The Olympic Hero: 15 Things You Didn't Know About Kurt Angle

The wrestling promotion currently known as World Wrestling Entertainment has existed for over sixty years now and in that time it has gone from being a small time promoter, to a huge multi-million dollar company. In all that time, there have been dozens upon dozens of wrestlers who have performed within the ring for the fans and the McMahon family, and in every era, there have been wrestlers who have had certain gimmicks and/or skill-sets that have garnered the respect and adoration of the fans. The golden era had the likes of Hulk Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper, while the Attitude Era had The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret Hart, and the current era has John Cena, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.

Kurt Angle is another wrestler who was adored by the fans, no matter if he was face or a heel. He was known for probably being the best technical wrestler on the roster because of his amateur wrestling background which saw him win gold at the Olympic Games in 1996 which led to a job with the WWE that lasted eight years until a disagreement caused both parties to part ways. He went on to join Total Nonstop Action wrestling, a promotion which he has spent the better part of nine years with, and because of the length of time he spent with TNA, wrestling fans believed he would never return to the WWE. Rumors have begun circulating though, that Angle is close to returning to WWE sometime this year, so it is only fitting that people get to know a few things about this gold medalist. Here is a list of 15 things you did not know about Kurt Angle.

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15 He Initially Turned Down The WWE

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After winning his gold medal at the 1996 summer Olympics, Kurt Angle immediately started to think about his future following his amateur wrestling success. He actually ended up being approached by both the UFC and the WWE who at that time was still known as the WWF, and he ended up getting offers from both of them. In regards to the WWF, Vince McMahon held a meeting with Angle and offered him a ten year contract with the company which was worth millions of dollars; but when Kurt presented the contract to his agent, the agent threw it out. Angle had not watched professional wrestling as a kid, and his family told him that WWF wrestling was fake while the wrestling he did was the real deal, a sentiment which was also shared by his agent. He ended up rejecting Vince’s offer and took a job as a sports commentator for a local Pittsburgh news channel; but he ended up not liking that job and decided to take WWF up on their previous offer.

14 He Wanted To Have Sting In The WWE

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In November of 2014, during the main event of the Survivor Series pay-per view, WWE fans were filled with explosive joy as professional wrestling legend Sting made his debut with the company. Wrestling fans had been enamored with Sting throughout his nearly 30 year career, mainly because of his time spent with WCW. When the WWE purchased WCW they attempted to sign Sting, but the legend decided to enter a kind of semi-retirement instead. By 2003 though, he joined TNA wrestling, the same promotion that Kurt Angle would end up joining in 2006 when he left the WWE. The two wrestlers obviously came to work together and compete against each other while in TNA, and as far as wrestling fans could tell, it did not appear as though either superstar, especially Sting would ever compete in a WWE ring. Sting did sign with the WWE however, and Kurt Angle, for whatever reason, wanted to see his former colleague with his previous employer; he even said so during an interview where he was asked if Sting would indeed join WWE, to which he replied, “I sure hope so”.

13 He Had To Learn How To Win

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In all sports that usually deal with one on one competition, like tennis, MMA, boxing, and even wrestling (primarily at the amateur level), it can be difficult for an individual athlete to become successful. There is a big reason for this though, and it is because many individual athletes have too much fear when facing an opponent, especially an opponent who has either defeated them before in the past or who is considered to be a much more skilled competitor. Kurt Angle knows all about this kind of fear, as he admits that he himself has experienced it during his amateur wrestling days where he had to take on an opponent with no backup whatsoever. In one instance at an NCAA championship event, Angle was expected to dominate an opponent, but he ended up losing instead, and at another event, he wrestled against someone who had previously beaten him while also dealing with a knee injury, he doubted himself, and he lost. Come the 1995 World Championships, he went up against someone who easily beat him two other times, but that time he did not doubt himself and won. All of those fearful experiences allowed Angle to learn exactly what it takes to win.

12 He Had To Try Out For WWE

via wwe.com

As was mentioned at the beginning of this list, Kurt Angle initially decided to turn down a contract offered to him by the WWE, and instead chose to become a sports commentator. When he decided that he wanted to do more with his wrestling background than just talk about sports, he decided to revisit the WWE and their offer. Angle called the company, and asked if their ten year multi-million dollar contract was still on the table, but the WWE said that it was not, which is not surprising considering that at the time, it had been almost three years since the original offer had been made. Luckily for Kurt though, just because the offer was no longer available, did not mean that WWE had lost interest in him. As a part of this new dialogue with WWE, he had to deal with Jim Ross who told him that if he wanted to join the company, he would now have to try out first. Angle decided to take Ross up on the offer and tried out, and based on the career he has had, it went quite well.

