I first want to discuss my experience with Kurt Angle. I got to the restaurant where the interview took place. He was there with his wife and their daughter. He also had his business partner, part-owner, of Anglefoods there. Surprisingly, I had a connection with the guy so we actually were closer than we thought. It's a small world! Kurt greeted me and my dad warmly. He was ready to attack the interview. Kurt's wife and daughter left when the interview was conducted. The interview was a big hit. I interviewed Kurt a little more than 30 minutes. Everything that was said is down below. After the interview, Kurt, his partner, my dad, and myself talked. It was about different topics. Sadly, Kurt had to go as he had to take a call from Australia soon. He was staying longer than he was suppose to, so you know he didn't mind and wanted to keep talking. I got a picture at the end with Kurt to wrap everything up. Overall, Kurt had a great spirit and was amazing to talk to. Meeting one of my inspirations was tremendous. Kurt gets a lot of heat sometimes, but if you get to know him, he is one amazing soul. I want to thank Richard for sponsoring this interview and all of you for sending in your questions. It was a real treat and I am glad to bring it to you.
I put the questions in bold and the responses in italics.
The Kurt Angle Interview:
Thank you Kurt Angle for taking the time out of your busy schedule and your off day to meet up for an exclusive interview. This interview is on behalf of WrestlingNewsWorld.com. They are promoting and sponsoring this time with you.
Alex: First of all Kurt, I have to ask, do you read any “dirtsheet” wrestling websites?
Kurt: No, I really don’t read any websites. I never really got into it. I really don’t know what to believe. A lot of it is true and a lot of it is not. I don’t involve myself in that. I am to busy with my family and my businesses.....Anglefoods and BarnDadNutrition.com - UltraFiberDX.com. Basically, no, I don’t read the dirtsheets. I don’t care about the dirtsheets. I get word from friends about certain things being said. Recently there was something being said and I had to retaliate. It was a disrespectful comment to TNA, so I did what I had to do it and it was one comment.
Kurt, you are an Olympic gold medalist, a multi-time champion from both TNA and WWE. You are also an entrepreneur and a current star in TNA Wrestling. I want to touch on your career from the beginning, your time in WWE, your present time in TNA, and your future.
Alex: I want to start off with your Olympic gold medal win. After you won the gold, you were contacted by both WCW and WWF. What made you decide to join WWF?
Kurt: WWE, F at the time, was going through the Attitude Era. I actually, thank God, met Ric Flair. I asked him about WCW and he straight up told me right to my face to not go there and go to WWE. Ric pretty much scared me off. WCW would do nothing with you. Vince McMahon would make you a star. Ric was right. I am very grateful what Vince did to me. He utilized me the right way. I believe if I would have went to WCW, it would have taken a heck of a lot longer to get to where I am now.
I took questions from our readers at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
Alex: Username “Thisguy” wrote: “If you would've made the cut for the Pittsburgh Steelers and played in the NFL, do you think you would have been as successful in football as you are in wrestling?”
Kurt: I would have been in the pros. I would have gotten a pension. I would have had a four to eight year career. I would have been an average fullback in the NFL. I don’t think I would have been extraordinary. I don’t think I would have been what I was in the Olympics, which was an Olympic gold medalist, which is something I wouldn’t trade in the world. Not even to be a 10 time all pro in football. That is just something that is one in a billion shot. I am glad I went in the amateur wrestling direction then to the pro wrestling direction. No; I believe I would have been a great pro football player. Would I be extraordinary? No.
You joined WWF, now the WWE, and you rose quickly. You were a fast learner as you transitioned from the amateur (which you have 20 years experience) to professional wrestling (where you have 13 years experience).
Alex: Username “Mr.Love” wrote: “What were your thoughts on the 6 man Hell in the Cell match that you had in WWE? Was it hard to work with four of the greatest wrestlers in that type of match?”
