Kurt Angle

Kurt Angle (right) acknowledges Jason Jordan as his son on a recent episode of Monday Night Raw. WWE Photo

There’s nothing like a good surprise angle in professional wrestling. Some are executed superbly, while others are doomed from the beginning.

WWE’s most recent bombshell, the reveal that Kurt Angle was the father of Jason Jordan, has many fans merely scratching their heads.

Even in pro wrestling, where the suspension of disbelief is an essential ingredient for storytelling, this latest revelation is a little far-fetched. It’s an over-the-top storyline straight out of the soap operas.

The 48-year-old Monday Night Raw general manager announced on a recent edition that he fathered a son during his college days – an old college flame had apparently given birth nine months after their last date – and until recently had no idea that this son even existed. That son, Angle explained, would go on to become an All-American and a WWE superstar.

In other words, like father, like son.

It was then revealed that his surprise offspring was Jason Jordan.

Speculation had abounded in the weeks leading up to the announcement, with the hype expected to draw big ratings for WWE’s flagship show. While the show did produce a ratings bump, the mystery reveal was met with a tepid response from the live crowd in Nashville. Even when Angle hit the emotional button and tears flowed, along with the big embrace in the middle of the ring, there was a feeling of a letdown from an audience that seemingly had expected more.

The names of Stephanie McMahon and former TNA head Dixie Carter had been bandied about as possible mystery lovers, and while both would have likely produced a bigger pop, the development of a plausible storyline for either would have been filled with potholes.

As for Jordan, one half of the popular American Alpha tandem with Chad Gable, the reveal had come as somewhat of a surprise to him as he was told of the angle only a week before. Obviously with a number of questions to be answered, he and Angle took part in a post-show interview in which they attempted to explain how Jordan discovered that Angle was his biological father.

The 28-year-old Jordan whose real name is Nathan Everhart, told interviewer Renee Young on the WWE Network that he was told after college that he was adopted, hired a private eye and found his birth mother, who told him that Angle was his father. The discovery also cleared up the mystery over where Jordan got his natural athletic ability.

“I am proud to be Gold-Blooded!” tweeted Jordan, alluding to Angle’s illustrious Olympic past.

While it’s a more believable storyline than the embarrassing and short-lived twist a decade ago that revealed midget performer Hornwoggle as WWE owner Vince McMahon’s illegitimate son, it was yet another case of WWE pushing the envelope.

It also was somewhat surprising that Angle, a former Olympic gold medalist and multi-time pro wrestling world champion, would agree to take part in the storyline, although that might have not been an option. For the record, Angle has a son and daughter from his first marriage to the current Karen Jarrett and wife of TNA’s Jeff Jarrett, and three daughters with his present wife. He has indicated that his family is comfortable with the fictional storyline.

As for one of his favorite catch phrases, “It’s true, it’s true,” well, you be the judge.

The real-life story

In real life, Jason Jordan is not adopted. He was born in Tinley Park, Ill., in 1988, and his biological parents raised him along with his three brothers.

By age 26, Angle had achieved something only four people have ever managed to do. He won the Junior World Championship, NCAA Championship, World Championship and an Olympic gold medal.

Winning the gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the 1996 Olympic Games was something he had worked for his entire life. Making the feat even more remarkable was the fact that Angle, with two fractured cervical vertebrae, did it with a broken neck.

The storyline has been met with mixed reviews inside the wrestling community.

Former WWE performer Shane Douglas weighed in on the topic in a recent Triple Threat Wrestling Podcast and called the storyline “absurd.”

“I don’t know if Vince honestly believes that the suspension of disbelief is unimportant or that you can just write it in. What is next? Is Kurt Angle or Hunter (Triple H) going to be allergic to kryptonite? Sooner or later it is going to have to go somewhere and you have to keep pushing the envelope further and further.

“You can only go so far before you become absurd and to me this storyline is pushing up to that level of being absurd. You’ve got an American Olympic hero being rendered in a storyline that to me twinges on racist, and to me it is a very strange storyline and everybody on the planet who has ever watched is going to know it is (BS) and I don’t know why you would go there with it. I know the reason in the back of my head that I believe and it is Vince is sitting back laughing saying that it is funny as hell. The fans ain’t buying it and we wonder why Raw is under a 2 and sinking like a stone.”

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin, meanwhile, praised the storyline on his podcast and said he liked the fact that WWE was willing to do such a big angle on Raw.

“Big-time angle, lot of rub for the kid. He’s a good-looking guy, read about him when I was coming out here to talk to you on the podcast. Outstanding credentials as an amateur, could possibly have a bright future ahead of him and if it is done off the back of this angle, more power to the kid.

“Is this leading to a betrayal of Kurt’s trust or somebody trying to set him up to oust him from his position? And will it result in Kurt Angle returning to the ring to wrestle at a big-time pay-per-view?”

Former WWE star and current NXT general manager William Regal chose to make a joke out of the illegitimate son storyline.

