. You talk about a company that's loyal to you, and you want to be loyal back. So I didn't pursue the WWE any further. When it comes down to it, you've got to stick with the people who want to take care of you. And [TNA president] Dixie Carter took care of me."
"But I'm going to be straight with you," Angle added. "The WWE would have made more money this year if they would have signed me. That's no secret."