Kurt Angle

Kurt Angle On Never Having A 5 Star Match, Gable Steveson, “Man Who Plays With Boys” Promo

Kurt Angle (@realkurtangle) is a WWE & TNA Hall of Famer and Olympic Gold Medalist. He joins Chris Van Vliet from his house in Pittsburgh, PA to talk about his podcast called “The Kurt Angle Show”, why he doesn’t consider himself the greatest of all time, his reaction to never having a 5 Star match according to Dave Meltzer, his list of matches that should have been rated 5 stars, his favorite matches in TNA, working with AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and Sting, his thoughts on Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson, his “man who pays with boys” promo in WWE, the moonsault off the cage onto Ken Anderson in TNA, wanting to retire against John Cena at WrestleMania 35 and much more!


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Quote I’m thinking about:

“Most already know what to do and simply don’t do it. It’s not ignorance. It’s fear.”

– Alex Hormozi

Is there a chance Kurt could still go in the ring:

“I wish. you know what, my quality of life right now Chris isn’t so good. I had my knees replaced about a year ago, I have back surgery about four months ago, I have to have my shoulder replaced, I still have another neck, same surgery coming up. That will be my fourth neck surgery. I really paid the price wrestling as long as I did. I wrestled amateur wrestling for 20 years and then Pro for 20. And looking back, sometimes I regret maybe I should have retired five years earlier. Because you know, it comes to a point in time in your life where you’re older, and you want to play with your kids. And here I am having these surgeries, I can’t really do anything with them. I can’t pick them up. I can’t play with them. I can’t run with them. So it gets a little disgruntled thing that I’m not able to be the father that I want to be. And what I’m doing now is I’m having knee surgeries to have a better quality of life so I can play with them. And I just want to make it fast. Because these kids are growing up quickly. And I don’t want to miss it.”

Are you in pain every day?

“Every day, every day, my back, my shoulder. My knees are good. My knees feel great. They recovered really well. I’m 100% with my knees. But my neck and my back and my shoulder. I  have a lot of pain running all day long all night. So it’s something I just have to deal with until I have these surgeries and until I recuperate.”

On thinking about a WWE return while in TNA:

“Yeah, I thought about it all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I really love TNA. The thing is, when I started thinking about going back to WWE, was when the money started running out, and people are getting let go, or people were getting laid off. And, you know, I signed my last contract with them. I think it was for five more years. And I figured you know what, after this contract is up, they probably won’t have the money to pay me because they were paying me seven figures, and it was a part-time deal. So I knew that they probably wouldn’t give me that money that I was making. So I figured you know what it’s time to think about going back to WWE. And I also want to go back because I wanted to go back for the fans and to thank them, the WWE Universe, because I had six and a half Incredible Years in WWE. And I wanted to go back and thank the fans personally and perform for them before I retired.”

On ignoring orders to cut the Ken Anderson cage match time down:

“Yeah, I was pissed off. They cut our match a lot of time, I was like screw that we’re taking we’re taking our 23 minutes. So you know what, you don’t do that in pro wrestling, I shouldn’t have done that. That’s the wrong thing to do, unfortunately, but I knew this match was really special. I knew Ken and I were gonna have a great match. And let me explain why. Okay, Vince Russo put this match together, he set the rules for the match. It made no sense because they wanted the match in a cage. Okay, but you can’t claim out to win. All right, you can’t get pinned to win. The only way you could win is going outside the door. So they painted us in a corner. They because what are we going to do? Why would to climb a cage to have studs off the cage? If you can’t leave the cage over the top? And win. So why would you climb in the first place? So we had to think of ways we had to get creative and think of ways of why we would go up there. And it was, it was a really tough match to put together. Because we were limited to just leaving the door. And you know, if you just have two guys trying to leave the door, and that’s what the whole match is all about it’s gonna be boring as hell. So we had to get creative. We had to think of reasons why we had to climb a cage and why we had to use the cage. And when not having pins, really, we couldn’t have any false finishes. So that kind of sucks. So they painted us in the corner, and I was pissed off. So I was like, I’m taking all the time I want and we ended up taking the whole 23 minutes. We might have taken more than that, actually.”

On Gable Steveson:

“First of all, he’s an incredible athlete. You know, he not only incredible on the mat wrestling, I mean, this kid, you know, he can do backflips. He’s he’s really athletic, super athletic. And I think he’s gonna have a great future. I just don’t know how entertaining he’s gonna be. I know that he loves to talk, a lot of his friends that I talked to say he’s kind of a loudmouth, which is kind of good. Because you want to be able to, you don’t want to be shy when you’re in this. You know, I was a shy kid, and when I went to WWE, I had to learn how to suck it up and just go out there and put everything on the line. And it was really a hard transition for me. But I think Gable Stevenson will have the same thing. He’ll probably, you know, have to, you know, break that mould of being an amateur wrestler, because as an amateur wrestler, you show no emotion. You go out there and you focus and you wrestle and you go from the pen. It’s not like pro wrestling, we have to show people emotion. You have to show if you’re scared, or if you’re mad if you’re, you know, excited. So there’s, there’s a lot of you have to have incredible charisma. And I think that Gable has that. I just don’t know how well he’s going to translate that when he starts talking. I do remember doing a pre-tape with him in Pittsburgh. And he did all right. You know, he didn’t do incredibly well. But he did well, that it was like, Okay, this kid. He has potential. I think he’s going to be pretty good. And so I expect him to have a great career. I don’t know if he’s going to have the career I had, but I think he could he could definitely.”

