Tickets to the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame go on sale this Friday and the WWE made their first announcement on who will be entering the Hall of Fame this year. The announcement was a surprise, and a huge one as ESPN reported that the WWE will induct Kurt Angle as the headliner of the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame.
According to Kurt Angle, the WWE informed him of the decision on Monday afternoon, shortly before the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame announcement was made public. Angle is already in the U.S.A. Wrestling Hall of Fame (2011) and TNA Impact Wrestling Hall of Fame (2013).
“I was shocked. I’ve been out of WWE for a long time and out of touch with them so I didn’t really expect this. It’s a huge honor. This is the only Hall of Fame that I’m not in and probably [the one] I want to be in the most. This is the one that means the most for me. I had a lot of fun entertaining the fans for seven years with WWE, and I’m glad that my hard work paid off.”
There have been rumors all year that Kurt Angle was returning to the WWE, but many thought he would get one last run as a wrestler before finally retiring. He had spent most of 2016 wrestling on the independent scene, including a pair of big matches with Cody Rhodes after he left the WWE.
The 2017 WWE Hall of Fame announcement probably means that Kurt Angle will not wrestle in the WWE again. Most of the time, the WWE waits until wrestlers are retired before inducting them. Undertaker and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are not yet in, and with Kurt Angle listed as the headliner, this won’t be the year either of them get in as well.
Kurt Angle has been much more than just a great professional wrestler over his career. He gained his biggest acclaim when he won the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He won the medal for freestyle wrestling despite wrestling after breaking his neck.
Kurt Angle almost made his professional wrestling debut in 1996 for ECW, but backed out after an angle with Raven “crucifying” Sandman offended him. Instead, he waited and signed with the WWE in 1998. It is interesting that the WWE also ran a crucifixion angle in the Attitude Era.
Once joining the WWE, he was a huge success, mostly after he turned heel and started wrestling with arrogance. He also developed into one of the best promo talkers in the WWE, making him one of the best well-rounded wrestlers of all time.
In the WWE, Kurt Angle was a six-time world champion, while also enjoying reigns as the U.S., European, Hardcore, Intercontinental, and tag team champion. He won the 2000 King of the Ring and was a Triple Crown and Grand Slam champion in the WWE.
After leaving the WWE, he also reached great success in TNA Impact Wrestling. He was a six-time world champion there, giving him 12 total world title reigns. He was also an X-Division champion, tag team champion, and won the King of the Mountain twice.
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Kurt Angle never returned to the WWE due in part to personal problems outside of wrestling. Thanks to his injuries, he developed an addiction to painkillers and also picked up numerous DUIs. He has since cleaned up and has enjoyed sobriety since then. He is just happy the WWE remembered him this year.
“[Triple H] said they never forgot and he called and told me this is the first thing they want to do. And whether I wrestle or not after this — which is irrelevant right now — I’m just really proud to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. I gave a lot of energy and time to WWE those first seven years, and I’m grateful that they recognized it.”
Other rumored entrants to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017 include Diamond Dallas Page and the late Ravishing Rick Rude. However, Kurt Angle is one of the most deserved wrestlers yet to enter the WWE Hall of Fame and deserves the headlining role.
[Featured Image by WWE]