While Kurt Angle is synonymous with WWE and his initial run with the company from 1999 until 2006 is the stuff of legend, the man himself has revealed that he feels that he enjoyed a “better career” in TNA.
Speaking to the Wrestling Perspective podcast, Angle explained that he got better after leaving WWE as he entered the prime of his career.
Angle was granted an early release from his WWE contract in August 2006 citing health reasons. However, in what was seen as a somewhat controversial move at the time, the Olympic Gold Medallist would sign with TNA a month later.
During the new interview, the WWE Hall Of Famer looked back fondly on his matches with the likes of AJ Styles, but expressed regret that a lot of people missed what he feels was some of the best work of his career.
“I actually had a better career there… I hate to admit it because WWE was the big company, but I got better. I was only in the business six and a half years when I switched to TNA, and that was the prime of my career. I mean, my matches with Samoa Joe, Sting, AJ Styles, Bobby Roode, all those guys, I had a really great career there.
As much as I love WWE, that was so much better. The crazy thing is, I always say this, but I don’t know how true it is, I wish that I would have done, there’s a part of me that wishes I would have stayed in WWE during those years because there were more people, more eyes watching that product than TNA’s. A lot of people missed a lot of my career.”
Angle went on to explain how his wrestling style evolved in TNA, with him taking more chances which ultimately would result in him beating his body up “pretty badly.”
“I [took] it up a notch, started doing crazier stuff, you know, dives off the stage and moonsaults off the top rope, and I took a lot of chances… I beat my body up pretty badly. I didn’t start slowing down until about 2014-15, [that’s] when I started containing myself and doing safer moves, being real safe and basic, more basic is what I did.”
Kurt Angle would eventually return to WWE in 2017, before retiring in at Wrestlemania 35 following a defeat to Baron Corbin. The former Raw General Manager has since expressed disappointment at not getting to go out as he wanted, revealing that he had originally hoped for one more run with the world title.
More recently Angle was promoted to be at Raw Legends Night on January 4th, but didn’t didn’t end up appearing on the show. He later explained that he had a prior engagement that he couldn’t get out of.
h/t to Wrestle Zone for the transcription.