“Glad I’m not important enough to blackmail about secret children as I’ve sired more illegitimate offspring than an Aberdeen Angus,” he tweeted.

Angle was inspiration

While Jordan’s partner Gable, who is a former Olympic wrestler, may have been a more believable choice, Jordan has been on record in the past praising Angle.

“Kurt’s a huge inspiration,” Jordan told ESPN last year. Four years earlier he was asked on Twitter who he considered to be his hero. Jordan had two answers: in real life, his father, and in wrestling, Kurt Angle.

By age 26, Angle had achieved something only four people have ever managed to do. He won the Junior World Championship, NCAA Championship, World Championship and an Olympic gold medal.

Winning the gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the 1996 Olympic Games was something he had worked for his entire life. Making the feat even more remarkable was the fact that Angle, with two fractured cervical vertebrae, did it with a broken neck.

Like Angle, Jordan has impressive amateur credentials. Passing up a professional baseball deal to wrestle collegiately, Jordan attended Indiana University where he became a three-time national qualifier for the NCAA at the Division I level. And, like Angle, he has endured his share of personal struggles in his young life. A genuinely likable performer with a great backstory, Jordan revealed last year on the WWE Network’s documentary series “Breaking Ground” that all three of his older brothers have been incarcerated.

“It’s my backstory with my brothers and everything,” said Jordan, who put attending dental school on hold after graduating college in order to pursue his dream of becoming a pro wrestler. “It wasn’t easy growing up. I’m not saying I had the hardest life growing up, but I had certain events that have happened and my brothers not making the best decisions all the time. That definitely molded me into the person I am today. I’m glad I have that opportunity to put my personal life out there because now I feel there are so many people out that have similar problems in their life. I feel that can resonate with them.”

His American Alpha team with Gable (Chas Betts), who competed for Northern Michigan University before qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics in Greco-Roman wrestling, has centered on their amateur proficiency. The two made a splash in the inaugural Dusty Rhodes Tag-Team Classic and went on to win the NXT tag-team title. Likened to Angle’s former protégés, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas, the upstart team was drafted to the Smackdown brand in July 2016.

“We want to be the first American Alpha. We don’t want to be the second Team Angle or World’s Greatest Tag Team,” Jordan said last year. “We’ve worked so hard to get to where we are, and we feel like we’re unique and different. Yes, there are similarities, but we’re still different. As much as we look to Kurt, and as much as I’ve studied him and been a fan of Kurt Angle’s, he's been an influence, but it’s nice to have a little bit of a separation between us.”

Jordan and Gable made history when they captured the Smackdown tag-team title last December, becoming the first team to win the NXT tag-team title and hold WWE main roster belts in the same year.

Now that Angle has revealed his long-lost “son,” one of the company’s most popular teams will be disbanded, and Jordan will become a member of the Raw brand.

Angle himself is a huge fan of Jordan and Gable. Before returning to WWE earlier this year, he had talked about the possibility of serving as a mentor to American Alpha.

“I’m 47 years old,” Angle said at the time. “And that’s why those guys would be perfect as my team, like a Team Angle, because they could do the wrestling for me until the big one comes. I’ve watched them wrestle and they’re really good. I could do the big matches … the Summer Slams and the Wrestlemanias. I think that would be a good mix. And it would also give them a great rub, a rub that they need.”

Jordan, a talented athlete with a positive attitude, will definitely get that rub now, although ultimately he will have to prove that he can deliver the goods in the ring and on the mic on a consistent basis. No longer part of a team, the pressure will be on Jordan to make fans believe he has the pedigree to follow in Angle’s footsteps, with many of those fans realizing it’s all part of the show.

The question now is where this storyline might lead. A number of possible scenarios exist, one of which is Jordan announcing that the whole thing was a lie and a ruse perpetrated by Angle rivals Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Is it leading to another bombshell down the road? Are fans being set up for a major swerve?

Angle briefly deviated from the fictional storyline last week when asked by a fan how he liked playing the role of Jordan’s father.

“I thought to myself what it would be like to see my son Kody for the first time ever, and didn’t know it for 20 years,” said Angle. “I thought if it were real, how would I feel?”

In speaking of his “five beautiful children,” Angle conveniently left off his theoretical sixth child.

At the very least, the angle will be a major part of Raw for the next few months and could provide Jordan, who has yet to be tested under a singles spotlight and is still working on tapping into his full potential, with a springboard to the next level. And it’s not a bad thing that he just happens to have great admiration for his new “dad.”

“I grew up watching Kurt and so I’ve studied him a lot and figured out what it is that made him so great, what made him so amazing to watch,” Jordan told ESPN last year. “So trying to make sure that I picked up some of those things, but at the same time being myself, because I never want to try and mimic somebody else. I want to be myself and be the first Jason Jordan. I don’t want to be the second Kurt Angle.”

He instead did the next best thing.

Reach Mike Mooneyham at bymikemooneyham@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter at @ByMikeMooneyham and on Facebook at Facebook.com/MikeMooneyham.