11 He Has Bad Mouthed The WWE

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There usually comes a time for everyone when they move on from one job to another, either because it was time to move on to something new, or because there was some kind of falling out with an employer. In Kurt Angle’s case, he ended up having a disagreement with Vince McMahon and WWE, which caused him and the company to part ways, but like many other individuals who have left a job on bad terms, he did not have kind words to say about his former employer. After leaving the WWE, Angle went on to bad mouth the company several times, including one instance where he made the assertion that John Cena, Mark Henry and Batista were not good wrestlers (he might have had a point there). He also said things like the WWE was running him into the ground, and that the company was keeping him stuck in the same place on the card; and he even went as far to say that he had been thinking about going to TNA for some time.

10 He Bad Mouthed Dixie Carter While Working For TNA

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In 2006, Kurt Angle signed with TNA wrestling after being released by the WWE, and as was mentioned earlier, he went on to make some unflattering comments about the company after the two parted ways. Publicly bad mouthing a former employer is not something new; it is actually a very common occurrence, especially when things ended on bad terms like it did with Angle and WWE. What is not really common though is bad mouthing an employer who you are still currently working for, and that is something that Kurt did while he was working for TNA. He has criticized TNA president Dixie Carter by publicly questioning her decision making skills and booking choices, as well as the people she placed in important positions. He has even publicly questioned the company’s work ethic, as he said the TNA offices would be empty by 4:30 because none of the employees had the work ethic to want to make the company properly succeed.

9 He Has Been Arrested For Drinking & Driving Four Times

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Every year there are numerous people who get drunk and yet still decide to get behind the wheel of a car, and a lot of the time, these impaired drivers either get into some kind of accident, or get pulled over and arrested by police. Kurt Angle has made the mistake of getting behind a wheel while under the influence of alcohol, and he has been arrested for that mistake not once, not twice, but four times. All of these arrests came after Angle joined TNA, with three of those arrests being for DWI, the first of which occurred in 2007, the second in 2011, and the third in 2013; with the 2013 arrest having occurred barely an hour after he appeared on a live recording of Impact Wrestling. In 2011, Angle was actually arrested twice, once for an actual DWI as previously mentioned, but he was also arrested for being drunk behind the wheel after a police officer discovered his car parked on a median with Angle passed out in the front seat.

8 He Wants To Be A Coach

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At some point, the time comes when every wrestler has to make the decision to hang up their boots and retire, and for many of them, they either remain in the wrestling industry in some form or another, or they simply live off of the money they managed to save up throughout their career. Other wrestlers though, have some sort of post-career activity or dream job waiting for them after their retirement, and Kurt Angle is one of those wrestlers. While being interviewed on a podcast, Angle was asked what his dream job would be, and he answered by saying he would like to re-enter the world of amateur wrestling as a coach. He has made it clear that if he were to get a coaching job, it would be to coach little kids or Olympic level athletes; the reasoning behind this is that kids enter into amateur wrestling with a lot of enthusiasm while Olympic caliber athletes possess the drive and focus to succeed.

7 He Has Been Sober For Three Years

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There exists a stereotype within wrestling that suggests that professional wrestlers use and get addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol, and it is a stereotype that indeed has merit considering how many wrestlers have died partly due to such addictions. Kurt Angle, as mentioned earlier on this list, has had problems with alcohol in the past, but there was also a time when he was addicted to painkillers as well. Angle suffered from neck issues for several years, and needed medication so he could continue to wrestle, but it eventually got to the point that he needed to take the medication just so “he could feel normal”. Luckily for Angle, he managed to do something that many addicts cannot bring themselves to, as he checked himself into rehab following an arrest in 2013, and as a result, he has now been clean and sober for three years. He admits that working without the medication is difficult, but that if a wrestler needs meds in order to perform, then it is better for that wrestler to just retire.

6 He Has Violated A Restraining Order

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We all make questionable and even stupid decisions in our life, and sometimes those decisions do not have any kind of negative repercussions for yourself or others, but there are also times, where a decision can get you into trouble. As was mentioned earlier, Kurt Angle had multiple run-ins with the police because of his decision to drive a car while intoxicated, but as it turns out; he was also arrested for an even sillier reason. In 2009, the time in which his sobriety was likely at its weakest Angle got divorced from his wife and began dating a fellow TNA wrestler who went by the name Rhaka Khan, and sometime during their relationship, she got a restraining order against Angle. One day, Kurt went to a cafe that Khan was at, which violated the terms of the restraining order, and so police were called and forced to arrest him. Ultimately, Angle did not face any charges, but Khan ended up getting released from TNA as a result.

