Since retiring at WrestleMania 35 Kurt Angle has made no secret about his disappointment with how his final run in WWE tuned out.
The former four-time WWE World Champion has previously outlined how he wanted one final run with the world title before hanging up his boots for good. Speaking on his podcast, The Kurt Angle Show, which is available via AdFreeShows, Angle has now lifted the lid on his return to the ring, and the potential reason for not getting that coveted final run at the top of the company.
Kurt Angle returned to the WWE in 2017 where he was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame. The Olympic Gold Medal winner said that while he was expecting a call from WWE about a return, he was hoping that a return would see him feature as a wrestler rather than an inductee into the Hall Of Fame.
“It was a surprise because I was planning on continuing to wrestle,” Angle said. “I was expecting a call from the WWE eventually and when I did get the call I thought Vince McMahon was going to ask me to come back to wrestle but they did the opposite. They decided to induct me into the Hall of Fame which is what you do when you retire. I told Vince I didn’t want to retire and he said we’ll get around to wrestling eventually.
“I think I was a liability for the company and I think that’s the reason Vince wanted to start me out with the Hall of Fame, then gave me the general manager spot the following night on RAW. I think he was getting a feel for me to see how I was handling this situation and staying clean, even though when I came back to WWE I was clean and sober for 4 years in 2017. Vince McMahon just wanted to make sure I was staying clean while I was with the company.”
Angle would eventually get back into the ring later that year, replacing Roman Reigns in The Shield at TLC in a 5 on 3 Handicap Tables Ladders and Chairs match. The Wrestling Machine described how delighted he was to be part of the Shield, but how that match also ended his hopes of a world title run.
“I was a fan,” Angle said. “If you saw me come out of the arena and I was behind Seth and Dean, I just looked like a fan. I was so excited to be a part of The Shield. The Shield is a legendary team, I have a lot of respect for all 3 of those guys. Being apart of it for that night was so much fun, I had a blast.
“This was the first time [Vince] saw me compete. I was training for the match, I had a good like 3 weeks, and I was doing hill sprints and I pulled a muscle in my leg. I couldn’t push off my left leg, so I had to use my right leg the whole time. It just looked like I lost a step, even though I did, I was able to hide it. I think Vince was like ‘Okay, this guy is close to retirement, he’s almost done.’ I think that was where he judged me and said I’m not going to use Kurt in the world title picture, I’m going to use him to make younger guys. I think that’s what happened.”
Elsewhere in the episode focusing on his final run with the company, Angle reserved special praise for Chad Gable, before revealing that he wanted to create a ‘New Team Angle’ with Gable and Jason Jordan.