Kurt Angle recently on appeared on The World According To Wrestling podcast in one of his most open and candid interviews in recent years. He talked a number of topics including a possible return to WWE - which he believes will happen, why he left WWE in 2006, drug problems, concussions and more.
Below are excerpts from the interview or you can listen to the audio on the player below:
On returning to WWE:
Well, for one, I don’t want to go back right now. Two, between 2008 and 2013, I got four DUIs. As a publicly traded company, it doesn’t matter if you’re Kurt Angle, Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Undertaker, when you get involved in that kind of trouble consistently, that’s the last thing they need. So when I did try and go back a year and a half ago, I think they were thinking “Let’s see how he pans out, let’s see if he can stay clean, let’s see if he got his shit together” so I think that’s part of it. I don’t blame them for that. I actually knew ahead of time that they were most likely going to say no. And I knew it was because of my own actions. But being clean now for three years and abiding by what I have to, I know that there will come a time where I will go back.
On why he left WWE in 2006:
There are a lot of reasons. The main reason was the work schedule. I was probably on the road over 300 days a year. I was getting injured quite a bit. I did have a problem with painkillers. When they brought me into ECW, I felt like it was a demotion. Even though it wasn’t. I don’t think they planned it to be. They didn’t mean to, but they set that company up to fail. And I felt like I was part of it.
On the drug problems in wrestling’s past:
The whole drug thing – and I want you to make sure you print or say this – is not the WWE’s fault. You have to remember that we, as wrestlers, we know what we are getting into. Not only that, but the last thing that the company [WWE] wants is someone getting hooked on pills. They even have a drug programme and they have a policy and they do drug testing. I just think that we are all responsible. We are independent contractors and you’re responsible for your own actions.
I’ve talked about it publicly to help other people. I do a lot of speaking at rehab centers and stuff. But I know – as a public traded company – the best thing they need to do is make sure their talent is clean, for one, and healthy, for two.
On how WWE deals with concussions and injuries now:
It was different back then. Now, they have to abide by what the doctors tell them. When I got my neck surgery, I don’t even remember getting cleared to wrestle, I just came back. So the difference between now and then is huge and I have to commend the WWE because I think they are doing the right thing now. I feel bad for Daniel Bryan, but I think in the best thing is to abide by what the doctors say and that a straight up policy in the WWE should be “we’re going to do what we are told by the professionals and if you’re not cleared to wrestle, you can’t wrestle.” It wasn’t always like that but it is now and I think that that’s the right way to go.
On being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame one day:
Honestly? It’s not that important. I mean if they don’t induct me, that’s not going to kill me. To be honest with you, I would find it very hard to believe that they are not going to [laughs] especially with my talent, but it will come. Either way, I’m good with it. You have to remember that not only did I have those troubles in the past but I left the company high and dry. Now, I did it for my own reasons and I did it for health reasons. And I’m glad I did it because I don’t know where Kurt Angle would be right now if I had’ve stayed. So I did the right thing. And whether they understand that or not is up to them but the thing is I know that a lot of fans want me to go back and finish up where I started. And I think that just about every wrestler has been able to do that. I expect it to happen. For me, I don’t want to do it this year. I’m not even sure if they want to do it this year. But eventually it’s going to happen.
On Jason Jordan and Chad Gable:
For me to go back and, if I do go back I’d love to be able to wrestle, but I know I can’t do it full time. I’m 47 years-old. And that’s why those guys would be perfect as my team, like a Team Angle, because they could do the wrestling for me until the big one comes. So it would be kind of cool to have that. I’m not going to say those guys are going to be my guys, but they’re almost ready to come up – if not they are ready. I’ve watched them wrestle and they’re really good. It would be really cool to have a new Team Angle. I could do the big matches; the Summerslams and the Wrestlemanias. I think that would be a good mix. And it would also give them a great rub, a rub that they need. We’ll see if we do something like that, I don’t know if it’s on the cards, but you never know.