Is Kurt Angle actually retired from in-ring competition, as he recently claimed to be in a video posted by TNA Impact? Only time will tell, but the lingering promise of retirement hasn’t stopped him from dishing out some interesting bits of knowledge from his time with WWE. While on tour with TNA in the United Kingdom, Angle hosted Q&A sessions in several English cities late last month. Thanks to Wrestling Inc., we’re finally hearing some of the behind-the-scenes wisdom he dropped. He discussed a wide range of topics, but I can’t help but think that the most interesting bit was regarding his WWE Championship reign in late 2001. Basically, Angle admits he won the title from Stone Cold Steve Austin because America needed a hero after 9/11.
…He went on to explain that he was never supposed to get the title at that point in his career, but due to 9/11, he felt that people needed an American symbol and as he was the American Hero, he felt he could do it… he called Vince McMahon and asked him if he thought it was a good idea if he won the title. After the conversation, he said that Vince said, “I’m fine with it, but you need to talk to Stone Cold and get him to agree.” He said he was a little nervous asking Austin, but when he called him up, Austin immediately agreed and said it was a good idea. This led to Kurt winning the title at Unforgiven, but there was no long term storyline plan for him to be the champion and he lost the belt two weeks later.
As if the Invasion storyline wasn’t already complex enough, right? It harkens back to Hulk Hogan wiping the floor with Sgt. Slaughter after he defected, except Hogan kept the title considerably longer and Stone Cold Steve Austin never served under Saddam Hussein. Anyway, Angle also addressed his prior claim that he was previously singled out as the man to end The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak. Things never really got past the idea phase:
…he answered, “No, it was never really going to happen.” He said that Undertaker did personally talk to him about having a WrestleMania match with him when Angle was the WWE Champion and his initial thought was, “Well, Vince doesn’t want you to lose, but he also doesn’t want you to win the belt, so what would we do?” to which Taker replied, “Well, you would beat me.” He said that it was pretty inspiring to be considered by The Undertaker to end the streak, but he always knew that Vince would never go for it.
On a personal level, I always try to keep my ear to the ground for Kurt Angle news. He’s the first pro wrestler I ever met, and even if he’s hanging up the boots soon, I can only hope he continues to share his wealth of knowledge.