It took nearly 11 years but Kurt Angle is back in WWE’s good graces again and has a role as the on-screen general manager of Monday Night RAW.
However, Angle’s departure from WWE all those years ago was not a smooth one — something the Olympic gold medalist is the first to admit. With years of wear and tear on his body and a surgically repaired neck multiple times over, Angle needed to leave WWE and he refused help on the way out.
“I thought I was a liability to that company, and I think he [Vince McMahon] felt that way,” Angle said in a recent interview with Addiction Professional.
“He was trying to help me, and I didn’t want his help.”
Angle left WWE and wrestled for most of the following decade for TNA Impact Wrestling, accumulating several DUI’s and rehab stints. Now, Angle is a 48-year-old man who has been sober for several years and hopes to be wrestling inside a WWE ring at least once before he hangs up the boots for good.
As Angle explained in the interview, WWE’s current protocol ensures that talent does not reach a point in their health where they’re unable to compete or dependent on painkillers.
“WWE has a great wellness policy now. You have to pass physicals through WWE doctors, not your own. But back then, I was convincing my doctor to get me back as soon as possible. As long as you were cleared by a doctor in 2003, WWE was OK with it. Now, they have their own doctors you have to go through. I rushed back in there long before I should have. That was my own fault, talking my doctor into clearing me.”
For instance, Angle wrestled Brock Lesnar in the main event of WrestleMania 19 with a severely injured neck with paralysis setting in on the right side of his body. Today, a competitor in that type of condition would not be cleared for in-ring competition whereas years ago, a simple clearance from any doctor would do the trick.
An inductee into the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame, Angle has taken his place in WWE history. He has made it clear, however, that he hopes to finish his career wrestling in a WWE ring, the company where he started his career and wrestled for from 1999-2006.
Triple H — the man who called Angle to notify him of his induction — spoke on ESPN’s Cheap Heat (h/t William Windsor of Wrestling Inc) before WrestleMania and spoke about the possibility of Angle returning in an in-ring capacity.
“Yeah, but I think that we were very clear with Kurt, I’ve been very clear with Kurt in every conversation on this topic, it’s a proving ground, right? So he did a lot of great things and there’s a lot of time under the table, a lot of baggage, all those things. It just comes back down to, ‘let’s get together—let’s see how it goes. If it goes well for you and it goes well for us, and everything is great, then, we see where it goes from there,” Triple H said.
“We’re not going to say, ‘never.’ Kurt would have to go through a lot of physical requirements to be able to be allowed to return to the ring. And I know that angers fans, but that’s us looking after the well-being of talent in general whether they like that or dislike that. That’s the facts.”
Angle has named talents such as Seth Rollins and AJ Styles as some people he would like to face in a WWE return. If he does or doesn’t will be contingent on his health and ability to pass all WWE sanctioned testing.
[Featured Image by WWE]