TNA founder Jeff Jarrett has discussed his shock at finding out just how much “venom” Kurt Angle had towards WWE when the Olympian joined TNA in 2006.
Kurt Angle had been a part of WWE since 1999 until his somewhat surprise departure in 2006. Shortly after he left Angle found himself in TNA, part of a new locker room that included the likes of Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, and Sting.
Speaking on his My World podcast [available early and ad-free at AdFreeShows.com] Jeff Jarrett discussed Angle joining the upstart organisation and why he felt Angle’s presence took the pressure off himself:
“When Kurt became available and he was signed, sealed, and delivered, the weight of Jeff Jarrett being a talent evaporated in my mind. Kurt was much better, younger, fresher.”
“Kurt didn’t have to worry about writing shows, Kurt didn’t have to worry about dealing with office politics, Kurt didn’t have to worry about anything except putting the company on his shoulders and taking it. I was so happy to get Kurt on board.”
Jarrett then recalled an interview that was filmed with Kurt Angle shortly after his arrival in TNA where the former WWE Champion let rip at his former employers.
According to Jarrett, he didn’t know if the interview should air given Angle had come to TNA as the company’s new hero:
“This interview that aired I can remember hearing the uncut version and I had a conversation in private with Kevin Sullivan, David Sahadi, and Dutch Mantel and at first I was very surprised. I didn’t know the deep, I don’t mind saying this, at the time there was a lot of animosity, venom. I did not know that existed in Kurt was against WWE.”
“I know he had gone through his personal problems, I knew all of that but I didn’t know there was a lot of venom. I said do we want to put our top babyface because that’s what Kurt was coming in the door even though we had Sting, do we want to put our top babyface in that light? Is that the best strategic move?”
“Yes, always punch up, I had no problem whether it was the 3 Live Kru or cookies and balloons, whatever it is, try to make noise. We are number two, a very distant number two and it’s always great to try to make a chatter but was Kurt the right guy to do that?”
“Yes, he just came off of an incredible run and the whole world knew about his WWE run, not everybody knew that he had gone through a very personal rough time so was it the right move? I just remember having those conversations like ‘oof, do we want to clean this up?'”
Ultimately Jeff Jarrett says he feels that reality is what helps draw money in wrestling so the interview aired as originally planned. The remarks from Kurt Angle included a shot at the very top of WWE as he recalled Vince McMahon telling him that “a gold medal and a cup of coffee don’t mean sh*t:”
“Then you go back to the other side and my fundamental belief is that you take reality and blow it up and that’s how you make money. I think that still works to this day so I didn’t want to edit and control the narrative too much. I can’t say that I regret it but I just remember it’s such a fine line to walk, I don’t mind saying those things but the top babyface coming through the door, do we want him saying that because he’s our new flag bearer.”
“Him talking about the cup of coffee and a quarter, that was a stiff shot. I knew that back then, I wasn’t real comfortable but let’s roll with it, it’s how he feels, reality draws money.”