Kurt Angle was a staple of WWE for years through the tail end of the ‘Attitude Era’ and the ‘Ruthless Agression’ era during the early 2000’s, winning multiple championships and headlining WrestleMania.
In 2006 he left and continued his career elsewhere, wrestling in TNA and around the world in the independent scene. It was long speculated whether he would return to WWE until 2017 when it was announced Angle would be inducted into that year’s Hall of Fame.
The night after Wrestlemania he was announced as General Manager of Raw by Vince McMahon, a position he held for the better part of two years. During this time he had multiple in-ring matches, competing in a handicap match at TLC with Shield members Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose taking on Braun Strowman, The Miz, Kane, and The Bar as well as being part of the Raw team at Survivor Series 2017.
Perhaps his most high profile match during this stint was when he teamed with Ronda Rousey on the UFC megastar’s wrestling debut at WrestleMania 34, facing Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
He was eventually retired by Baron Corbin at Wrestlemania 35 and many fans were understandably left wanting to more of Angle in the ring. Angle has revealed in an interview with Instinct Culture why he was kept to a GM role.
“It didn’t go the way I wanted it to. Vince McMahon had an idea for me, I think he was looking at me as a liability, someone that was addicted to painkillers, someone that broke his neck 5 times. So, I think Vince didn’t have the same idea I did. I wanted to get a title run when I came back.”
He went on to explain how it all came about and the discussions that took place:
“I wanted to have another title run and retire. And Vince McMahon wanted me inducted into the Hall of Fame and I told him, ‘Well, I am not done wrestling’ and he said, ‘That’s okay’ And I said, ‘Well, you know eventually I would like to wrestle,’ and he said ‘We’ll get there.’ So, after the Hall of Fame, that night, after I had my speech, Vince McMahon came up to me and said, ‘You’re going to be the GM of Raw starting tomorrow.’ And I was like ‘Well, I still wanna wrestle,’ he said, ‘We’ll get you there.’ So, I think he did everything he could to kind of push that off. And when it was time for me to wrestle, I was doing the GM job for a year and a half; I was inactive, not bumping, not wrestling. My body started getting arthritic, my neck tightened up, my back, my knees. Before I knew it, I got in the ring and I looked like an old man wrestling. And I knew that. Even though the company wanted me to continue to wrestle, I didn’t feel right about it for a couple reasons. One, I wanted to come back and have the title run, that wasn’t going to happen…”“
Angle was one of the wrestlers released during “Black Wednesday” in April. Since then, he has appeared in NXT to referee a match between Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher. He revealed he was offered a return as a manager for Riddle but turned it down in order to focus on his health and nutrition business.
Thank you to WrestleTalk for transcribing the quotes.