Kurt Angle has discussed his one lingering regret from his retirement from WWE and explains why he thinks the company saw him as a liability.
Kurt Angle returned to WWE in 2017 after 11 years away and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Angle took an on-screen role as Raw General Manager but soon the Olympic gold medallist found his way back to competing in the ring.
Angle brought the curtain down on a glittering career at WrestleMania 35 in a loss to Baron Corbin, but many fans and Angle himself had hoped for a different opponent.
Speaking to ex-WWE star Rene Dupree on his Cafe de Rene podcast, Kurt Angle recalled asking Vince McMahon for a bout against John Cena to sign off on:
“Well, when I presented to Vince McMahon that I was going to retire after WrestleMania that year, I told him that I knew I was losing a step and I wasn’t the same as I was before. I didn’t like my performances and, I said to Vince ‘I want to retire after this WrestleMania. I’d like to ask you [Vince] for a favour, I want you to put me with John Cena because I started his career, I’d like him to end my career.’”
“He said ‘Kurt, you have a program going on with Baron Corbin, it’s been going on for 6 months, you have to finish it. If you want to wait until next year I will give you John Cena next year.’ I said ‘Vince I can’t wait until next year, I have to do it this year. He said ‘Then you’re going to have Baron Corbin.’ So I totally understood, Vince was right, I was doing a program with Baron and it was going on for 5 or 6 months, I had to see it through.”
“He did give me the option to go another year and wrestle Cena, and I probably should have done that looking back. I probably could have laid back and not wrestled for a good 6 or 7 or 8 months and started to get myself ready. I gained a lot of weight at this particular time, and I could go away from the product, lost the weight and got in better shape and come back and wrestle John Cena.”
Kurt Angle went on to explain how he felt things were happening in reverse when he returned to the company and how he’d have rather wrestled first. Angle explained that he thinks WWE still saw him as a liability due to his past addiction issues and injuries:
“It was unfortunate, and I’m not gonna blame the WWE for my performances, but they brought me back and I told them I wanted to wrestle because I was wrestling really well at that particular time in 2017.”
“They said ‘Well we want to induct you into the Hall of Fame.’ I said ‘Don’t you do that when you retire?’ They said ‘Yeah. But we are going to induct you anyway.’ I said ‘Well let me wrestle after that.’ They said ‘No, you are going to be the GM of Raw.’”
“I was like why? That’s another job that if you retire from wrestling you get. I think the reason was that they saw me as a liability. They saw the painkiller addiction, they saw me breaking my neck 4 times, I think they wanted to ease me into the product and to save me from myself. If I went out, I would go until I killed myself. I would go all out more than I could actually go.”
“I totally understood why, but it eats me today that that was my retirement match. [Asked about one more match] [Angle laughs] I just had knee replacement man! I don’t think so. If I do it, it won’t be for another year and I don’t plan on it.”
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