Once Hall of Famer Kurt Angle announced that he would retire after WrestleMania 35, WWE booked the Olympic gold medalist for a handful of matches leading up to his swan song bout vs. Baron Corbin.
Angle faced Chad Gable and Samoa Joe on episodes of Monday Night Raw, before squaring off against A.J. Styles on an episode of SmackDown Live. He was also set to face Rey Mysterio in his final match on Raw, but that match wound up being pulled. The WWE icon would then lose to Corbin via pinfall at WrestleMania, thus ending his illustrious career.
Despite his legendary status, Mike Johnson of PW Insider Elite (h/t Ringside News), reported that Angle didn't actually have much say over which opponents he got to face in the tail end of his career.
"I’m sure they asked him who he would like to wrestle, but at the end of the day it was up to creative and Vince McMahon. Kurt Angle didn’t have the power to pick any matches that he was involved in at the end of the day."
Interestingly, Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio reported before 'Mania that Angle actually got to choose the opponents on his retirement tour. It's been reported, however, that Angle preferred to face somebody other than Baron Corbin - with John Cena being rumored as the desired opponent.
But ultimately, it seems like WWE made the booking decisions for Angle, and the humble wrestling icon just went with it. Some legends like Batista have been able to end the career on the terms that they've wanted, but surprisingly, WWE wouldn't grant this to Angle - despite all he's done for the company.
Even though his wrestling career is over, Angle will continue to be an influential figure backstage. Angle revealed in an interview with Sky Sports that he signed a new contract with WWE, and he'll be helping "the younger talent behind the scenes," and that he'll be traveling on the road.
What This Means
Again, it's quite surprising that a legend like Angle got little say in how his career would end. But he was more than happy to do what officials asked of him, and his selflessness is what made Angle so admired in and out of the ring. It never hurts to help put over a younger talent like Corbin, either.