On nearly quitting wrestling on day one:

“Well, you know what the first bump I took, I actually quit. I was like, this is self-abuse. I’m not doing this. I told my manager. I got up and walked out of the ring. I said I can’t do this. And he said, Just stay for the day, get through the day and see how you feel afterwards. And I did and you know I ran through it but I’m not gonna lie to you. It was crazy, it was crazy that these guys bumped themselves in the ring. And being an amateur wrestler, you’re taught to take the person down, you know, you take them down and you control them and you stay on top of them. You’re not used to falling on your back. So what I did is I forgot everything I ever learned, I cut off my instincts. Because if I would have went in there with my instincts, actually on, I wouldn’t have been able to bump backwards, I would have been, you know, using my amateur wrestling techniques, but I forgot everything I learned. And I put myself in my opponent’s hands and said, Do what you want with me. And that’s how I learned and I learned very quickly because of that.”

On not being the greatest of all time:

“No, I think if you want to be the greatest of all time in one company, you’re gonna have to be there for 20 years at the very least. I think that’s a fair assessment when you’re talking about wrestlers, especially looking at Shawn Michaels and Undertaker, you know, they spent over 30 years there, you know, I’ve only been there nine years total. And that was six and a half before I left and then two and a half after. So I didn’t put in the amount of time that what you consider to be the greatest of all time.” 

On who is the greatest of all time:

“I mean, there are a lot of people I can throw up there, you know, a Mount Rushmore of wrestlers. But you know, Stone Cold Steve Austin. You know, Eddie Guerrero. There’s so many talented wrestlers, it’s really hard to pick the greatest of all time. It truly is. Because fans, they have their preferences, and they’re gonna pick Do they like, and I don’t think you’re ever gonna get like, you know, out of 100 votes, you’re not gonna get 100 votes for one person being the greatest of all time, it’s not going to work.”

On Kurt Angle’s comedic timing:

“I don’t know how I did it. I was never a funny person. Actually, I was never a talker. When I started in WWE, nobody trained me to learn how to cut a promo. Now they have NXT and they have the amenities to do that. But back then, you know it was sink or swim. You know, Vince actually told me that the first time on the air, he said, I want you to cut this promo. This is what I want you to say sink or swim. And, you know, he said something for five minutes straight. He’s telling me what he wants me to say. And I’m not listening because I’m like, holy crap this is a really long promo. And when he got done, I said, Vince, I’m sorry, but I didn’t hear a word and said, Can you repeat it? You should I’ll repeat it one more time. And you got to go out there. And if you don’t succeed, you’re gonna sink. You’re done. If you do it fairly well. Or well, then you will swim. You won’t drown is what he said.”

On figuring it all out:

“I would probably say, probably my match with Chris Benoit. I can’t remember when it was or where it was. It was before my first Wrestlemania. And Chris and I had this match and it was phenomenal. And I felt like I had gotten into my own groove. It was a pay-per-view before Wrestlemania. And it was against Chris Benoit. And that’s when I thought, Okay, I think I’m starting to get this, I’m starting to learn because I was clueless, you have to understand, I only trained for seven months before I went on TV. That’s literally nothing. And four of those months, were only four days a month a month, training up at the WWE headquarters. And the rest of the month, I stayed at home doing nothing. So I didn’t have much training. So they just told me learn on the job. And I was learning on the job. And what’s what I was very fortunate of this Vince really pushed me hard at the beginning. Like, you know, he pushed you to the top, you know, within a few months. And it was like, Whoa, you know, I need to get a hold of this. I need to learn what I’m doing. And before I get to that level, but that’s why he was rushing me he was pushing me hard. So I was forced to learn on the job. I really was.”

On not having a Dave Meltzer 5-star match:

“I don’t know if Dave likes me or not or what’s going on. But you know what, it’s his opinion, I will respect that. I do understand. He’s very knowledgeable with wrestling. Maybe he just doesn’t like my style. I don’t know. But it’s unfortunate that I’ll have a five-star match from him considering that people take his, you know, his word as valuable. You know, they, they look at him and say, Okay, this is the guy that rates the matches, and he’s pretty accurate with it. So you know, I just, I don’t know what to say I’m really surprised. I haven’t had one five-star match. But, you know, that’s his opinion. And I have to respect that.”

On going head to head with Raw:

“Big mistake. Big mistake. You know, I always told the boss Dixie Carter, I said, Listen, there’s no shame of being number two, you know, WWE is a machine and nobody’s gonna pass them up. Not TNA? Nobody, nobody ever. And I said just be happy with number two, but she wanted to be number one. And you know, we took chances and you know, some that backfired on us and we lost a lot of money doing it, but at least we tried.”

On the Moonsault from the cage:

“I am praying to God, I don’t get injured. I even did the cyclocross right before I went. Yeah, it’s scary, man. And you know what, I never practised it before. My first Moonsault ever was on Bob Holly. And I broke his arm. I fell short because I never did it before and I never practised so I didn’t know how far out I was gonna go. And I came up short my legs hit his arm, and broke his arm, right in half. And so never practising it. You know, those aren’t the moves you want to practice. Because they’re the bumps are so hard. They’re ridiculous and hard. So that somebody’s just saying what the heck just go, you know, and hopefully you land properly.”

What is Kurt Angle grateful for:

“My faith, my family and my health.”

Featured image: WWE

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