As he prepares to wrestle his final matches for TNA Impact Wrestling, professional wrestling legend Kurt Angle still has his sights set on a match against former WWE World Heavyweight champion Daniel Bryan.
In a new interview with Digital Spy, promoting TNA’s Maximum Impact Tour of the United Kingdom in January, Angle discussed several topics pertaining to his future and in-ring career. When looking at the current crop of WWE wrestlers, Angle sees Bryan — who is currently out with concussion issues — as his ideal opponent.
“Daniel Bryan is my pick. He always will be, I really believe he’ll be back. Right now, pound for pound, he’s the best wrestler on the planet. He reminds me a lot of AJ Styles – there’s a kid who doesn’t get credit either – he’s one of the top three right now in wrestling, Daniel Bryan. I’ve had my eye on him for years.”
When Angle left the WWE in 2006, the 1996 Olympic gold medalist cited health concerns and the WWE’s grueling travel schedule as the reasons why. Angle spoke out later on about TNA’s core of budding superstars such as Styles and Samoa Joe as an allure of jumping ship to TNA.
In this 2007 interview with KCCI, Angle said that “WWE pales in comparison to the talent in TNA’s roster. That’s another reason why I went down to TNA, I saw how many guys I could have tremendous matches with. In WWE, I started getting limited in the end, I was looking around saying ‘Geez, where do I go next? Mark Henry? Batista? Those guys weren’t real good wrestlers.”
Now almost eight years later, Angle’s mindset has changed and he’s looking at the WWE for new, fresh, and exciting opponents — specifically Bryan.
“It was like when I was in WWE. I’m happy, I’m having all these wonderful matches, but that young kid over in TNA, that AJ Styles, I’d love to get my hands on him. Eventually I did. That’s how I feel about Daniel Bryan. It’s going to happen. Whether it’s in WWE or TNA or independently – we’ll book it and make it happen somehow.”
Bryan is currently under contract to WWE, but there have been rumblings of him potentially leaving WWE and wrestling elsewhere if the company does not clear him. That would allow Angle to have a match with Bryan on the independent circuit or possibly TNA if the company is willing to pay up for both an Angle return and a Bryan debut.
However, a match with Bryan likely has the best chance of happening inside a WWE ring. Angle revealed in the interview with Digital Spy that he and WWE “were going to have some type of meeting last year, unfortunately it got cancelled.” That shows that there is at least some kind of willingness to talk between both sides but obviously nothing is imminent.
Regarding a potential WWE Hall of Fame nod, Angle insisted that it’d be a huge honor but not something he’d lose sleep over.
“Somewhere along the line it’ll happen, I just don’t know when. Would it be an honour to be in the WWE Hall of Fame? Yeah, it’s an incredible honour. Would it kill me if I wasn’t? No, it wouldn’t. The most important thing to me is being in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, which is Olympic wrestling. That’s where my legacy truly is. It would be nice to be on the WWE Hall of Fame – it’ll happen, I just don’t know when.”
For right now, Angle’s last wrestling commitments are in the UK next month with TNA as he retires from the company. Beyond that, it’s all up in the air.
“Yeah, this is my final tour for TNA Wrestling. Is it my retirement match? For TNA, yes… I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m going to take a year off after that and see what I want to do.”
[Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons]