While Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho debuted in WWE only three months apart, their respective journeys to the top of the card were very different.
Jericho was the first arrive on WWE television verbally sparring with The Rock on August 9th 1999. Before Angle made his in-ring debut on November 14th at Survivor Series.
Throughout the early part of the year 2000, the pair feuded over the Intercontinental and European Championships. The two Superstars traded the titles back and forth, before Angle ascended to the main event winning the world championship at No Mercy in October.
By contrast, Jericho continued to feature in the mid-card never quite reaching the upper echelons of the main event. At least until finally capturing WWE’s top prize at Vengeance in December 2001, becoming the first ever WWE Undisputed Champion.
Reflecting on this early part of his career on The Kurt Angle Show, available via Ad Free Shows, Angle explained that he felt Jericho was jealous of his quick success. While Angle was still extremely new to professional wrestling, Jericho had been competing inside the squared circle for more than a decade.
Recalling his rapid rise through the card, Angle questioned whether Jericho’s background in WCW played a part in his ascent being slower.
“No, no, I felt it. It was, you know, it rang true. Chris never talked about it, but I’m sure he thought about that because there is no doubt. We both started around the same time, and you know he came in from WCW, and I started in WWE. Some of my first programs were with Chris Jericho, and it seemed like I elevated a lot quicker, and I was very, very, very new to the business. Chris had been wrestling for at least a decade. So, I was just surprised that they didn’t elevate Chris as quickly as they elevated me, and you know, for whatever reason it was, maybe because it was he came in from WCW,”
Another man who crossed paths with both Angle and Jericho in the early 2000’s was Chris Benoit. Angle went on to explain that he felt Benoit was also held back.
“I don’t know, but I felt the same way about Chris Benoit too. I thought they held off on Chris for a little bit. I thought they forgot about him for a little bit. I even talked to Chris about that. Those two guys, they had all the talent in the world, and I always thought that they would make it to the very top, and they did. It took them a little bit longer, and I’m not sure why,”
As Chris Jericho continues to entertain crowds in AEW, Angle retired from in-ring competition in 2019. Speaking during a recent Q&A, Angle revealed that he now lives with extreme pain as a result of his high-octane in-ring style.
H/t to Sportskeeda for the translation.