Wrestling legend Kurt Angle was announced as the first member of the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame class Monday night. Since he left WWE in 2006, fans have been hoping for a big return, and Monday’s announcement sent the rumor mills into overtime.
Will he be a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble? Will he sign with Raw or Smackdown? Is he going to have one last match at WrestleMania?
He won’t say for sure, but he’s telling us one thing: If he does get to have one more match, he only wants one man to be his opponent – WWE Champion AJ Styles. The two had several epic feuds during their years in TNA, and know each others’ in-ring style extremely well.
After the Hall of Fame announcement, Angle spoke to Lilian Garcia of AfterBuzz TV about the possibility:
“I wrestled AJ in TNA, and I can tell you that he is every bit as good as Shawn Michaels. The thing with AL is – and I want everybody to realize this – you don’t have to do anything with him. He does all the work. So it’s an easy match for you. He flies around the ring. He does all the bumping. AJ is a special individual where you can go in that ring and literally just stand in the middle of the ring and he does everything for you. I have never had a match with anybody that’s been so easy, and every time I worked with him it was a five-star match. So AJ’s that kind of talent. He only comes around once in a lifetime, so I’d really love to shake it up with him one more time if I could.”
Angle went on to discuss his legacy, and his life after wrestling:
“I’m in a great place in my life. I talk to people and they’re like, ‘Hey, why don’t you come back and wrestle?’ No, no, I’m in a good place right now. I’m ok with not being Kurt Angle the wrestler anymore. I’m just happy with being who I am., I think that people don’t know how to just accept who they are, and be happy with who they are.”
Wise words indeed. It’s great to hear him sounding so healthy and content, especially after his years spent battling painkiller addiction. Repeated neck injuries sent him spiraling into a dark place to deal with the agonizing pain – both physical and mental.
“I broke my neck four times in two and a half years. I just got more and more depressed. It was like, why is this happening to me? I didn’t want to feel the pain anymore. I felt like my career was being taken away from me.”
Given the injuries and resulting issues wrestling has caused him in the past, perhaps it’s best if Angle hangs up his wrestling boots for good. He could be a huge addition to the commentary or on-screen administrative teams, if he wanted to continue to be a part of the business.
Either way, we won’t have to wait long to find out. The WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony takes place the night before WrestleMania. (The 2017 class is rumored to also include William Regal, Diamond Dallas Page, and Rick Rude.)
What do you hope to see in the next chapter of Angle’s storied career? Tell us in the comment section below!