WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle has claimed that he may have died had he not decided to leave WWE in 2006 at the height of struggles in his personal life and addiction to pain killers.
By the time the summer of 2006 rolled around, Kurt Angle had achieved pretty much everything there was to achieve in WWE, despite making his debut less than seven years previously. He was a multiple time World Champion, had main-evented WrestleMania and enjoyed rivalries with some of the biggest names to ever step into the ring.
Professionally the Olympian should have been at the peak of his powers, but his personal life was in turmoil. By his own admission his marriage was a “shambles,” while he was also dealing with a myriad of other personal issues and a serious addiction to pain medication.
It was against this backdrop that Angle asked to leave the company in August 2006, only three months after being made the figurehead of the newly launched ECW brand.
Speaking with Chris Jericho on his Talk is Jericho podcast, Angle explained his personal turmoil at the time and that he felt that WWE weren’t listening to him. As a result he took the decision to leave. A decision he says that may have saved his life.
“I wasn’t happy in WWE [which is why I left in 2006]. After I did all the comedy stuff and I became the serious, Mr., you know, The Wrestling Machine, I was getting injured a lot, I was spending a lot of time on the road, wasn’t getting much time off, I had a pain killer problem that I had to kick, a lot of stuff going on. My marriage was in shambles, just a lot of personal issues and I was very bitter and I treated the company very bitterly too. But don’t get me wrong, they weren’t listening and that was the problem I had.
I was getting injured all the time, I had a pain killer addiction and nobody wanted to do anything for me and I had to do something for myself and what I did was I left the company in 2006 and decided I was gonna start new somewhere else. I didn’t wanna go. I loved the WWE but I really didn’t have a choice. I really believe if I didn’t leave, I might have been dead by now and I didn’t want that to happen.”
During the interview, Kurt Angle also opened up about his decision to retire in 2019, after returning to WWE two years previously. The Hall of Famer admitted that he had “lost a step” by the time he made his way back to the company and was no longer able to perform as he had done in the past.
H/t to POSTwrestling for the transcription.