Kurt: No, it was very easy. Undertaker, Triple H, Austin, The Rock, and I remember Rikishi was in it too. Those guys were such great leaders. I think that is what is lacking today. The Attitude Era there were so many great wrestlers. I personally didn’t know what I was doing in that match. I just listened to Undertaker. I listened to Triple H. I listened to The Rock. I listened to Stone Cold and they pretty much carried me through the match. Even though I was champion and in the ring in that cage with five other great wrestlers, I did what they told me to do. I didn’t have to think. I just responded. What I did was take that kind of approach when I started pro wrestling. I didn’t have that “I know everything” mentality. I said, you know what, I am going to forget everything I learned the last 20 years, turn on my instincts, and I am going to soak it in. I’m going to listen to these guys and let them teach me. Thank God it worked out for the best. I have been working with great wrestlers from the beginning. You know, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero and all of a sudden it was The Undertaker and Triple H and the Rock and all of a sudden it was Austin. So they were all great ring leaders. They taught me a lot. They taught me so much that I became a great ring leader with two years. It’s not a fluke; it’s a blessing that I came at the right time. I came at a lot of time when a lot of guys were injured and Vince McMahon was looking around and saying, “Who can we use next? Let’s try the Olympic guy.” Vince McMahon kinda said we are going to through you in the water and you are either going to sink or swim. Thank God I swam. It worked out well.
You faced the biggest names in the business. In the early 2000s, you went from Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and Triple H. The landscape transitioned as a huge star came into the picture. That man is Brock Lesnar.
Alex: Username “Mike merante” wrote: “Did you really beat Brock Lesnar in a freestyle match or a folkstyle match years ago, back in the WWE days?” He says it was reported that you two fought but it was never confirmed. Can you put this story to rest?
Kurt: Brock Lesnar and I are smart but did I get the better of him? Yes. But Brock is a world class athlete. I would have considered him three or four years ago, before he got sick, God bless him, I would have considered him the baddest man on the planet. I have a lot of respect for Brock. He’s one of those guys who could have been the best at whatever he did: National champion in wrestling......he could have been an all pro football player if he stuck with it, but he didn’t want to go to Europe for a year. He was UFC Champion and now he is back with the WWE again. Brock Lesnar is a very rare athlete. You don’t find a 300 pounder that is that strong, moves that quickly, and that smart. Brock is one of a kind.
WWE transitioned into another era and you followed that as you became the face of ECW. Several months later, you left WWE. You signed with TNA and became the face of that company.
Many people still talked about your stuff in the WWE though. Therefore,
Alex: Username “RatedKing” wrote: “What would your say your best rivalry would be?”
Kurt: My favorite was Triple H and Stephanie. That is what really put me on the map. That was my first year wrestling. Triple H, God bless him, is a great leader . Talk about getting in the ring with somebody and just carried you through everything. I had a concussion at Summerslam that first year and I don’t even remember what I was doing. I don’t even remember the match, but I know watching it over again Triple H, Dawyne, The Rock, just kept telling what to do and carried me through it. When I was suppose to duck out of the way, they literally pulled my head down themselves to miss and hit the other guy. You can just tell if you look back that I literally knew nothing what I was doing. I learned a lot that year. But that storyline with Triple H and Stephanie was my favorite. That or the comedy I did with Stone Cold. That was different. We were both injured and Vince McMahon wanted both of us on TV. We just had great chemistry. One of those two.
On a more serious note, while you were in TNA, the Chris Benoit tragedy occurred. There were so many questions. Eventually, they were answered.
Alex: But Username “Jake” wrote: “What was the backstage atmosphere in TNA like when Chris Benoit passed away and after the details of the death emerged?”
Kurt: Not a lot of the guys really knew Chris. Some of them did. The young ones didn’t. The AJ Styles and Samoa Joes. For me......I guess......it was such a tragedy that I was more confused to what happened and tried to figure out how a tragedy like that could happen especially since Chris was such a nice and caring guy. So, I will never be able to figure it out, but the atmosphere wasn’t nearly, I would say tense, in TNA as it would have been in WWE at the time. I think everybody bowed their head out of respect out of Chris, his wife, and his son and said a quick prayer. I can’t imagine what the wrestlers were feeling in the WWE and I probably had more matches with Chris in the WWE than anybody. For me, it was a very difficult time. It was very hard to put it together to try to think why it happened.....trying to think of reasons why it happened. You know, whose fault was it, how it would have came about. There are no answers. Nobody knows. The only one who knows is God himself.
