kurt angle
Photo Credit: Bill Pritchard

Kurt Angle On His Night In The ECW Arena, Choosing TNA Over UFC

Kurt Angle was last seen on wrestling TV refereeing the Fight Pit in NXT. According to his words in a recent interview with PWInsider, it seems that there were plans for him in the company beyond that match as a manager (likely for Matt Riddle on the main roster), but he chose to decline the invitation instead. “…the money, it just…it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t going to manage somebody for the amount of money they wanted to give me.”

Angle has always made interesting choices in his career. He famously walked away from being one of the centerpieces of the rebuilt WWECW to try his luck in TNA’s Impact Zone, but that wasn’t the only place he could have landed when he left WWE the first time. Angle had talked with UFC about coming in several times, including before he started wrestling, but he was serious about it at that point.


I did revisit it in 2006, and Dana White flew me out there and we got a deal structured and he was great, he was an awesome individual, he offered me great money, and I just signed with TNA and I had to make a decision, Dana said “You can’t do both,” because I was going to try and do both, I was going to TNA part-time and UFC, and I just signed a deal with Dixie and I didn’t want to let her down, so I stuck with TNA.

I’m glad I did it because I wouldn’t have done very well. I was only lying to myself if I thought I was going to be able to compete at that level with the way my neck was and keep my mind, I broke my neck 3 more times after 2003 so it was even that much worse.

Angle seemed dedicated to getting into some form of sports entertainment after winning his gold medal, even as his agent was trying to push him into broadcasting. He even made a famous appearance in his hometown for ECW, but he didn’t like what he saw.

Shane Douglas called me, I didn’t even know who Shane was. He called me and said, “Hey Kurt, I’m Shane Douglas, I’m in ECW, I’m from Pittsburgh, from your hometown, um, we have a new wrestling company that is structured more like amateur wrestling, more like your sport than WWE and [laughs].” So he sucked me in that day, this is a new pro wrestling that was mirrored from amateur wrestling. So I thought I was going to a wrestling meet.

…as the night went on, everybody kept coming out with weapons, it wasn’t even wrestling, it was all gimmicks, you know – kendo sticks, chairs, ladders, crucifixes, that was the one that got me, you know, when Raven crucifixed Sandman up on the cross I was like “I need to leave [laughs]. This is not good for me.” And I talked to Paul Heyman, and Paul said he didn’t know about the crucifix under the ring, which I knew was, you know, I knew he was BS’ing me.

For more from Kurt, including his thoughts on current day WWE and why he feels Vince McMahon is making the right business decisions, be sure to check out the full interview at PWInsider.

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