2017 WWE Hall of Fame inductee Kurt Angle was a guest on Off The Top Rope with Jonathan Coachman on ESPN last night.
He spoke about how he got the news of his Hall of Fame nod. Triple H called him out of the blue, and as Angle puts it: "I was blown away. I didn't know it was going to happen this soon; I was really surprised and very honored."
He spoke about "getting banged up" and "getting into a rut with painkillers," and that leading to his departure from WWE in 2006. "I just needed to get away .. And I felt like I was a liability to Vince McMahon and it wasn't fair to (him) and it wasn't fair to me. ,,, I really wish I didn't depart, I really wanted to stay, but my body just wasn't holding up at that point in time and I just knew it was probably the right thing for me to leave." But there was never any animosity between himself and Vince, he said, even though they didn't speak for years after he left. "We have a great relationship.... It was sort of a mutual departing; 'you go your way, I will go mine, we had a lot of fun.' And we did have a lot of fun. It was a great experience. It was the best time of my life, and I do miss it, but being inducted into the hall of fame is the best thing I could ask for right now."
Coachman then brought up how Angle "appeared for a variety of different promotions" which is a funny way of saying "TNA Impact Wrestling," but we'll let it slide. Angle talked about how when he started in the WWE in 1999, he "didn't really know what I was doing for a couple years," and that he got a lot better as a professional in the ten years away from the company. "I think I was more in my prime in those years than I was prior."
Coachman asked Angle if he had one particular match in WWE that he could point to as his favorite, and after mentioning the matches he had at Wrestlemania vs Shawn Michaels and Brock Lesnar, he also brought up another match from his resume that people might have forgotten: "The match I had with Undertaker at No Way Out in 2006 was every bit as good as those (Mania) matches." Angle also brought up a regret that still haunts him--he had feuds with guys like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H and The Rock before he was ready. "I wrestled them early in my career, so I wasn't as good as I was the last few years in WWE."
Coachman, for one, thinks that's all poppycock. He sent out a Tweet when the news broke about Angle's HOF selection which you can see here:
Angle said he saw the Tweet, and it was evident that he was humbled by it.
“It’s an honor, and I’m not gonna complain about it, but I will tell you this: It’s all opinions,” Angle said, making sure to point out that Coachman’s opinion “means a lot” to him, “but there are a lot of people out there who think that Triple H or Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock or even John Cena is the greatest of all time. Do I believe I’m the greatest of all time? No. I look at guys like Shawn Michaels that really paved the way for me, and being in the ring with him, he showed me what it’s all about, especially wrestling someone for the first time. Shawn and I wrestled our first time at Wrestlemania. I think that shows how good both of us really are, but I wish I could have wrestled these guys later on in my career, 2007,-8,-9,-10,-11, when I was really in my prime. Guys like AJ Styles that I wrestled in my prime: I wish people could see those matches, those were incredible matches.”
He's right. They were.
Coachman concluded the interview by asking Kurt if we might seem him wrestle again in a WWE ring. Angle, who mentioned that he "wasn't planning on retiring" earlier in the interview, said he wasn't sure about one (or several) more match(es), but if the opportunity came along, he wouldn't say no.
“I cannot say. Right now, I’m only focused on the Hall of Fame, I can’t say what I’m going to do after that. Would I like to, eventually? Yes, but right now, I’m just going to enjoy this Hall of Fame induction and go from there.”
We'd all like you to go back into the ring from there, Kurt, for one more match. At least.
Angle also spoke about his painkiller addiction and recovery in more detail. You can watch the entire interview in the videos below.