You had your fair share of rivalries and stories throughout the WWE and TNA. One in particular that I loved was your rivalry with Jeff Jarrett. That is one storyline that was actually real life. You rarely see that anymore. While your rivalry with him, we saw Karen join in but also your children.
Alex: Kendra Bunyon wrote: “How did you feel about your children being used in the storyline with Jeff and Karen? Did you have any misgivings about your children appearing on TV?”
Kurt: No. I didn’t bat an eye in it because, for me, I get to see my kids once a month because they live in Tennessee. For me, I was getting to see my kids every week because Karen and Jeff were on TV. Whether my kids were on TV or not, having Karen come down......she guarantees she will bring the kids. So, I was getting to see my kids every week, which was a bonus for me. Was it worth it to suck up my pride and put my real story life on the line? Yes, it was for my kids. So, I don’t regret it at all. It was a blast! I got to take them to Disney World during the day and have a blast with them and then at night play out the storyline. Everybody kept coming up to me and saying, “I can’t believe how you are handling this.” I said I am having a blast; I am with my kids. It wasn’t a hard decision.
While you were in TNA, you went over and competed in Japan.
Alex: Username Adam W. wrote: “What was the atmosphere like wrestling in the Tokyo Dome or facing for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship?”
Kurt: I had some awesome matches over there. One was for Brock Lesnar. One with Yuji Nagata. One with Nakamura.....Tanahashi. They have a very high standard over there especially when they wrestle popular Americans. They put a lot of pressure on themselves to make sure they steal the show. I really didn’t like going over there, but TNA was booking me to do it out of relationships with New Japan. They were getting a pretty good chunk of money for me to go overthere. It was part of my contract that they can sublease me out. No longer can they do that anymore, thank God. But they would book me over there and make a good bit of money. I did that for about 3-4 years and I told them I couldn’t do it anymore. But it was a good experience......wrestling guys that didn’t speak english. The Japanese wrestlers are very respectful. It’s a great style, very stiff. I got pretty banged up going over there, but that’s the way they go. You got to respect their style and you got to give it back to them. If you don’t, they will have less respect for you because you aren’t giving it back. They expect that. There are very different and they have a lot of pride in their work. They want to make everything look real and sharp.
In 2009, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff joined TNA. It created a huge buz.
Alex: What was the feeling backstage when it was announced and would you ever believe you would be working for Eric Bischoff?
Kurt: No. At first I didn’t like Eric Bischoff. I didn’t think he would do anything to help the company. Hulk Hogan.....I always liked Terry. I didn’t have a problem with him. I thought he had one of the top three minds in the business because he was around Vince McMahon so much and when you are around Vince McMahon so much, you learn a lot! Thank God. I studied Eric Bischoff while he was down there and within the first two months, I could tell that he was very good at directing and very good at going over rehearsals for promos. You can tell he had a vision of what he wanted out of the wrestlers and the pretapes. You can tell he knew which direction he wanted to go with each wrestler as a character. Eric Bischoff actually surprised me that he knew as much as he did about the business. I thought he was just a guy that got lucky in WCW and booked Kevin Nash at the top and got Kevin to book the shows and made a bunch of money, but the guy actually knows what he is doing. I am glad I am working with Eric Bischoff. I like him. I do. Him, Bruce Prichard, and Hulk Hogan are going to take TNA to the next level. Have they yet? No, but it always takes time. Everybody is always expecting overnight result. It doesn’t happen like that. People always say, “Oh Eric Bischoff is coming in....well let’s see what he can do” and they expect it to happen overnight. It doesn’t happen overnight. Will it in the next year, 2 or 3? Yeah. Will we get to WWE level? Not in my career. But I believe in 10 years from now there is a possibility that TNA might just be getting the same or better ratings than WWE. There is a chance. There really is. So, TNA is around. Their around for good, thank God. Their staying. Their making enough money that this company is not going to go under. The Carter family is 150% behind it. Thank God we have another company and this is what bothers me about some of the other wrestlers. When you have two companies that are providing wrestlers jobs, you don’t want to disrespect either company. Because now you are limiting your opportunity to work in one of them. So, if an idiot wrestler makes a stupid comment about a company and calls it an indy company, he just limited his chance of working there. That’s very disrespectful. I would have never done that to TNA. I won’t do it to WWE because they are the monster and they are the top company in the world, but I wouldn’t even do it to Ring of Honor because you never know. Some day I might not want to be here or there or maybe TNA doesn’t want me anymore......I go back to WWE or WWE doesn’t want me and I go to Ring of Honor. You got to keep your options open. You don’t make idiot comments that basically take work away from you. You don’t want that to happen.
