Kurt Angle Wanted One More Title Run In WWE, John Cena For His Retirement Match
Photo Credit: WWE
Kurt Angle believed himself to be far done from wrestling when he came back under the WWE banner in 2017, but cites too much time on the sideline as a reasoning for his declining ability in the ring.
It’s been 24 years since he’s obtained Olympic Gold, but the WWE Hall Of Famer recently spoke with Denise Salcedo of Instinct Culture about how he was itching to wrestle once more once he made his return to WWE, but the course his on-screen journey took wasn’t the one he necessarily wanted.
“It didn’t go the way I wanted it to. Vince McMahon had an idea for me, I think he was looking at me as a liability, someone that was addicted to painkillers, someone that broke his neck 5 times. So, I think Vince didn’t have the same idea I did. I wanted to get a title run when I came back. I actually took a year off after I left TNA and I wrestled around the world. I did events in the U.K, Europe, Asia, Mexico, Arizona; I did a pay-per-view down there with Rey Mysterio. I wanted to have another title run and retire. And Vince McMahon wanted me inducted into the Hall of Fame and I told him, ‘Well, I am not done wrestling’ and he said, ‘That’s okay’ And I said, ‘Well, you know eventually I would like to wrestle,’ and he said ‘We’ll get there.’
“So, after the Hall of Fame, that night, after I had my speech, Vince McMahon came up to me and said, ‘You’re going to be the GM of Raw starting tomorrow.’ And I was like ‘Well, I still wanna wrestle,’ he said, ‘We’ll get you there.’ So, I think he did everything he could to kind of push that off. And when it was time for me to wrestle, I was doing the GM job for a year and a half; I was inactive, not bumping, not wrestling. My body started getting arthritic, my neck tightened up, my back, my knees. Before I knew it, I got in the ring and I looked like an old man wrestling. And I knew that. Even though the company wanted me to continue to wrestle, I didn’t feel right about it for a couple reasons. One, I wanted to come back and have the title run, that wasn’t going to happen… ”
Angle did feel the sun setting on his in-ring career and approached Vince McMahon about having his final match against John Cena, but McMahon had other ideas for Kurt.
“Basically I wanted to come back and have a good way to retire. Vince McMahon told me that I had a program with Baron Corbin, and I told him that I wanted to retire at Wrestlemania, and he said ‘Well, you’re going to wrestle Baron Corbin because you had a program with him for the last seven months.’ I said, ‘Vince, I want to retire, Baron is a great talent but he’s an upcoming talent, how about John Cena?’ He said, ‘If you want John Cena, next year you got him, but this year you get Baron’ I said, ‘Vince, I am not going next year. I am done. This is it.’ He said, ‘Well, you’re stuck with this.’ So I respect it, I understood why because they had spent a lot of time building up Baron Corbin and we had to have a match… if I wanted to continue for another year I could have got Cena, but I didn’t want to go a whole other year. I knew I was done.”
With all that in the rearview mirror, Angle does understand the decision-making from WWE’s perspective.
“There’s nothing I can do, I believe WWE played it safe with me, and I don’t blame them. I think I would have done the same. But when I came to WWE I was ready to wrestle, I was in great shape, my technique was great, my body was great. But that year and a half/two years sitting out; it’s just when you turn 50 years old, your body is not the same as it was 20 years prior. So, I had to deal with that and I knew my career was coming to an end quickly, so I did what I had to do.”
(Transcription credit should go to Denise Salcedo)
Check out Denise’s interview with Kurt below: