Kurt Angle is set to headline the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2017, the Friday before WrestleMania, in Orlando, Florida. It's a class that also now includes The Rock 'N Roll Express, Teddy Long, Diamond Dallas Page and Beth Phoenix. There are rumors dating back to January that "Ravishing" Rick Rude will also join them as a posthumous inductee, but that's yet to be confirmed on television. However, Kurt Angle is the clear main attraction.
Originally, the Kurt Angle reunion tour was to only include the enshrinement at the Hall of Fame Ceremony, and perhaps an ambassador role down the line. But, just as we've witnessed with Goldberg, things changed. Goldberg was only brought in to face Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series and then get inducted himself. But the WWE extended Goldberg's return and secured Kurt Angle for the Hall of Fame spot.
In the weeks following the announcement that Kurt Angle would be returning for the Hall of Fame, it's been confirmed that he'd eventually be assuming an on-screen role with the company as well. As we reported three weeks ago, he had emerged as a leading candidate to replace Mick Foley as the RAW General Manager at some point.
Foley has been the RAW GM since the brand split last July. Mick has made it public knowledge that he does not have a contract with WWE and is, instead, working on a hand-shake agreement. Foley's health has also become a very public topic as he will require hip surgery that will keep him off the road for an extended period. As of now, he is expected to remain an on-screen character through WrestleMania, but will soon be written off television to have the operation.
It's become clearer by the week that Foley's on-camera relationship with Stephanie McMahon is deteriorating, and will be coming to a head soon. That's where Kurt Angle steps in. And according to a new report, current plans call for the Olympic hero to assume the role the night after WrestleMania on RAW.
In recent years, the night-after-'Mania-RAW has been as anticipated a night as WrestleMania itself, and the company continues to oblige by saving surprises or title changes for that show. There has been talk that the Hardy Boyz could fill that role if they're not involved in a program for the pay-per-view already, but Kurt Angle would certainly qualify as someone who could provide that memorable moment.
Angle, of course, will already be in Orlando that weekend. The enshrinement ceremony will take place Friday night, and it has become tradition for the entire class to be on display at WrestleMania for the live crowd to show their respects. The RAW and SmackDown tapings that follow will both be held in Orlando's Amway Center, so the travel won't be an issue at all.
Kurt Angle has experience in an authoritative role, having served as General Manager of SmackDown in 2004, and he certainly has on-screen history with Stephanie McMahon. It's unknown whether the GM post was what the WWE originally had in mind for Angle's impending "on-screen role," but the timing of Foley's health concerns and Kurt's repaired relationship with WWE officials make it a sensible fit.
There has been talk of maintaining a high level of interest in the product following WrestleMania, traditionally a drop-off period among fans. One of the topics that has been discussed backstage has been the idea of Kurt Angle returning to wrestle one, or a handful of matches. They're going to start by bringing him back to television to run RAW, and we'll just have to wait and see whether that parlays into an actual wrestling match (or more) down the line.
[Featured Image by WWE]