Kurt did not do this for vengeance; he did this because it was best for Kurt and his family. I think Kurt went to Vince, saying his body was hurt and his family life was in shambles, to find his way out. I am certain that Kurt had his mind on TNA way before he ever left WWE. So when Kurt went to Vince to cut himself lose the plan was already in motion. This was nothing new to WWE as Christian Cage made a quick exit after not renewing his contract. Christian then appeared very shortly after in TNA.
Kurt Angle signing with TNA was the best thing for him. He doesn't have to work the long WWE schedule, he can spend quality time with his family, and it will help keep his career strong and alive. For quite some time Angle has had a lot of personal issues at home. By wrestling and appearing at TNA shows twice a month it will give Kurt the enough time to rebuild his body and mind. He will appear at Bound for Glory but will not wrestle. He will more than likely have promos on Impact shows then wrestle on ppv for a while. This will also keep Kurt's career afloat and give it a fresh start. WWE was driving Kurt's career in the ground like so many others (Shelton Benjamin). Kurt will lead a revolution in pro "WRESTLING!!!" now as the flag ship of TNA.
There has been a lot of speculation that this whole thing is a work by WWE and Angle. Based on factual evidence I will try to disprove this theory. As many of you may know former ECW ref John 'Pee Wee' Moore has been shooting on WWE very hard. He has been posting in his columns that Kurt would go to TNA, Johnny Ace would be fired and would go to TNA, and Jarrett would go back to WWE after being released by TNA. Where all these rumors came from is anyone guess, but it was pretty clear that Kurt wanted out of WWE because of the ECW situation. Vince has no secret deal with TNA with trading talent. Yes, ECW and WWE had a sort of talent trading thing going on back in the day but not now with TNA. If that were the case why wouldn't AJ Styles be in WWE already and why isn't Monty Brown is on his way to WWE right now?
Believe me folks Kurt Angle's body is beat up and torn. Now that he is in TNA, he has his chance to keep wrestling, keep his family, and keep his health. I don't think TNA would have signed him if he was on his deathbed but he is hurt and now he has time to heal. WWE drove Kurt Angle away into the hands of TNA and don't be surprised to see it again.
Ralph wrote : First off, who is Kurt Angle to cry about being held back. He was in WWE less then a year and already had the Intercontanantal, European and WWE Championship...Not to mention all the other title reigns over the years. What I don't get is how kurt says he was unhappy with being put in ECW. But in an article I read about his unjury in a match against RVD at a ECW house show in an ariginal ECW Venue with the original ECW fans. He said he finished the match because he did not wanna let down the ECW fans down because they were the best fans he ever wrestled in front of and that they were what carried him through the match. Also saying he never got a crowd reaction like that from any WWE fans. And he has the nerve to feel insulted by being put in ECW. Lets not forget that he originally wanted to go to ECW before WWF anyway. Anybody that saw the "Rise and fall of ECW" will now that. ECW may not be what it was years ago. But it will always be about the wrestling. And that is why they put angle there. because he was amazing...And now it's off to TNA aka WCW 2. Another company trying to make it big of somthing WWE or even ECW created. I'm sure agnle is gonna become champ fast. But let's see how he likes working for a company ran by jarret and his daddy...He'll come crawling back on his knees to Vince just like everybody else does...TNA is a sinking ship. That's why I gave up on it just after 4 months. i felt like i was watching a repeat every single week...TNA is what would happen if WCW tried to be ECW...Crap...People can say ECW is nothing like what it used to be. But we'll see what happens after there return to PPV this december....I guarentee a lot of people will change there minds...I have faith in ECW. Just like i had faith they would one day come back...and i was right about that too...5 years of ECW chants after the company folded showed that it never really died...Just took a long vacation...
Kurt Angle's Title History in WWE
WWF European title
WWF Intercontinental title
WWF King of The Ring 2000
WWF Heavyweight title - 3 Times
WCW World Heavyweight title
WWF Hardcore title
WCW United States title
WWE Tag Team titles
WWE Undisputed title
(WWE) World Heavyweight title
Does that look like a man that was held back by WWE? I didn't think so...
TNA doesen't have that many titles for kurt to win...So enjoy loosing to Good ole Double J every week in the Impact Zone, cuz I will make sure not to watch it...
