After years of anticipation, Kurt Angle is finally returning to WWE. With the announcement that Kurt Angle would be the headline inductee into the Hall of Fame class of 2017, WWE fulfilled the dreams of fans everywhere who rightfully remembered Angle as one of the best professional wrestlers of all time. While Angle has been in action since his WWE departure, there’s no denying that there’s just something special about seeing him back home on the big stage. We eagerly look forward to seeing what he does next.
That said, we do have some thoughts on the matter. While it almost seems selfish to make a list of demands regarding Kurt Angle’s future when it looked like he may never return at all, there are just so many paths that the returning star can go down now that he is back. Some of them make perfect sense and are designed to take advantage of everything that makes him special. The rest, however, are the ones that fans fear WWE will resort to as they have in the past. Time will ultimately tell what the final part of Angle’s WWE career holds, but if we had our way, these would be the top eight things we want to see Kurt Angle do in WWE and seven that we don’t.
15. Want – Appear on A Live Stone Cold Podcast
When it was announced that Kurt Angle would be joining the Hall of Fame, one of the first things that he requested was to have Stone Cold Steve Austin do the induction speech. In case you didn’t know Austin and Angle struck an immediate friendship when the latter joined WWE that was based on a mutual respect. While WWE should honor that request, we think Angle should also make an appearance on the video version of the Stone Cold Podcast. Angle has appeared on Austin’s show before, but a high-profile live podcast featuring the two on WWE television once more would not only be a great way for WWE to get some old fans to join the Network, but a fitting reward for those who never stopped believing Angle would return.
14. Don’t Want – Appear in the Royal Rumble
This one is a bit tricky. Admittedly, it would be kind of cool to hear the clock tick down to Angle’s music and see him saunter to a ring of stunned competitors one more time. On the other hand, that’s really not the best use for him. Angle’s questionable medical standing makes it so that every match he’s in should feel significant. While the Royal Rumble is significant, it’s impossible to believe that WWE would let Kurt Angle actually win the thing.
Furthermore, now that we know that Angle is back, any surprise that would have come from having him reappear at the Rumble is kind of ruined. There are just way too many better ways to fill an extra spot in the Rumble.
13. Want – Star In His Own WWE Network Show Focused on In-Ring Action
As much as we all love WWE, the company does have a tendency to overlook the “wrestling” part of their name. While they’ve gotten better about it in recent years, one of the most frustrating parts about WWE’s presentation style to this day is the way they fail to really sell the in-ring action in a way that doesn’t ruin the competitive atmosphere they are trying to build, but also allows you to appreciate the real style that goes into a scripted match.
One great way they can address this issue is to have Kurt Angle host a WWE Network show where he and other in-ring legends break down matches and wrestlers from an in-ring perspective. There’s a way to do this without completely ruining the illusion, and Angle’s legitimate wrestling background would help sell the skills he praises.
12. Don’t Want– Become A Generic Babyface Legend
What, exactly, is a generic babyface legend? Well, it’s what WWE eventually turns you into if you’re someone that used to wrestle for them and are no longer able to do so on a full-time basis, but are still kicking around the shows. It’s what happened to Ron Simmons who got boiled down to a catchphrase. It’s what happened to Jerry Lawler who lost all of his bite. It’s what could happen to Kurt Angle if he allows WWE to turn him into one.
While we’re all looking forward to Kurt Angle bringing up his “two gold medals,” “broken freaking neck,” and his trademark catchphrases, we don’t want his every appearance to boil down to, “Hey kids, remember this guy? Remember when he was cool?” Angle deserves better than that.
11. Want – Become an NXT Trainer
Kurt Angle might have a couple of matches left in him – more on that later – but his injury history and age mean that he’s eventually going to have to settle into a non-wrestling role. If that does prove to be the case, he does have quite a few options available to him. One of the very best career paths, however, is to move down to NXT and help a new generation of stars learn from his considerable experience.
Whether or not Angle agrees to appear on-screen for the promotion is up to him, but if he’s willing to do it, there are few wrestlers in the world that have more to contribute in the role of teacher than Kurt Angle. Who would you rather have giving you wrestling lessons?
10. Don’t Want – Become GM of Raw or SmackDown
Wrestlers turned GMs can usually go one of two ways. Either you get somebody who is able to go beyond their in-ring character and become a valuable part of the show – like Daniel Bryan or William Regal – or you get someone who relies on their prior fame and never really finds a way to settle into the new position – like Mick Foley. While we don’t want to suggest that there isn’t anything Kurt Angle couldn’t learn to do in time, the truth of the matter is that Angle doesn’t really seem to be the kind of guy that would make a great GM.
Even if he was, the fact of the matter is that WWE have been running this angle for far too long and usually end up overexposing the wrestler cast into the role. We don’t want to see that happen with Angle.
9. Want – Join The Talking Smack/Post-Show Analyst Team
While Kurt Angle as a GM is a bit of stretch, there are some on-screen roles that Kurt Angle would excel at. In the same vein as seeing him host his own WWE show, Kurt Angle would excel as an analyst. The role of the WWE analyst has grown in recent years as the company has expanded their pre-show, mid-show, and post-show offerings to include plenty of room for guys and girls that excel at breaking down the main show. To be honest, this seems to be more of Angle’s style.
Angle has a lot of personality and has played some ridiculous roles before, but it’s probably safe to say that fans want to see serious Kurt Angle more than goofy Kurt Angle across his few reaming appearances.
8. Don’t Want – Serve as a Raw/SmackDown Play-by-Play Announcer
As great as Kurt Angle would be as an analyst who comes in on occasion and helps break down the imagine, it’s hard to imagine him as a full-time announcer. Now granted, he’d be an immediate step-up from David Otunga, but that isn’t really a big compliment, is it? We could actually see Angle doing some play-by-play work during one of WWE’s special tournaments or shows when the announcer is able to actually comment on the wrestling taking place, but it’s hard to imagine him becoming a shill for WWE’s catchphrases and ad work.
While this is a great way to get Angle into the action and on every show, Angle as a play-by-play weekly commentator isn’t really the best use of his particular skillset.
7. Want – Manage American Alpha
With the possible exception of becoming an NXT trainer, the best non-wrestling role we can think of for Kurt Angle is manager. While WWE doesn’t really utilize managers enough these days, you could argue that part of the reason why has something to do with the fact that there aren’t many great managers out there. Kurt Angle, however, could be a great modern day manager. Specifically, he could be a great modern day manager for American Alpha. The fit is almost too perfect.
American Alpha are basically the modern-day version of Team Angle and, much like Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas, they could use someone in their corner who helps them establish an identity. Angle certainly wouldn’t look out of place in the corner of two All-American wrestlers, and he has more than enough personality to spare.
6. Don’t Want – Become A Contracted Part-Time Wrestler
Before we get into the prospect of Kurt Angle wrestling again, let’s be clear about one thing. Kurt Angle is one bad bump away from never being able to walk again. Part of the reason he left WWE in the first place was due to the fact he had resorted to using painkillers in order to mask the incredible pain he felt from his years of injuries. That’s not exactly the kind of guy that you want to be having too many matches. If Angle wants to have a match or two before he calls it quits that’s fine, but we really hope that WWE doesn’t encourage him to work a part-time contract even if it only does amount to a few matches a year. Let Angle go out on his own terms and not have to risk hanging around too long.
5. Want – Spend Some Time as a Paul Heyman Guy
WWE have really made a mess of the whole “Paul Heyman Guy” thing, haven’t they? There was a time when Paul Heyman was in a position to be the best manager WWE had ever known. All they had to do was keep giving him talented young wrestlers to talk for, and he would have become the centerpiece of a great heel faction. That didn’t happen, but it’s not too late for WWE to correct their mistakes by having Kurt Angle align himself with Heyman.
While it would be pretty hard for Angle to get people to boo him given how popular he is at the moment, Heyman could certainly help him draw some boos. Besides, the world needs another good Kurt Angle heel run.
4. Don’t Want – Wrestle Brock Lesnar
If there’s one thing we know about WWE’s creative team, it’s that they can’t resist ensuring that every high-profile match involving special guest workers involves Brock Lesnar. Granted, we’d probably want to put Lesnar in as many high-profile matches as possible if we had to pay his contract, but the point stands that they can’t help but pit every veteran star against Lesnar. It’s an urge they need to resists in the cast of Kurt Angle. As great as Brock Lesnar is, he’s not exactly the safest worker in the world. Given Angle’s semi-fragile state, it could be a bonafide disaster to put these two in the same ring together. Besides, we’ve honestly seen this match enough times in one lifetime. Angle is better off working with younger guys.
3. Want – One More Match Against AJ Styles at WrestleMania
This one is pretty easy. Over the years, Kurt Angle has been asked who he’d want to work with if he ever returned to WWE. While the answer has changed based on the roster, all of Angle’s preferred wrestlers have held the status of arguably being the best in-ring worker in the company at that time. When Angle was recently asked that question, then, nobody was surprised to hear him answer “AJ Styles.” While a match like Balor/Angle or Rollins/Angle would be more of a novelty, the fact remains that if Kurt Angle wants to have one more match with AJ Styles and the doctors give him permission to do so, there is no reason for WWE not to make it happen. This could even be a WrestleMania main event.
2. Don’t Want – Put Over Roman Reigns
Recently, the WWE has been reigniting their efforts to push Roman Reigns. Even though Reigns lost some of his momentum following his suspension last year, it appears that he’s once again back on track for a monster rise to the top that could very well rival his original push to superstardom. If that does prove to be the case, that means that WWE will be tempted to bring in legends who will put Reigns over on the microphone and in the ring.
We hope that Kurt Angle is not among those legends. Angle’s return is something that fans have been wanting to see for years. They will immediately rebel against the idea of him putting over Reigns in any fashion. There’s nobody that will become a Reigns fan just because Angle tells them to be.
1. Want – Participate in a Documentary Featuring His TNA Run
The final thing we want from Kurt Angle’s WWE return is both incredibly simple and a little complicated. It’s almost a given that at some point, WWE is going to produce a new documentary about the career of Kurt Angle. They never really got the chance to give Angle a full career retrospective before he left the first time around, and he certainly deserves one. The complicated part is Angle’s time in TNA. WWE hasn’t really had to mention TNA too much in recent years, so it’s unclear how they would choose to explain where Angle has been for so long. There’s no great way of getting around that particular issue, meaning that they need to bite the bullet and purchase the rights to Angle’s TNA match history if that is at all a possibility.
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