Kurt Angle Interview: expresses concern with TNA’s booking, talks time off for injuries, talent wishlist plus more!

Kurt Angle

Kurt Angle

Kurt Angle opened up about his concerns with the TNA booking in an interview with Scott Fishman of the Miami Herald, he also discussed how he needed more time offer to heal from injuries plus his wishlist of talent he’d like to see in TNA.  I’ve included the full interview here for your perusal, enjoy!

Beginning with last year’s Bound for Glory pay-per-view against Matt Morgan, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling star Kurt Angle works to help elevate the company’s rising stars.

From Amazing Red and Desmond Wolfe to a recent bout with Kazarian at TNA’s pay-per-view Slammiversary, the Olympic gold medalist is testing their mettle.

“I’m a perfectionist; so I’d call the match with Kaz an eight out of 10,” said Angle, minutes following the exciting show opener he had against the talented Californian.

“Kaz has really lifted his game. He is a great athlete. However, he is just really young. He has a lot to learn, but he is going to be a big star for TNA in the future.

“It was one of those things where it was the teacher wrestling the student, and the teacher was responsible for getting the student elevated. Kaz rose to the occasion. I give him a lot of credit.”

The veteran has taken the bull by the horns in his teaching role. For Angle, it’s about bringing the best out of everyone he’s in the ring with and vice versa.

“To me, it’s a treat,” Angle said.

“Not a lot of fans and talent themselves know how good these guys are. People think it’s only me. It’s not just me. These guys don’t know how good they are. Sometimes it takes a wrestler of my caliber to get them to say, `Wait a minute. If I can do that with Kurt Angle, I could probably do that with someone else.’

“I think that is really cool, but I can’t take all the credit for the guys wrestling as well as they are doing. This whole Top 10 thing is to introduce me to the younger wrestlers and to elevate them.”

With a little over a year left on his contract, Angle eyes a long term future with TNA but will look to cut his schedule in the coming years. Being the reliable workhorse has taken a tremendous toll on his body. Recently the grappler received a month off after an incredibly physical series of matches with Mr. Anderson.

“Thank God they gave me a month off,” he said.

“I haven’t had time off since it seems I was about 5. I was training for the Olympics and then went into pro wrestling. I was wrestling every week. TNA, thank God, gave me a month off to recharge my batteries.

“I would have preferred two or three to be honest with you because I keep getting injured. My shoulder popped out. I have an injured cartilage in my ribs. It comes with age. I don’t expect to be 100 percent all the time. I’m smart enough to work around it and make the match look really good.

“It was one of those things where 3 ½ years straight, and you didn’t really take any time off. I didn’t really spend a lot of time with my family.

“At the same time I felt a huge gigantic responsibility to helping TNA get more popular and elevate them. I was doing overseas tours. I did a lot of media. I was pretty much the media guy for two, three years.

“So even if I wasn’t wrestling three or four days a week, the other two or three were on the road doing something for TNA. They pay me really well, and I earn my money.”

Since his debut in 2006, the Pittsburgh native has been one of the big names to help TNA grow on a national and international level. He hopes the promotion can continue its efforts to be the best.

“I’d like for TNA to be competitive,” Angle said. “I like to say repetitive, meaning sticking with a storyline and seeing it through.

“I like them to look at an individual and say all or nothing. In other words, push him to the moon or don’t push them at all. No halfway. Let’s ride them as far as you can ride them, and then maybe get somebody else.

“Once they rise to stardom, God willing, then maybe we can do another one as well. It’s going to take a little time. We need to follow through with our characters.

“We were getting there with AJ Styles. He was just at that elite status. He was very close. Then we kind of pulled the title off. AJ, in my mind, still is the best wrestler today. His championship run was a little short.”

One of the main aspects of the company Angle relishes is the opportunity to let go and explore his creativity in the ring.

“I love TNA,” he said.

“I have the freedom to do what I want to do. I come up with my own matches, my own finishes. I get to use my imagination. I get to use the power of my mind and what God blessed me with. I have the gift of putting matches together, creating matches in my head and being able to portray that and do what I thought.

“In the other company [WWE], I’m not sure if I would have the trust that TNA has in me. From the day I started with Stone Cold Steve Austin, I started structuring my own matches with the help of [WWE road agent] Pat Patterson. I learned from The Rock, Undertaker, Triple H and Shawn Michaels.

“Then it just came into my head. Before I knew it, my matches with guys like Eddy [Guerrero] and John Cena, they became my own finishes with a little touch from Pat Patterson and [former WWE road agent and current WWE Executive Vice President of Talent Relations] John Laurinaitis. Now it’s all me. I love that responsibility because when it comes to having a match at the pay-per-view, I’m the one who is expected to steal the show.”

Angle proved he can do that, with more than a decade in the business. Whether it’s as a heel or babyface, he earned the respect of his peers and fans with his awe-inspiring performances.

“I love being the good guy. I’m true to my soul. I’m just me,” Angle said. “When I’m a heel, I think fans enjoy it more. I’m a little funnier or a little meaner and little more of a jerk. People get a kick out of it.

“If I had the rights to the song in WWE, I’d still be using it. The `You Suck’ in the song was so good, so perfect. Fans still chant it. Either way, they still show their respect. For some strange reason, they think I’m the greatest wrestler who ever lived and I’ve only been wrestling for 11 years.

“I can’t be considered that when you have guys like Ric Flair, Sting, Hulk Hogan and Undertaker, who have been around for 20 something years. That’s when you can be considered great. I think you have to put your time in.”

As the consummate athlete looks forward, he sees a number of free agents TNA can possibly land.

“I hear rumors about Batista. I don’t know if there is any truth to it, but I’d love to have him here,” Angle said.

“I think Batista is an incredible wrestler. I think he has improved more than any wrestler in the past three years. I like to see some younger fresh talent from Ring of Honor. Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas, I’ve been knocking on the door for them for probably a year now.

“I’d love to bring back Team Angle, from a babyface perspective first. Then we could spread off. We never really had an ending. We just split off, when I got injured. They are two really solid wrestlers. They’ve both been wrestling for over 10 years. If anything, they could help elevate these younger guys.”

• TNA’s Victory Road pay-per-view is 8 p.m. Sunday, July 11 at Universal Studios Orlando. There are fan packages available for the weekend at tnawrestling.com.


About Ray Mullan
Ray Mullan is a longtime wrestling fan and Owner/Editor of TNA UK . Also a contributing writer to a number of other online wrestling media including 1Wrestling.com, Wrestle Zone UK & Lords of Pain.

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