For long-time WWE fans, Kurt Angle’s return to in-ring competition at Sunday’s TLC pay-per-view was an emotional roller coaster. Even though he spent a hefty portion of his career wrestling in The Company That Shall Not Be Named Even If We Knew What To Call It Right Now, Angle teaming up with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose as a surrogate Roman Reigns still ended up being something special. Sure, we all got caught up in how endearingly goofy he looked in ersatz SWAT gear, and that wee bit of murder via garbage truck, but it was so much more to the Olympic Gold Medalist.
In a touching backstage video, Angle recounts how much it meant to him to be able to get in the ring as a WWE Superstar once again:
I always knew I was going to come back. I wanted to come back to [WWE] for the past four years. I think I had to prove a lot of things to Vince McMahon about my life. Do I have it together? Am I staying clean? Am I healthy enough? So yes, this is redemption for me.
Angle goes on to talk about performing for the WWE Universe, but it’s the idea of performing for his youngest children that moved him to tears:
The one thing I do think about are my kids, especially the three youngest ones. They’ve never seen Daddy perform. I have a six-year-old, a four-year-old, and a one-year-old. For the first time they’re going to see their dad not be the General Manager, or not, y’know, just sit there at home and play with them and take them to school. They’re gonna see Daddy in a different light, and for me…for me that’s special.
Do I feel bad for making all of those goofy dad jokes during the show after watching this? No. Am I suddenly finding myself with a weird and new emotional attachment to WWE’s premiere dad wrestler? Ugh, no, shut up, you’re feeling things!