It’s hard to believe that it’s been a decade since WWE chairman Vince McMahon decided to grant Kurt Angle his request to be released from the company. What’s even harder to believe is that Angle had a longer run in TNA/Impact Wrestling than he did in WWE.
Since his WWE exit in the summer of 2006, we’ve heard a ton of different stories regarding why Angle left the company, and on Monday, the 1996 Olympic gold medal winner revealed exactly why he requested to be released from WWE ten years ago on his official blog, saying that he left because he felt guilty for being a liability to Vince McMahon.
“So I started taking more and more Vicodin, stuffing the pain deep inside of me. Before I knew it, I was knee deep (more like shoulder deep) into my addiction. I was hiding it from WWE, and at that time they weren’t drug testing for medication like they do now. I then broke my neck 2 more times over the next 2 years, and the bad relationship/marriage I was in made me feel more alone than ever. I decided that I could not handle the rigorous schedule of WWE and I felt guilty about being a liability to Vince McMahon. So I asked for my release and I swore I’d get my life together.”
As Angle explained during his appearance on the Dan Le Batard Show, he didn’t get his life together when he left WWE.
During his run in TNA, Angle got into a ton of trouble with the law, as he received four DUIs in a span of a couple years. He also admitted that he took 65 extra strength Vicodin a day, on top of drinking alcohol and taking Xanax, which is an anti-anxiety medication.
Since his WWE departure, Vince McMahon hasn’t been all that interested in bringing Kurt Angle back to the company. Why? Well the answer is quite simple: Vince doesn’t want another wrestler dying because of drug/addiction issues while they’re under contract with his company.
Of course, Angle has made it clear that he’s interested in returning to WWE over the last couple of years, but as previously mentioned, there hasn’t been any interest on the WWE side. But according to Angle, he had a talk with Triple H — who is in charge of talent relations at WWE — a couple of months ago, and he said that WWE is finally interested in bringing him back. He also said that his return to the company may happen as early as next year.
Angle’s near decade-long run with Impact Wrestling ended earlier this year, and he’s been doing select independent shows over the last couple of months.
Before the Royal Rumble event this past January, there were rumors that Kurt Angle would end up being a surprise entrant in the 30-man match. WWE traditionally has three or four surprises in the Rumble, and Angle’s contract with TNA had expired shortly before the event, but WWE decided to not bring him back for the show.
WWE is hoping that the 2017 Royal Rumble— which will take place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas — will be the biggest Rumble show of all-time. It’s been reported by Cageside Seats that WWE is talking to Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, and The Undertaker about doing something on the show. They also reported that WWE wants to bring in some big name Mexican stars like Rey Mysterio for the show.
Another big name that would help the 2017 Rumble be the biggest of all-time is Kurt Angle. The timing would be perfect, as he would be able to make a surprise appearance in the Rumble match, and then coming out of the match, he could set up a feud with whoever his WrestleMania opponent is going to be.
In recent years, Angle has named guys like Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar, and Seth Rollins as guys he’d like to get in the ring with if he ever returned to WWE. Unfortunately, Bryan is retired, and it doesn’t look like WWE will allow him to come out of retirement, so an Angle vs. Bryan match is off the table. But the other two matches — Angle vs. Lesnar and Angle vs. Rollins — would be WrestleMania-worthy matches.
[Featured image by Michael Buckner/Getty Images]