5 He Was Almost In UFC

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Ultimate Fighting Championship, otherwise known as the UFC, has been around since 1993, but it was not until 2001 when Dana White took over that the sport really started to take off in popularity to eventually become the billion dollar company that it is valued as today. Over the past couple of years, there have been several wrestlers who have ventured into the world of UFC like Bobby Lashley Brock Lesnar, and most recently CM Punk; but what many wrestling fans may not know is that Kurt Angle was almost a part of UFC as well. After winning gold at the Olympics, Angle actually considered joining UFC because of the realness of the fighting/wrestling involved in the sport, and this consideration was very close to becoming a reality, as he did enter discussions with the UFC. Angle was ultimately offered a 10 fight deal which would have paid him a total of 150,000 dollars, an offer that he rejected quite quickly as he did not believe that the risks were worth only 15,000 dollars a fight.

4 He and Eddie Guerrero Got Into A Real Fight

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People have fought with one another since the very beginning; u is just in our nature to do so, whether it is a simple shouting match, or an actual physical altercation which could result in an injury or even death in the most extreme of cases. Wrestlers are no different, they get into arguments and fights as well, and sometimes it involves a fellow wrestler that they work with. Kurt Angle has had some memorable feuds in his career in both the WWE and TNA, but one of his greatest came when he feuded with the late, great Eddie Guerrero. This feud lasted for about eight months, so it stands to reason that at some point, the pair would reach some sort of disagreement that would cause one or both to lose their temper. The way that Angle tells it, Eddie kept getting frustrated about his body and believed that Angle was “working too stiff with him”. and apparently Eddie confronted him about it multiple times. Angle eventually had enough and asked Eddie if he wanted to step outside to settle things, to which Eddie agreed. Kurt won the fight quite easily when he placed Eddie in a chokehold after Eddie tried to get him with a double-leg takedown.

3 He Wants To End His Career In WWE

via wwe.com

Ever since he left the company in 2006, fans have wondered if they would ever get to see Kurt Angle wrestle in a WWE ring again, and as the years passed, it appeared as though he would end up finishing his career with TNA. For the past year now, Angle has not re-signed with TNA, despite being one of the faces of that company and a recent Hall of Fame inductee; instead he has remained a free agent, which has led to the speculation that he is indeed planning a comeback to the WWE. Since last July, Angle has stated that he rejected a proposed contract extension with TNA and that if he signed with WWE, that that contract would be the last one he would sign in his career, whereas if he accepted TNA’s offer, that contract would have not been his last. It was also later revealed that it was Angle himself who approached WWE about him returning to the company; making it appear as though WWE is his first choice in terms of places he would like to end his career in.

2 His Work Could Have Killed Him

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It was mentioned earlier on in this list that Kurt Angle had demons in the form of alcohol use and drug abuse, but ironically neither of those things alone were the greatest threat to his life, in fact he himself was. In 2006, the WWE became concerned about Angle’s health because of injuries he had sustained, his alcohol use, and apparent fatigue, which is why the company told him to go to rehab so that he would not end up becoming another deceased wrestler. Angle though did not believe that anything was wrong with him and refused WWE’s advice, and it was this refusal that ultimately led to the termination of his contract and his departure from the company. Within two months of leaving WWE, Angle joined TNA wrestling, much sooner than anyone expected considering he already had multiple neck issues which could not have had enough time to properly heal. Angle has always believed that world class athletes need to be better than everyone else, and he believed that he was world class, which is why he chose to basically get right back into the ring instead of taking time to heal, a decision which could have costed him his life.

1 He Says He Wasn’t That Good in The Olympics

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Every wrestler has a gimmick, and every wrestler has something that catches the eye of a promoter, and in Kurt Angle’s case, both of those things revolved around the fact that he won an Olympic gold medal in the sport of wrestling. Angle’s win came during the 1996 summer Olympics in Atlanta, and as the story goes, he did in fact accomplish this feat while wrestling with a broken neck. What makes this medal win truly surprising is the fact that Angle has gone on record stating that he was not really good at wrestling at the time of his win, in fact he has said that he was “just starting to get the hang of wrestling” when the 1996 Olympics came around. This is a truly extraordinary thing for an athlete to admit to, especially when that athlete has gone on to become a professional wrestler whose entire career revolves around the fact that he was perceived to have been, at the time, one of the best pure wrestlers in the world.


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