4-time WWE Champion, 5-time TNA Champion, actor, and winner of an Olympic Gold Medal with a broken freakin’ neck, Kurt Angle has done it all. Earlier this month at TNA’s BaseBrawl in Bowie, Maryland, Angle sat down with Chad Dukes to discuss his potential MMA future, his movie career, TNA talents, Funny or Die, and some very interesting comments about smaller talent in the heavyweight title picture.
After discussing Angle’s role in the underrated film Warrior as a Fedor-like MMA fighter, Dukes asked Angle about if he still had his MMA aspirations. Kurt was surprisingly open and honest about his contract negotiations and his MMA future.
Angle: The last time I talked was two and a half years ago with Dana White, I took the UFC physical. We just couldn’t come to terms on a starting time. I wanted it 3-6 months, Dana needed me in four and a half weeks and I understand he wanted me to be ready and he needed me at that point and it just wasn’t gonna work out.
Dukes: Did they talk opponent with you at all?
Angle: Well, they wanted me to be on Real FIghter (perhaps he meant Ultimate Fighter?-LT) but I told them I wouldn’t do it for free. So he came up with a very nice deal, that being I would get paid very well for that, thank god, and a 6 fight deal. I didn’t want to go in there half prepared. I wanted to go in there full blown. I’m 43 now, I tried out for the Olympics or I was going to and I got injured five different times last year. So my body’s just not holding up the way I want it to so I don’t think it’s going to be a possibility.
With the diverse talents, both young and old in TNA, Angle is an important part of making the young stars of TNA into the superstars of the future. Since his latter days in World Wrestling Entertainment, Angle was the go-to guy to help introduce or get guys over, new talents with the television audience: Brock Lesnar, John Cena, the list goes on. This trend continued into his TNA career and is something Angle takes pride in.
I really enjoyed it, I took it as a compliment. At TNA they did the same thing. They’d bring in somebody like the Pope or Mr. Anderson or whoever else that was coming in that was coming from WWE or had somewhat of a name, the first program they’d do would be with me. I’ve always enjoyed that it’s a good challenge and Desmond Wolfe was another one that came from Ring of Honor. So I like that and I know that the company has faith in me. Both WWE did and TNA had the faith in me to make the guys look as good as I could.
A hot button issue in professional wrestling has always been the believability of a smaller wrestler being the Heavyweight Champion of the World. Angle’s former Main Event Mafia partner Kevin Nash questioned the idea a few months back on Twitter. However, Kurt Angle shot this idea down quickly but he had some interesting ideas as to why promoters could be reluctant to put the strap on a sub 6-foot athlete.
No. I think Austin Aries as champion, I think he deserves it, he’s an awesome talent. Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero, unfortunately their tragedies really damaged the ability for smaller guys to step up and become champions. I don’t know why but I think they were just unfortunate. I don’t think it was because of their size, I think they were just terrible tragedies that happened with both those families and it’s gotten a little bit of a bad reputation now, the under 6 foot club and i don’t think it should be that way. I think any size is a good size.
Be sure to check out the whole interview to hear Angle talk more about the mix of talent in TNA, RVD and the Funny or Die video, and more. Impact Wrestling currently airs LIVE on Thursday nights at 8pm ET on Spike TV. Thanks to Kurt Angle for his time.
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