To combine both the WWE and TNA for a minute, there are a few quick answer questions.
Alex: Username “Dale” wrote: “Who do you travel with in TNA and who did you travel with in WWE?”
Kurt: TNA, I travel by myself quite a bit, but I was traveling quite a bit with James Storm. James and I were very tight. We were travel partners. Then, you know, the program got around to where him and I started battling against each other and nobody wanted us to travel together, so I just started traveling on my own. I do a little with Austin Aries. I think Austin is an amazing talent and a great addition to our company. He’s quite a character. Different personality. In WWE, I traveled a lot with Edge and Christian. We’re very tight. Besides them, I pretty much travel by myself most of the time. I never really wanted a travel partner because I always want to do my own thing. I wanted to get up at my own time. I wanted to go to the gym at my own time. I wanted to eat at my own time. When you have traveling partners then you got to please them and I don’t want to please anybody. I want to live the way I want to live and I want to travel the way I want to travel whether is saves me money or not. Whether I split the cost in half of renting a car and whatever, I would rather spend the money and do what I want to do.
Alex: What match of yours is your personal favorite? Also, what match is your favorite that you weren’t in?
Kurt: My favorite match was Shawn Michaels at Mania. Shawn and I didn’t practice anything. In the WWE, those wrestlers spend a whole week working on one match. Shawn and I sat down and just talked about old times. We talked about our faith, our Christian faith. We joked around with Pat Patterson, our agent. We went over one little move just to see if I can lift him up in the air. It was a keylock that we ended up doing a sunset flip. And then, we really didn’t put that much effort into putting the match together. It just happened. It was just 30 minutes of blessing.....blessed match.....magic....I don’t know what it was. My favorite match that I wasn’t in was when Chris Benoit, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H in a Triple Threat when I wrestled Eddie Guerrero for the World Title. That or one because I wasn’t even wrestling yet, but I got to watch, was the Ironman Match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. The funny thing is, my favorite matches always seemed to either have Taker, Shawn Michaels, or Triple H in it. I don’t know why, but those three seem to be the best three, I would say, workers in the business. I am not going to say wrestlers or athletes. I’d say the best three workers.
You had a tremendous past, but you also have a huge future. You have your own food company and you are staring in a lot of movies. The question is your future in wrestling.
Alex: Username “Matt” and “TheRealFLegend” (from Twitter) wrote: “When you retire, will you ever consider being a road agent for TNA or opening your own wrestling school?”
Kurt: I will go back to coaching Olympic style wrestling. I will be part of the wrestling company as a, I wouldn’t say road agent, name and face where I make appearances....meet with corporations.....meet with sponsors. Be more of a consultant for the company. You know, work from the office side and try to help the company from the corporate standpoint. I don’t know if I will ever be an agent. I mean, I love doing that. My greatest gift, my biggest blessing is structuring matches. I haven’t had a match in ten years that I didn’t structure on my own except for maybe a couple four ways or whatever, but one on one, I do my own matches. I am very good at it, but I don’t see myself being a road agent.
Speaking about your future, you tweeted about running for office.
Alex: Will we see Kurt Angle be the next governor?
Kurt: Maybe. You know, crazier things have happened. People want to pick on me and say, “How can Kurt Angle do that?”..... “He’s made mistakes.” I’ll tell you this, I will not pick a politician that has never made a mistake because if he claims he never made a mistake, he’s a liar. The guys who go through the hard times and made mistakes are the guys that learn from them and that end up being better at what they do. Whether it’s in office.....whether you are a politican or not. Yeah, I am considering running for office in the future. I am not going to say what side (he chuckles).....because that’s just be another big dispute. But, yeah I am. I have been considering it for the last four years. I will probably start out here and try to run for Mayor in Pittsburgh and go from there.
