In the sports entertainment and wrestling world, there is one word to describe Kurt Angle: Legend. 2017 has been Angle’s year; a recent inductee in the WWE Hall of Fame, back on live television as the General Manager of Monday Night Raw, competing in his first match in many years, releasing a documentary on the WWE Network, and so much more. To say it’s a dream come true to talk with Angle is an understatement. He will be coming to our backyard of Freehold, NJ on Saturday, Nov. 25 to meet his many devoted fans at iPlay America. After speaking with Angle, he highly encourages fans to come prepared with questions, as he loves interacting and getting to know the “universe” better. I think this year could be hard to top for him, but I know he will find a way to do so.
Kurt, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me today.
My pleasure, Maria. Thanks for chatting with me!
I think it’s safe to say 2017 is the year of Kurt Angle. You are presently back as the GM of Monday Night Raw. How are you liking being more on the “decision-making” side of things?
I love it, but of course being a competitor, it gets a bit difficult [laughs]. You know, you obviously want to get in there and mix it up with the guys! There is a lot of young talent on the roster now I’d love to get in the ring with. A new generation, and these guys are much more competitive, such great athletes. When I started, it was way more character driven. I mean, you had a PIMP [laughs]. Now, it’s way more geared toward the athleticism in the ring. But again, things are different, and I do love it.
Well, we think you are doing a great job! I must also say, you looked great in your match with The Shield! How did it feel getting back in that ring with some of today’s top WWE superstars?
It felt great! I always wanted to get in the ring with all of them; from Braun Strowman to Kane — whom I have wrestled before — it felt awesome. And of course, Shamus and Cesaro, I absolutely love those guys, personally and professionally. I always wanted to get in the ring with Seth and Dean Ambrose, and to be on their team it was awesome. The Shield are one of the most famous factions in wrestling history, so it was an incredible honor to be in the ring with them. “Replacing” Roman Reigns which is impossible to do [laughs], but I did the best I could!
You held your own and did an amazing job, a lot of fans will agree! I also wanted to congratulate you on getting inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. That must’ve been an amazing moment for not just you, but your family. Did you ever imagine that day would come?
I wasn’t expecting it. When you are offered an honor that is that high, you take it. I don’t plan on retiring right now, you know? It’s one of those things where, whether they want me to stop wrestling or not, I was — and am — so honored to take it. It’s incredible. My reaction was immediate, “Yes!”
I probably would have expected it maybe ten years from now [laughs]. It was also incredible being the main event of the hall of fame. I was so excited about that! I was in WWE for six and a half years, and then I left. It’s not like it was an incredibly long career, but I had a large impact, which is amazing. I am so honored to be in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Your special, 24, on the WWE Network was one of the most emotional and inspiring things I have ever watched. I respect you on a whole new level for being so vulnerable on camera discussing past things in your life, both high and low. If someone were to walk away after watching that feeling inspired, what would be the lesson you hope they learned from it?
Yes, I said it in my Hall of Fame speech, and I want to reiterate it: People are going to make mistakes in life, we all do. But we need to limit them; listen to your inner self, listen to your body, monitor your life. Don’t ignore yourself! I did that for years! I abused my body with drugs, alcohol, and emotional pain. I hid it, and got my highs so I didn’t have to feel anything. Listen to yourself, limit your mistakes. There is that spot in your brain that says, “do the right thing,” that’s the one you should listen too [laughs]. Try to listen to it!
That is great advice, on many levels Kurt. Not just in sports! I am sure you get asked the question a lot: What is your favorite match that you have performed in? But I’d like to know, what is one of our favorite matches as a spectator; whether it’s when you were actively wrestling or even as the GM?
Oh man, there are so many! Many at Wrestle Mania, of course. You look at this AJ Styles kid, he is just a tiny step above everyone else. I have seen him consistently have these five star matches with all this different talent, it’s mind-blowing. I wrestled him many times back in TNA, and unfortunately the WWE universe didn’t see those matches.
Those matches were pretty damn good. Seeing him wrestle people like Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, and I put Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose up there as well. But AJ just has this “oomph” about him that I love to watch. I am so glad the WWE finally got him. His last match with Finn was one of my favorites, I loved it. There are so many to name, again the talent these days is just at a new level.
I agree 100%. You will be stopping at iPlay America in Freehold, NJ on Nov. 25 for a cool meet and greet with the fans. For those who haven’t gotten their tickets yet, what can they expect when they come out?
You guys can ask any questions you want! I am very upfront, honest, and open. If you want to know anything about the business or myself, past present or future, I will answer it all! Come and take pictures with me, get autographs, I cannot wait. I am so excited to be there on Nov. 25!
Great to know! Knowing that it will be hard to top 2017, what can fans of yours expect for the New Year ahead?
I don’t know, but I plan on staying with WWE so that’s always great! I hope to wrestle more, my competitive instincts take over sometimes and say, “You want to wrestle more,” [laughs] but of course, I am enjoying the GM thing so much. Hopefully it will be another awesome year ahead!
Great Kurt, we wish you the best of luck in every and anything you do, and cannot wait to meet you on the 25th of November at iPlay America.
Thanks Maria, see you there!
Come meet WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle at iPlay America in Freehold on Saturday, Nov. 25.