Joe A. wrote : Mr. Emanuel how can you say Kurt Angle was misused? He's been champion 7 times. He is a Grand Slam champion! He won the WWF championship built in his first year and unlike others he has remained in championship contendership during his WWF/E run. He was bound to be ECW champion, a fact that cannot be denied. He was going to be allowed to resolve his personal issues WITH PAY. It is unlikely that TNA is paying him more than WWE did, and if TNA is paying him more, in doing so they are throwing away at least 1mil. Dollars(American LOL), on a wrestler who obviously is not in good mental condition.
This is ironic because Kurt Angle has good 'in ring psychology' but he can't deal with his own. I love Kurt Angle as a wrestler and entertainer, but it's in his best interest and the best interest of "WRESTLING"(I do agree with Mr. Emanuel there) to have a healthy Angle, rather than a man who is not in a good state of mind.
Jimmy Nance wrote : >I must say that I agree with both of the points above. Angle is an immensely talented performer, and will probably go down in history as one of the best of all time. Passion and desire are very important in this business, but he does need to let his body heal, and take care to not reinjure his neck. TNA has a stiffer style than WWE; and that's good for the fans, but hard on the wrestlers. Adding Angle to the roster is a HUGE step in true national recognition for TNA, but can they maintain the momentum, and not fall into what I call the "WCW Trap?" Throw money at big names, regardless of their physical limitations, and hope it pays off ?
I wonder what Vince McMahon is thinking, losing several "name" wrestlers to TNA, including Angle, The James Gang, Rhino, Christian Cage, and Team 3D ?WWE has some good points these days, but the storylines are again getting excessively "adult", case in point, Cryme Tyme, and the ridiculous notion of the Guerrero / Misterio feud. Let Eddie go, and if Chavo can't make it on his own, release him. I grow tired of seeing Vickie Guerrero on TV every damn week, and sadly enough, it seems not many fans in the crowd care. All heat is not good, guys. Prediction: TNA is a viable competitor in less than a year. Thanks for the opportunity to vent. Great site.
Kurt Angle The Traitor -- by Brent Denny
I'd like to start off by quoting something The Heartbreak Kid HBK Shawn Michaels said during his interview with Jonathan Coachman during Wrestlemania 22.
"Life, Life is pretty funny."
If you think about it life isn't just funny it's ironic. Think back to the Invasion angle of 2001 Kurt Angle the character turned on the WWE (or WWF as it was known at the time) and joined the ECW/WCW Alliance. Then he re-joined the WWE/F and helped put the ECW/WCW Alliance out of business. That was a storyline what Kurt Angle has done leaving the WWE and joining TNA I'm sorry to say is real life.
Now I know there are a lot of people out there who support what Kurt Angle has done. They think it's great, marvellous the best thing ever to happen in all of wrestling/sports entertainment.
I personally am disgusted with what Kurt Angle has done. And I refuse to believe that there was any excuse or reason for him doing what he has done. Which is basically stabbed the WWE the company that helped make him the superstar that he is today in the back. In other words I believe and consider Kurt Angle to be a traitor to the company that made him.
Now I understand Kurt Angle wanting to take time off to help his injuries heal I even understand if he had personal problems that he needed to take time off in order to deal with. However Kurt Angle could have asked Vince McMahon or other powers within the WWE for time off without being released from his contract I mean Benoit's been given time off. The Undertaker now only does certain PPV's and makes rare appearances on SmackDown! So why couldn't Angle follow suit.
Either way Kurt Angle got what he wanted he got released from his contract with the WWE and not even a month has gone by and already he has signed with TNA.
There is no doubt in my mind that Angle had to have had this planned right from the start he knew what he was doing it wasn't a split second decision or anything like that.
Well I hope Angle is very happy with the decision he has made. And despite Vince McMahon being known for giving people second chances I hope and pray that he does NOT give Kurt Angle a second chance because despite how good a wrestler he is and he is one of the best no doubt about it. Despite that I personally will never forgive Kurt Angle for what he has done.
In my mind and in my eyes Kurt Angle from this day forth is and always will be a traitor to the WWE.
And as far as TNA is concerned yeah they now have Angle they got Sting Christian etc. And I have watched a few of their shows however I refuse to believe nor do I believe that TNA will ever be able to compete with the WWE because despite how good of a show TNA puts on they will never in my eyes be able to put on half as good a show as what the WWE puts on.
To me TNA is a second rate promotion just like WCW was (even though for 84 weeks WCW did manage to beat the WWE in the ratings) An to me that is all TNA will ever be is a second rate promotion.
