Extensive Kurt Angle Interview

Kurt Angle conducted the first in a muli-part interview on his career with a publication in England called The Sun

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Kurt covers all the Angles


Hi Kurt, great to have you back wrestling again after your neck injury. Who do you rate as the best grappler in the business?

Honestly, when I'm healthy, I believe I'm the best in the world.

People call me the "new era Ric Flair" and to be compared to Ric makes me ecstatic.

I think Triple H, Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero are some of the best wrestlers around, and Randy Orton and Edge are coming on very well.

Then there are the big guys who are very impressive, like Undertaker and Big Show.

There are also guys that aren't usually mentioned, because they're not accepted main eventers, who are top workers - like Christian and Jamie Noble.

But when it comes down to it I don't think anybody has as much technique, credibility and charisma as I do – I have the whole package.

You've had so many memorable matches – which one stands out as your favourite?

My match with Chris Benoit at the Royal Rumble in 2003 was the best I've ever had.

When you watch it you realise that here are two guys who legitimately know how to wrestle.

We didn't have to throw a lot of punches, hit the ropes or do loads of high spots.

We wrestled in the middle of the ring for 40 minutes and had the fans biting their nails and on the edge of their seats.

A lot of people think you have to fly off the top rope and do crazy stuff to get people interested, but Chris and I simply wrestled and had the best match of the year and possibly one of the best matches ever.

I also loved my match with Eddie Guerrero at this year's SummerSlam - we hit the ropes once and I punched Eddie twice.

My whole psychology is different to other people's – I believe in wrestling, not high spots and fighting.

I believe if you were really wrestling someone then you're not going to run and fly around, you're going to go after the guy and pin him.

How have you been feeling since getting back in the ring?

I'm always going to have neck pain but I'm feeling better right now than I did before I injured my neck the first time.

I'm going to be around for a long while to come and I'm also going to be a lot smarter about what I do in the ring.

I'm not going to change my style drastically, but I am going to avoid anything unnecessary like taking chair shots to the head.

Guys like Eddie Guerrero and myself are starting to bring the wrestling back into entertainment, so you're seeing a lot more real moves and holds.

We got to a point in the WWE where everything was a high spot and everything was a finish. That style doesn't tell the fans a good story.

Now I think we're a lot more exciting to watch as we pick our moments to do those things and it works better.

So are you happy at the move away from TLC style high-risk matches to a more old school way of wrestling?

Yes, I think it should be that way. The WWE will never be completely old school, as we're always going to have some kind of edge, but as long as we stick to those roots we'll be OK.

Put it this way, 15 years ago there weren't 10 guys out with neck injuries and there's a reason for that.

We do things in the ring that most bodies aren't capable of doing. Even in American football they don't have as many neck injuries as we do.

So we need to look back and ask: "Why is this happening and what we can do to change things?"

When Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock were on top we were just getting to that point where things started getting out of hand.

Then Steve had to get the first neck surgery. Before then, business was great and people weren't getting those injuries.

But I think what happened was a lot of the guys here at the time felt that they had to prove themselves, even me, and we were all taking risks.

I'll give you an example. I had a cage match with Chris Benoit two and a half years ago. In that bout I did a moonsault off the top of the cage and Chris did his flying head butt from up there too.

He also hit me with a German suplex from the top rope right onto the back of my head. That was worse than anything and when I watch the match back I cringe. That sort of match can end someone's career and maybe even their life.

I can't believe I did that and you'll never see me do it again - I rob the fans when I'm out with an injury.

When you were injured between WrestleMania and SummerSlam you were kept on screen as Smackdown's general manager – did you enjoy that role?

No, I didn't like anything about my job!

I know Vince McMahon wanted to keep me on TV – as I have a strong character – but there was not one thing I enjoyed about being general manager of Smackdown.

They gave me a character where I was supposed to be very angry with everybody, and I felt I was painted into a corner where I didn't have many dimensions.

My forte is being a mixture of funny, intense and serious, and I wasn't able to portray all those things as general manager.

I felt we could have had a lot more fun by having John Cena and Eddie Guerrero making a fool out of me and being able to play off of that.

