Kurt Angle’s return to WWE has been one of the best stories of the year. After leaving the company in 2006, Angle returned triumphantly to headline the 2017 Hall of Fame ceremony, then he was named the General Manager of Raw the night after WrestleMania. In October, he finally had his first match back in WWE, as he teamed with The Shield’s Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose to beat five adversaries.
The other General Manager in WWE is Smackdown’s Daniel Bryan, who has spoken openly throughout the year about how he intends to wrestle again and last week said how he wants to face AJ Styles if WWE ever clears him.
When Angle got cleared to return at TLC, some fans wondered why he was allowed to wrestle, while Bryan can’t get cleared. Following an appearance at iPlay America in Freehold, New Jersey, Angle participated in a Q and A with fans covering a lot of topics. Here’s an excerpt from The Wrestling Estate, with Angle talking about his health status compared to Daniel Bryan after a fan wondered if Bryan’s neck was an issue.
“No, it’s not Daniel Bryan’s neck. No, it’s concussions. That’s a serious thing today. You obviously see in the NFL there are a lot of lawsuits being thrown back and forth. It’s a very dangerous thing. I talked to Daniel personally. I passed the physical. I haven’t had an issue with my neck in 12 years. I did break it four times in two years back between 2004 and 2006, but I’ve been fine since. You have a protocol you need to follow. The physical entails a certain amount of things and the most important is the concussion test.
“Daniel couldn’t pass it. He had 10 concussions that he knows of. That’s huge liability. Can Daniel eventually wrestle? I think he can, but it comes down to him passing the concussion test. I know in time your brain heals, so we don’t know how much damage has been done thus far. Is there a possibility of him wrestling? Maybe, I hope so. I feel bad that he took it personally that I was able to wrestle. He wasn’t mad or upset; he just couldn’t understand how they passed me but not him. But they were two different things.
“If I had a dream match that I wanted, it would be against Daniel Bryan. He’s awesome.”
Angle talking about breaking his neck four times, and how he kept working through it shows how determined he is — or at least was earlier in his career.
Fans asked why it took so long for Angle to return to the ring, and the Olympic hero had a reasonable answer, which also subtly reinforced the difference between his situation and Bryan’s. Angle also mentioned that he’ll likely be wrestling more in the future.
“Will I be wrestling more on then off in the future? Probably. It just took a little bit of time, and I don’t blame the company for doing what they did. I would have done the same thing. I’m glad Vince McMahon did that because I did want to prove to him that I could do what I’ve done for the past year. I think they’re going to put me in different programs with different athletes at different periods of time. At my age, I’m happy to do that. I don’t expect to be wrestling like Seth Rollins or AJ Styles where they’re wrestling four or five days a week. I’ve done that, you know? With the injuries and doing that, that’s the reason I left the company in the first place.”
As for Bryan, concussions are an issue because of the unknown since we don’t know how Bryan might feel after a match. His symptoms may prove to be gone later next year, but if he’s in a match and something bad happens then it will prove he shouldn’t have been back in the ring at all.