Oh it's true. It's god damn true!
This column was brought to you by a loyal supporter of the WWE.
A Fresh Angle For TNA -- by Adam Dean
Hello there, I have been a wrestling fan for all my life and I am a big fan of this website, but this is my first article on wrestling, so please bear with me. I am here to talk about one of the best if not the best technical wrestlers in the wrestling business today. Yes I'm talking about the one and only Kurt Angle. Angle has accomplished a lot throughout his career; An Olympic Gold Medallist, 2 times World Heavyweight Champion, 4 times WWE Champion, United States Champion, The winner of The King of The Ring 2000, Intercontinental Champion, European Champion, Hardcore Champion and held one half of the Tag Team belts with Chris Benoit. Kurt has had a fantastic career in amateur and professional wrestling and because of that, Kurt Angle arguably is the greatest wrestler ever to step into the square circle. However, over the past month, the 'Wrestling Machine' has shocked the world by being the first true headliner to jump ship to the six sided ring of TNA.
Any true wrestling fan's first reaction would have been of the feeling reminiscent of the Monday Night Wars. The genuine shock of one of WWE's golden boys appearing on a TNA screen was arguably the biggest news in wrestling for a long time, no one saw it coming, and to be fair it was a stroke of genius on the part of Angle and the few who knew within TNA. From the time Angle departed Stamford, the feeling was that we were not going to be seeing him in any type of ring for a long period of time. The WWE locker room were also honestly disappointed at his release and showed their whole hearted affection, truly believing what we all did. However within weeks, amid rumours that Angle was making a move into the ultimate fighting world were ones which were also believable. Angle is a genuine fighter, and the possible change into real competition for a world class competitor is understandable and probably seen as admirable from the WWE office...so they would have no problem with Angle's people making statements that Angle is a big MMA fan and teasing at the idea that he may be competing...right?? The WWE probably saw it as a great way to show how tough their superstars were, creating even more exposure for their company.
So why did Kurt Angle leave the WWE? Well there were many reasons why Angle asked for an early release from his WWE contract, and I will try to cover them here. For the last few months, Kurt was not used to his full potential by the WWE. He was drafted to Raw to finish his feud with the "Heart Break Kid" Shawn Michaels, and then had a brief feud with Nick 'Eugene' Dinsmoore, and then Kurt found himself in a feud with WWE champion John Cena. Throughout this feud, the WWE management tried their best to make Angle a 'super' heel, because the fans were booing Cena (who was the baby-face) and cheering Angle (who was the heel at the time).The management tried everything to get the fans to start booing Angle, but everything they tried, failed. In the end, the boss, Vince McMahon and the management decided to keep the belt on Cena because they thought ratings would go up if Angle was chasing Cena for the title. After the New Year, the management sprang a big surprise, as they gave the WWE championship to Edge, which boosted ratings. However, this made Kurt Angle upset at the management as he felt he deserved to be the WWE Champion more than Edge because of all the hard work he had put in with his feud with Cena, Angle felt all his work was done for nothing. Injury struck World Heavyweight champion Batista, which forced him give up the title. The management had had enough problems to deal with, so they decided to draft Kurt back to Smackdown! Here, he won the vacated title on the night of his return to Smackdown! As the World Heavyweight Champion, Kurt Angle filled in for the injured Batista and continued Batista's feud with "The World Strongest Man" Mark Henry and then had another great feud with "The Deadman" The Undertaker. After a few months feuding both men, the 'Wrestling Machine' then dropped the World Heavyweight championship to Rey Mysterio. Kurt was then drafted to WWE's version of ECW to draw 'WWE fans' to spike up the ratings. Kurt was again unhappy about this decision made by the management and made it clear he was unhappy. Even though this was a waste of his time and talent, Kurt remained professional. There were rumours that Kurt Angle would return to Smackdown! but it never happened.
Other reasons Kurt Angle asked for a release from his contract were his injuries and drug issues, and due to the WWE's schedule, Kurt Angle was unable to heal these injures or sort out his personal problems. The Chairman of the WWE, Vince McMahon saw this and suspended Angle to try and get his life sorted out. After his suspension, the 'Wrestling Machine' return with a buzz, but his happy return to the WWE was short lived as Angle was struck down by another injury. Angle had had enough of it and asked the Chairman for an early release from his contract, which was granted by Vince McMahon. It's his burning desire to do what he loved which had driven Angle to turn his back on the WWE.
