WWE has announced that the newest inductee to the 2017 Hall of Fame will be the former WWE Champion Kurt Angle. Although being gone from the company for nearly 11 years, Angle has honed his craft to solidify his spot as one of the greatest professional wrestlers to ever step foot in the ring. Well-deserved of the honor, Angle will join the elite group during the ceremony, which happens the night before WrestleMania 33.
As a pleasant surprise to most, WWE touted Angle’s accolades on their site.
— WWE (@WWE) January 16, 2017
“By the time he left WWE in 2006, Angle had become one of the company’s most decorated stars in a short period of time. His resume includes four reigns as WWE Champion, a World Heavyweight Championship, the WCW, United States, Hardcore, Intercontinental and World Tag Team Championships. In addition, Angle was the 2000 King of the Ring and even served as General Manager of SmackDown.”
To no surprise, many current WWE talent were quick to respond to this announcement.
Kalisto, Tye Dillinger, and Roderick Strong all showed their appreciation of angle, as well as their excitement of the announcement. Former NXT Tag Team Champion William Murphy stated that the WWE Hall of Fame is “where he belongs.” Current NXT Tag Team Champion Tommaso Ciampa stated that Angle is “[a] man who inspired me to become the performer I am today… and continues to inspire me to reach for greatness.” Shocked by the announcement, former NXT Women’s Champion Bayley stated that Angle is one of her all-time favorite wrestlers. Former SmackDown Live Women’s Champion Becky Lynch stated that she is delighted to see Angle going into the Hall of Fame, as he is one of her favorites and an “absolute legend.”
Angle is one of the fastest rising stars in WWE history, becoming Intercontinental Champion, European Champion, and WWE Champion within the first two years of debuting. As WWE mentioned, Angle achieved multiple world championships and a long list of accomplishments in just seven years with the company.
In a recent interview with former WWE announcer on the Making Their Way to the Ring podcast, Angle talked about how he was received from his peers backstage while achieving so much in so little time. He stated while there have been many occasions that a person would not be well-received or accepted warmly if they were given a push early in their career, he was welcomed without issue from the top stars.
“If a new guy comes in, and he’s getting a push from the boss, and the other guys don’t like it, they’re gonna be a bit more unforgiving. And they’re gonna lay into you a little harder. These guys – the Austins, the Rocks, the Jerichos, the Edge and Christians, the Triple Hs – they were really giving toward me. They never tried to screw me over, or tried to make me look bad. They saw my talent, and they knew I wasn’t quite ready, but they were able to nurture me to continue to improve. They could have made me look bad at any moment, but they didn’t do that. So I’m so very grateful for what those guys did… They were guys that gave so much to me because they believed in me.”
After his departure from WWE in 2006, Angle would spend 10 years competing for TNA. There, he became a six-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion and was inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame in 2013. One of his biggest rivals in TNA was Samoa Joe, who has now been a top star in NXT and is expected to be on the main roster at any moment. Of course, Joe was sure to comment on the WWE announcement, stating that it is “[a] worthy accolade for [an] unparalleled adversary.”
Angle’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame only increases the level of excitement heading into WrestleMania 33 weekend. While he is unsure that he will compete in a WWE ring, one thing is for certain is that after 11 years, the Olympic gold medalist is once again affiliated with the company.
[Featured Image by WWE]