In a little more than two weeks’ time, WWE’s pay-per-view schedule will be kicking off with this year’s Royal Rumble. But will Kurt Angle be among the Royal Rumble 2017 surprise entrants and continue WWE’s tradition of bringing back familiar names for brief (or not-so-brief) cameos in the event’s eponymous over-the-top-rope battle royal?
Rumors of a Kurt Angle WWE return have been swirling for several months. Most recently, we had heard that the former U.S. Olympic gold medalist had been informing promoters that he wouldn’t be taking any more independent bookings by March and would be coming back to WWE in April, possibly hinting at an appearance at WrestleMania 33. Angle had last competed in WWE in 2006 and would later move on to a lengthy, yet often-troubled run in TNA that ended in March 2016.
But several publications did warn fans to temper their expectations, despite the promise of one of WWE’s top performers of the 2000s returning to the company for the first time in over a decade. According to WrestlingNewsSource, that wasn’t the first time Kurt had informed independent companies that he was headed back to the company where he first became popular.
More recently, there has been speculation that Kurt Angle would be at Royal Rumble 2017 as a surprise entrant. The most recent WWE Leaks Royal Rumble match entrance odds, courtesy of PaddyPower.com, have Angle as a solid favorite of being among the 30 men competing in the battle royal, though the publication acknowledged that his chances of joining as a surprise entrant have recently gone down, due to his previous hints at a WWE return amounting to nothing. As of January 6, his odds stand at 6/5, putting him on equal footing to recent NXT returnee Kassius Ohno (a.k.a. Chris Hero) and reigning NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura.
Though the above U.K. betting odds suggest Kurt Angle may be at Royal Rumble 2017 as one of those nostalgia-based surprise entrants, the latest whispers from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Dave Meltzer suggest that fans shouldn’t hold their breaths just yet. Citing Meltzer, WrestlingNews.co wrote today that Angle hasn’t called anyone in WWE yet, meaning he hasn’t been in formal talks relating to a possible WWE return, may it be at Royal Rumble on January 29 or WrestleMania 33 on April 2.
Despite the new update suggesting there are no WWE return plans for Angle just yet, that doesn’t rule out the possibility of Angle competing in the Royal Rumble match, said WrestlingNews.co.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean anything either way because sometimes WWE will call someone (for Royal Rumble) at the last minute.”
For the meantime, Kurt Angle making a WWE return appears to be rather far from the veteran wrestler’s mind. WrestlingNews.co noted that he will be joining former WWE ring announcer Lilian Garcia on her Making Their Way to the Ring podcast, where he will talk about an upcoming film he and other wrestling mainstays will be starring in.
Kurt Angle Starring in Wrestling Comedy 'In the Ring' | Hollywood … – Hollywood Reporter https://t.co/hpM8m8b8Fi
— Wrestling Plaza (@WrestlingPlaza) January 13, 2017
The movie, In the Ring, will star Angle as the leader of a “group of misfit wrestlers” that team up to compete against a large federation and an “extreme” wrestling company owned by former ECW and WWE standout Tommy Dreamer’s character. The film will also be starring a number of ex-WWE and TNA wrestlers, including John Morrison, Ken Anderson, Christopher Daniels, and Frankie Kazarian.
Are we really going to see Kurt Angle at Royal Rumble 2017, and is it time for fans to fire up their “You suck!” chants like they used to back in the early-mid-2000s? Fifteen days is still a lot of time for things to happen, though it’s not like this year’s Royal Rumble match won’t be without any big-time returnees or part-timers, what with The Undertaker, Bill Goldberg, and Brock Lesnar all confirmed to take part in the match.
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