Kurt Angle reveals that he knew he was on another level in wrestling after his 2003 WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble event against Chris Benoit (never mentioned by name) when Triple H said that that was the best match he’d ever seen.
Kurt Angle entered WWE in 1999 and in less than twelve months' time, he had already won the Intercontinental, European, and WWE Championships. Despite this, Angle was convinced early on in his career that he would be done with wrestling after five years.
Speaking with Stone Cold Steve Austin on the latest episode of Broken Skull Sessions on the WWE Network, Kurt Angle opened up about feeling like a locker room leader following his move to the SmackDown roster in 2002.
"Main eventing for several years by that point. Well, a few years anyway, I started feeling like I need to share my advice because I would say about my third year, 2003, I had this Cage Match and then I had this [championship match against Chris Benoit] at the Royal Rumble and I remember when I got done with the match, I went to the back and Triple H came up to me and said, 'Listen, man, you just raised the bar. You just had the best match I ever saw.'," Kurt recalled. "I'm thinking, wow, you know, hearing it from him, or [Austin], or 'Taker would, I was like, 'this is great.' So he's basically telling me, listen, you're one of the best in the business and the only been in three years. It was a big compliment to me and I thought, I'm on my way. I got something special."
Kurt Angle then reminisced on telling Steve Austin early on in his career that he was looking for a quick exit after five years and they shared a laugh about how correct Austin wound up becoming about the wrestling bug infecting the former Olympic gold medalist.
"I told you a long time ago, I said, 'I'm going to be in the business five years.' You said, 'you're full of shit. You're going to stay in it for twenty.' I did, I stayed in for twenty! [laughs] But, I really thought I was going to leave in five years when I started. But once I got hooked and addicted, it was like, I ain't ever leaving this thing. This is -- the money's great, it's fun. Like, why would I want to quit?"
Kurt Angle would remain an active wrestler, mostly in TNA Wrestling, up until retiring to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017. After that, he would wrestle sporadically before having his final match at WrestleMania 35 in 2019 where he lost to Baron Corbin.
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