Whether you like it or not, Kurt Angle is going to TNA. This huge and it could only boost the ratings of TNA. Over the last two years TNA have been looking for someone who they could build their company around. TNA have focus on trying to build wrestlers like; AJ Styles, Jeff Jarrett, Rhino and Raven and many more, but they had all failed to stay on top of TNA. However, with Angle, TNA could start building the company around him and could also use him to help build their 'up and coming' talent like; Samoa Joe. Also, if Angle succeeds in TNA, it could convince even other big stars to come to TNA.
Again. it's his burning desire to do what he loves which has driven Angle to turn his back on the WWE. Like most fans, I'm torn between my burning desire to see wrestlers; Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle going at it, but I'm also compassionate enough to worry about Angle's health. If you have something to say, say it. I would also like to say thanks to my brother Jonathan and my mate Nic for helping me with this article. Thank you very much for sharing your time with my article.
Grow Up Kurt Angle! -- by Zack Heydorn
I am going to just flat out say it. What is the matter with Kurt Angle? I get his passion and need to compete, but enough is enough already. It's gotten to the point where he is going to hurt more than just himself.
Kurt Angle could possibly be the best wrestler I ever seen in my lifetime. In a few years, he will undoubtedly be in the upper class of professional wrestlers; in a class with names like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Rock. He will have held every major title that the sport has to offer in a mere eight years with the WWE. He has headlined two Wrestlemania main events and dozens upon dozens of other monthly Pay Per Views that obviously have paid him very well. Kurt Angle is drop dead fantastic on the microphone and the crowd eats him up every single time he walks through the curtain. So the question is, what else does he need to accomplish? What else can he even accomplish? My answer to you is simply, nothing.
Kurt was at a point in his life where he was forced to make a choice. In a way he was forced to grow up. By releasing Kurt Angle, the WWE, thankfully, made him consider a lifestyle change. They gave him the option to get out of the ring, live a family life, see his children, and heal up all his terrible injuries. What did Kurt do? He slapped the WWE right in the face. Kurt Angle's ego grew too big and he slapped WWE in the face by signing with TNA.
Kurt has a family. He has a wife and a daughter who care about him dearly. With his release, Kurt's focus should have been on being a good father and a good husband rather than being a disgruntled, unemployed wrestler looking for any possible way to get back at the WWE and Vince McMahon. He should have been healing up his injuries so his daughter would not have to play "doctor" on him as he pointed out in a letter to his fans back when he first was let go. With his release from the WWE Kurt Angle needed to put his priorities back in order and instead threw them even more out of balance by choosing to wrestle with TNA. In any mans life, his priorities should be family, work, and pleasure, in that exact order. By signing with TNA, Kurt not only went against those logical priorities but significantly hurt his wellbeing in a variety of different ways.
First, Kurt hurt himself in terms of professional credibility. It is not a secret that the WWE far exceeds TNA in every business aspect. The WWE makes much more of an income than TNA could think of at this point, therefore meaning that they can pay their wrestlers more money for the hard work that they do. This is where Kurt hurts himself. He has taken a professional step backwards. Instead of working with the top talent, in the top company, making the top money, Kurt has decided to make much less money, working at much smaller and un-promoted shows, and wrestling other wrestlers that really are out of his league in terms of sheer talent.
Secondly, the WWE let him go because they wanted him to heal up. Vince and company wanted a clean Kurt Angle performing for them and the only way that was going to happen was if he took a significant leave of absence from the ring. Now, thanks to TNA, Kurt Angle will be locking up with the stiffest wrestlers in the business; guys like Samoa Joe and Senshi. Undoubtedly, these will be great matches; however, the toll they will take on Kurt's body will be truly painful to watch. In the WWE, Kurt worked matches that were toned down to a WWE style. Kurt worked matches each week that were eight to ten minutes in length, brilliant matches of course, but short T.V style matches nonetheless. These types of matches will not fly with TNA management or TNA fans. The TNA style is hard hitting, physical, and stiff. It is a style that Kurt Angle's body is no where near ready to compete in.
Sadly Kurt Angle knows all about all the different things he is doing and all the problems he could be creating for himself and his family. He simply does not care. His ego is too big. Kurt needs to be the top guy, the top competitor, the champion above all other things in his life, however its time for that attitude to stop. It is time for Kurt Angle to grow and be a responsible adult. It is time for Kurt Angle to take care of his kids and his wife, and not put his body in harms way each and every week. It is time for Kurt Angle to hang it up.
