Fresh off his recent return to WWE television as the new general manager of Raw, Kurt Angle discussed two shoot incidents with Brock Lesnar and Daniel Puder that occurred during his wrestling career with WWE in a recent appearance on Chris Jericho's podcast, Talk Is Jericho.
Angle had a shoot fight with Lesnar during Lesnar's initial run with WWE, with it taking place inside a wrestling ring.
"I took him down once, he didn't take me down at all, and it went 15 minutes. That's pretty damn close," Angle reflected. "He had 90 pounds on me, but I probably took him down into the ropes a good seven or eight times, but he used the ropes to [say], 'hey, we're out of bounds' and that's OK."
A former Olympic gold medalist in wrestling before joining the professional ranks, Angle added that Lesnar, a former NCAA champion at Minnesota, "wasn't the wrestler that I was.
"Brock, as good of a wrestler he was, he wasn't that good of a wrestler. He was a big, athletic kid that knew one move, a double leg. And that's not a discredit to him, it's just a fact that he wasn't real technical as a wrestler. So I knew a lot of technique, and always knew how to wrestle big guys, especially guys like Brock, so it wasn't an issue to me. Brock never really came close to taking me down that day because I knew what I had to do. I knew how to create angles on him and I had to make sure my hips were low and I had to make sure that my hands were in front of me, so he couldn't wrap his strong-ass arms around my legs. I just knew how to keep him from scoring and I knew that I would eventually score on him and that's what happened."
Angle went on to praise the overall athleticism and talent of Lesnar.
"I mean, anything he touches, he can turn to gold," Angle said. "He's not just a beast. He's a great athlete. He's smart. If he would've stayed in the NFL, just another half a year, he would have been a 10-time All-Pro. He was UFC Champion when he just tried that. When he comes to WWE, he's WWE Champion when he tries that. He was NCAA Champion in wrestling. It's like he wins everything. And if Brock would've learned, if he would've went beyond NCAAs and learned at the Olympic level, there's no way in hell I would have beat Brock. He is that good of an athlete, but he just didn't know wrestling like I did."
Angle also talked about the incident with Puder, which occurred in the ring during an episode of Smackdown where Angle was going to shoot grapple each of the contestants. When it came Puder's turn, the former MMA fighter locked Angle in a kimura and the referee counted a hasty pin to break them up. Angle told Jericho he was suffering from a severe lack of upper body strength at the time.
"I couldn't do five push-ups," Angle recalled. "I broke my neck a couple of different times, as you know, and I was just getting over that and my strength in my upper body has suffered severely from those broken necks. Now, I broke my neck before the Olympics in 1996. That didn't do so much damage to my neck as when I started breaking it… I broke it four times in two and a half years in WWE. Yeah, it just kept happening over again."