I asked for questions from our readers at WrestlingNewsWorld.com and this question was asked the most times. With that being said, I got to ask it.
Alex: Will you ever be back in a WWE ring again either on a limited contract basis or for one more match at Wrestlemania?
Kurt: I can’t answer that (he smiles). I will say that I signed a three year deal with TNA recently. They want to extend the deal. I probably will. But anything is possible. A lot of wrestlers like to retire at Mania. They like to go out with 80,000-100,000 fans watching you. I’m no different, but I like the way TNA treats me. I like the money they pay me. Put it this way, my schedule, which is a part-time schedule, Thank God, I’m making the same money in TNA, maybe more, than what I would make in WWE if I was on the same schedule, so why would I want to leave? It doesn’t make any sense.
We discussed WWE and TNA from past and present. We discussed your future, but how about wrestling’s future.
Alex: Username “Owen” wrote: “Who would you consider the future of pro wrestling? Which young wrestlers will carry the sport for ten to fifteen years?”
Kurt: Young wrestlers......I don’t know. Everyday is getting harder and harder and I have been watching a lot of young wrestlers. It seems like the art of pro wrestling is slowly dwindling away. Telling a story in the ring.....technique......wrestling isn’t about just going in the ring and doing a bunch of stunts. There’s got to be a real good story told to get the crowd emotionally involved. A lot of young wrestlers don’t understand that. When I look at young talent......I’m trying to think of young talent because when you are talking about the CM Punks, the Randy Ortons, and the AJ Styles..... they are all in their thirties. That is not young talent......doesn’t mean they are not new talent. There are guys....I’ll give you a guy that will be a huge star. He’s only 25 right now, but he will be a huge star in the next three or four years, whether it be in TNA or somewhere else and that’s Magnus. The guy is picking it up. He’s only 25 years old. He’s got an excellent look. He’s actually awesome in the ring. He’s learning. He’s from England, but he’s the kind of guy who gets in the ring, practices, and learns. When you have that kind of attitude and he wants to learn from the older wrestlers like me. When you have the young guys who go there and do a bunch of stunts that don’t mean anything just to try to get the crowd to chant “TNA”......your not going to have a very long career. You’re going to bang your body up and the fans aren’t going to get emotionally involved in you. Their going to pop for the big triple flip you did off the top rope onto the table on the floor and that’s all their going to care about and their going to want you to do something even worse the next time you go.
Alex: Username “mjledesma” wrote: “If there was one person who you would have a match with you but never did, who would it be?”
Kurt: Bret Hart. We called each other a million times about it to try to work it out.....try to turn it into a Street Fight....tried to do whatever we could, but Bret Hart knows he can’t have a Bret Hart style match with me. He wouldn’t have it any other way, so it’s just not possible. I was very hurt when he wrestled Vince McMahon, but when Bret explained to me that, “Kurt, I am not wrestling Vince; I’m beating the crap out of him.” It made sense to me because I asked Bret four years prior to that I wanted to wrestle him at Wrestlemania. He flat out said no. Now I realize why. He knew he couldn’t put on that Bret Hart preformance that he would want to against Kurt Angle. With Vince McMahon, it was just a straight up Street Fight. I think they even used kendo sticks, trashcans....and his family. It was a completely different match and now I understand that. And I understand why Bret did not want to wrestle me and I can respect that.
Kurt Angle, I really want to thank you for your time! It really means a lot. We at WrestliingNewsWorld.com really appreciate it. Do you have anything to add?
Kurt: No.....they were all good questions. I am glad that the fans gave you questions to ask. I’ve always been open and vocal with any media. I know TNA asked me whether I was going to do this today, and I thought they were actually going to make me cancel it but they didn’t. They said it’s okay just as long as we know you are doing it. I went by the guidelines that TNA wanted me to and I talked about TNA. I feel good about the interview. Thanks for coming and I hope the fans enjoyed it.
That concludes my exclusive interview with Kurt Angle, arguablly the best wrestler in the world and in history! For WrestlingNewsWorld.com.....I am Alex Barie with Kurt Angle!