If Kurt was alone, without children or a wife, these choices of his would only affect him and therefore could be justified. However, in the end he will hurt many more people than just himself if something goes wrong in the ring or the locker room. Kurt is going to want to see his children and play with his children when they are older. Kurt is going to want to go on trips with his wife when they both retire. At this point in Kurt's career those are aspects of his life that he should have looked at when determining whether or not he should go back to wrestling.
The stage is set. Kurt Angle will debut for TNA wrestling. Will he remain safe and intact? That is a question to be answered down the road. Kurt Angle is the epitome of what is wrong with the wrestling business. The business is addictive. However at some point, some wrestlers just need to get out. In the past, Vince would have pushed his talent to far lengths without any regard for their well-being; he did not do that in this situation. I truly do feel that Vince is trying to change his ways. With the wellness program and drug testing, and constant checks on the wrestlers, there shouldn't be any problems; unless ego gets in the way again. Time will tell what will happen with Kurt Angle, I don't see it ending pretty. Lets grow up Kurt, and lets get out.
Outsiders Edge -- by Denis Shkuratov
There are times in the wrestling world that defines the business. One of these times is - whether you like it or not - Kurt Angle jumping to TNA. There are people who don't realize or for some reason will not understand what this means for the wrestling world what this means for wrestlers what it means for you!
Kurt Angle is wrestling. There I said it and if you disagree with me then you must be stupider then I thought. Kurt Angle is a great wrestler he is one of the last wrestlers from the attitude era that can put arses in seats and he cuts very good promos.
Oh how I wish I could see Vince's face when he found out this news because my face was full of delight and excitement. Incase you didn't know Kurt Angle asked for a release in his contract after a heated discussion with Vince. The toll was far too great his injuries could not handle the WWE schedule any longer. So Kurt did what most wrestling fans think should have happened along time ago he decided to take time off and rest up. After all my discussion with wrestlers about the future of TNA (I am one of the Hosts for the dominant Australian Wrestling Radio talk show "Submission Radio). After asking the question that everybody wonders but nobody can answer. Now finally we have an answer! Kurt Angle.
"TNA needed to throw money at someone big". That's what most people told me.
That's the answer I got from guests known journalists and wrestlers alike. I have to admit I was pessimistic. Even if TNA signed Goldberg I didn't know if it would take them to the place they needed to be. I would have never thought never guessed never even dreamed that TNA and Angle would come to a deal. How could it! Angle is WWE. Kurt Angle who is loved by all wrestling fans young and old. Kurt Angle who is one of the best wrestlers in the world. Kurt Angle who is now in TNA! For those who don't realize TNA is great programming but they never had the star power to get enough fans watching weekly. Sting who is one of my favorite wrestlers of all time is a huge star but he alone could not deliver what TNA needs. Cage the master of the peeps went over and created even more buzz. But was it enough? No not at all. We have a mix of great wrestlers but nobody could create the buzz that the Olympic Hero can.
What does this mean for TNA? It means higher ratings possibly a better slot and it means that the wars are almost close to beginning. What does this mean for us? It means the WWE is going to be creating quality programming it means that there is twice as many great matches to watch it means over the next few months we will see some very high quality brawls. Everybody wins!
You know last time I spoke to Kurt Angle in 2005 and asked him about the chances of him vs. AJ Styles he said that "AJ Styles isn't even in his league". Well now Kurt he quite literally is now that's true its damn true!
Column O' Nonsense: Disgust -- by Douglas Nunnally
I am disgusted. Yes, I am completely and utterly disgusted and for the first time in months, it is not because of WWE shockingly. It is not because of a lovely widow being paraded around as a heel to try and get heat on a storyline. It is not because of a man who can barely wrestle being given a dress and a push simply because it's getting cheap laughs out of the boss. Above all else, it is not milking the name of a beloved wrestler in an attempt to get people to care about another wrestler or an angle. No, it's none of that.
Looking back, it's unfathomable something can get my blood boiling far past the heel turn of Vickie Guerrero which caused my fiancée to sit in on some pretty big rants from my big mouth. It's unfathomable that someone could show lower morals than WWE. But it happened. As much as I'd like to go to bed and pretend it didn't, it did. And that's what scares me.