I understand Vince was trying to protect me but at the same time I felt it meant I wasn't giving fans the best of what I could do.

My frustration also had a lot to do with watching all the guys bust their butts and feeling like I wasn't contributing the way I wanted to because I couldn't wrestle.

If Vince asked me to be general manager again I'd probably say no.

You beat Eddie at SummerSlam and in a two out of three falls match on Smackdown – does that mean your feud is now over?

With Eddie it will never be over! I think Angle v Guerrero is a match people will always want to see.

Eddie and I have great chemistry and respect, and also something special that goes beyond that.

I think what makes our matches so special is that there's a competitive edge between us.

The TV storyline about 'who is the better wrestler' sounds fake, but we took our real life quarrel and it turned it into an angle.

For us it's not about who wins the most matches, but who really is the best wrestler in the whole world.

In most fans eyes, and ours, Raw is currently a better show than Smackdown. What can your team do to turn the tide back the other way?

I think we are already getting better than Raw, it's just that right now they have more notoriety names.

But does Raw have better wrestlers – hell no!

Guys like John Cena, Luther Reigns, Mark Jindrak and Charlie Haas are really going to start stepping up for us and Booker T is on the verge of superstar status.

We only have one Kurt Angle, one Undertaker and one Eddie Guerrero – so it's our job to take these guys and make stars out of them.

Who do you want to face at WrestleMania 21?

I would love to do a programme with The Undertaker, as we haven't done anything solid for about three years.

I know the fans want to see new guys coming in – and Smackdown is all about creating new superstars for them to cheer or boo – so Undertaker and I will do our share of making other wrestlers into stars.

But I think at an event like WrestleMania it should be the two biggest names going at it.

And right now the two people on the top of their games are me and The Undertaker, so I'd like to face him and he feels the same way.

Undertaker has competed at 12 WrestleManias and I think what he wants now is a classic match that he can look back on and say, "I did it". I honestly believe in my heart that I can give him that kind of match.

I know he's undefeated at Mania but I don't lie down for anybody!

You had a classic feud with fellow amateur wrestler turned WWE champion Brock Lesnar. What was he like to work with and what are your feelings about him turning his back on wrestling to try out for the NFL?

Brock adjusted to wrestling very quickly, although he doesn't know his own strength. He actually injured my neck twice!

Once was at No Way Out last year when he threw me backwards into the turnbuckle and the second time was with a chair shot to the head.

Although Brock took care of his opponents he was a monster, and that's why I think he'll always be successful in whatever he does.

He'll do well in American football, although I also think he'll come back to the WWE some day.

It hurt when Brock left as we were best friends and, at that point, we were also carrying the company.

It seemed like Raw was getting more of the talent and Smackdown had all the young guys, with Brock and I holding things together along with Big Show and Undertaker.

Then I got hurt, Brock quit and Show got injured and I thought, "oh no, we're in trouble now".

However I also wanted Brock to be happy and he wasn't. But I think one day he'll remember that old saying – "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone".

We call each other periodically, but we've not spoken since he got cut from the Minnesota Vikings football team as I figured I should give him some space.

I'm sure other teams are interested in him, although he'll have to wait until next year, and if he's smart he'll go and play football in Europe.

Or if he was smarter he'd come back to the WWE!

Finally, can you settle a long running argument between The LilsBoys – are they your real gold medals we see on WWE TV every week?

No, I don't use my real gold medals. They're on display in my office.

I have taken them on the road in the past, but one time I had them stolen and I've used replica medals since.

The people who took them thought they were stealing a bag full of T-shirts, but when they realised my medals were in there they brought them back.

Great interview!

nice interview

Good stuff, and Angle is correct regarding Christian and Noble.

I remember in the early days Angle used his real gold medal with the green "Atlanta 1996" ribbon on it. I always thought it was a bit risky to have his real medal out in the open.

Great interview.

And LOL @ "I know he's undefeated at Mania but I don't lie down for anybody!"

thnx McCandy

great interview

he'll be retired or all but within 2 yrs. his neck is way more injured than he's letting on (imo). You can tell just watching the way he moves, let alone wrestles. i hope im wrong though.

He moves and wrestles as good as and/or better than anyone else in the business imo.