If you don't know, TNA announced earlier this week an announcement that would change the course of pro wrestling history would be made at their PPV on Sunday. Last night at their No Surrender PPV, they revealed one part of their announcement to be the arrival of Kurt Angle, one of the greatest wrestlers of this age if not, perhaps, of all time. And seconds following the PPV's conclusion, I literally felt a part of me die.
Now, let's back up and look at Kurt Angle. We all know Kurt Angle is someone who pushes himself beyond any limit. He won the Gold Medal with a broken neck, he wrestled WrestleMania XIX with one, he took the easy way out with surgery to come back as soon as possible forcing him to miss more of 2004, and recently he injured himself three times in one match, by his own admission, & refused to enter rehab. Does that sound like a sane man to you? Does that sound like a man who is in his right mind whatsoever? Even more, if you look at the interview he did with WWE, he claims that he needed time to "re-heal and rehab [his] body." Now, that was less than a month ago and I'm all for quick recoveries, but no way in hell did Kurt Angle repair all the damage done to his mind and body in less than a month. Yes, there is such a thing as passion in this business and it's quite obvious that Kurt Angle once had it, but this goes past passion and obsession into pure insanity. Refusing to enter rehab and wanting to continue to wrestle after suffering three concurrent injures (two of which came about because he didn't know when to stop) is complete insanity that we finally see truthfully and there is no way to look around that.
Do not get me wrong. I am a big Kurt Angle fan and I am not trying to insult him. Just the other day I was re-watching WrestleMania X-Seven and I couldn't wait to get to his classic with Chris Benoit that blew my mind when I first saw it. Hell, I'll probably watch it again after this column. Last year saw him cement his legacy along with Shawn Michaels and when he first entered ECW this year, I was ecstatic to see a completely different Kurt Angle within the ring. This transcends being a Kurt Angle fan though. This transcends being a Kurt Angle hater as well. This is about caring about a man's personal health, if not life, and while that may sound horrendously extreme, it is definitely warranted no matter how you look at it.
Last year, Eddie Guerrero tragically passed away and WWE instituted a drug testing policy. Interestingly enough, when the video of Vince McMahon announcing the drug testing went up on WWE.com, it was Kurt Angle who had the majority of the questions. Fast-forward to January and WWE fans were treated to Kurt Angle sans at least twenty pounds looking freakishly scary while holding the World Heavyweight Championship. Reports poured in from fans who witnessed Angle leaning on others for support while backstage or exiting the arena. "Breaking News" posts were made every other day about a possible new Angle injury. Interviews popped up from Angle himself saying he would just not stop. Rumors emerged of wrestlers scared of the well-being of one of the top stars in the promotion. Angle next disappeared shortly after joining ECW due to a suspension for not keeping the prescriptions for the little drugs he had left (compared to the humongous number we know he had before the drug testing went into effect) updated and came back in the same sorry state he left. Then, after being in no state to wrestle for anyone, he was told to enter rehab by WWE. Mind you, WWE pays those who enter rehab so Kurt Angle could have been making money by doing nothing except finally giving his body some practically mandatory rest. I just mentioned Eddie Guerrero and it's well known the company paid for Eddie to enter rehab. Why would Angle not go? Why would he shove aside all that money and not recover? Again, I ask: do these sound like the actions of a sane man to you?
After all of this, rumors arose of Angle joining MMA while every other promotion (wrestling and MMA) under the sun marvelled at the chance of getting Kurt Angle in their ring. Angle's manager, Dave Hawk, even claimed that Angle was retired from pro wrestling and would fight in MMA in 2007 and to be honest, that's probably the safest thing for him. I don't even follow MMA and I know that for a fact. Everyone is required to take drug test to fight so that right there narrows it down to a fifty-fifty chance that Angle would even step into the ring, because God knows Angle probably needs a full bottle of assorted pain killers and other pills before being able to walk let alone train let alone fight. From there, you just need to look at the rules of any MMA promotion out there from UFC to PRIDE and you can put your mind at ease. First off, you know the ref is going to already be overly concerned for the well-being of someone that has a tentative appointment with the Grim Reaper down the line according to scuttlebutt. Second off, do you really expect Kurt Angle to spend eternity locked in a neck crank and the ref not call for the bell? This is just common sense here, folks, and after that, you just have to ask yourself which is more damaging to the body: taking a few high left kicks from someone like Mirko Cro Crop in a five minute round or going thirty minutes with someone like Samoa Joe who will dish out stiff blow after stiff blow that Angle can't even attempt to counter or block in most cases. That's not even factoring in the insane bumps that Angle would be taking or would probably even demand to take in the matches. God forbid you get him in an Ultimate X match which you know either Vince Russo or Angle himself will be lobbying for.
But did Angle enter MMA? No, Kurt Angle decided to forfeit the money he has left on his WWE contract (voiding the non-compete clause) and shack up with TNA as I already mentioned. In one fell swoop, the roles of the major players in American professional wrestling instantly changed. WWE was once, and probably still is, regarded as the evil, callous promotion devoid of a heart and a soul. After all, they milked Eddie's death for all it was worth and let people like Jackie Gayda and Dawn Marie go after getting married and getting pregnant respectively. TNA was believed to be the alternative. TNA was supposed to be the promotion with the heart of the sport, giving the fans what they wanted and giving the talented workers shunned by WWE a place to go. Now? Now, TNA has signed the wrestler WWE deemed too crippled to wrestle for them. They let go someone who could be a major coup for any promotion and I guarantee you they didn't do it because Angle looked at Vince the wrong way in the hallway. Do you think for one second that Vince McMahon would let Kurt Angle go unless he literally feared for his life? For those who still want to play the "blame WWE" game, do you think for one second that Vince McMahon would let Kurt Angle go unless he literally anticipated Angle's death and the subsequent lawsuits, hateful editorials, & bad press that would follow?
Now, you can say how this is a business all you want and you're right: it is a business, but isn't that what WWE has been saying for years to people, only to get criticized more. That aside, even the shrewdest businessman would tell you that this is a humongous mistake. On one hand, you're losing the appeal you attracted fans with. You grabbed wrestling fans burnt out from the Invasion mess with the promise of no bullshit WWE practices, a promotion with a heart; and now you're hiring someone even McMahon, the one notorious for milking those for all their worth, deemed nowhere near stable enough (physically and mentally it seems) to go near his ring. And what for? Ratings and a profit; those are great things to risk someone's well-being for. On the other hand, what is going to happen if (and according to many, when) Kurt Angle becomes paralyzed or even dies in the ring? What kind of public image is that going to give to the product? What kind of message is that going to send to your fans? Right now, TNA can claim ignorance or the fact that they are handing out a "second chance," but what happens when something like that happens (and I guarantee you that one of those two things will happen)? Looking at it even more, what if it turns out to be like the "Hail Mary" save Sting made for TNA earlier this year in that it spiked buyrates and ratings at first, only for things to slowly dwindle down to the current state TNA is in now necessitating such an acquisition? Where would the rationale be then? "Hey, kids; Kurt Angle is in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, but he helped us get some extra cash for a bit that we then spent on another WCW star who did nothing for the product."
I put the blame fully and 100% on Total Non-Stop Action truthfully (and the argument would be the same if another promotion like NOAH or ROH had beat them to it). I've said it above and I'll say it again: all this does not sound like the actions of a sane man and Kurt Angle is nowhere near sane by the look of things. A sane man does not get three injuries in the span of five minutes, continue wrestling, and then object to being taken off the road. A sane man does not leave a humongous paycheck behind for refusing to go to rehab that will make it so he can walk his daughter Kyra in a beautiful gown down the aisle one day. Kurt Angle is not sane. In America, you can get acquitted for murdering someone with a plea of "insanity," but what if someone sane put the knife into the hand of a man nowhere near his right mind and pointed him in the direction of eternal damnation? Whose fault is it then? In my opinion, it's that sane person's fault and this is exactly the position TNA is in right now. They know full well everything going on with Kurt Angle. Even if they have not read his own statements, the statements of others, the backstage rumors, the press releases, et cetera; all you have to do is look at the poor man and realize that he should be nowhere near a professional wrestling ring for the remainder of his life. TNA has shown in one announcement what is most important. Instead of valuing the health of their wrestlers and the very life in this case, TNA is just looking for a quick fix and this time, they are committing assisted suicide for the sake of a five hundred thousand more viewers.
Go ahead and bust out the demanding schedule of WWE and compare it to TNA's breezy work schedule. What you're forgetting is that Kurt Angle has been told by many doctors that he risks paralysis and even death every time he steps into the ring. Every time, people. Every time Angle comes out and does his spin in the middle of the ring, he is playing Russian Roulette with his life. Let me tell you something: it doesn't matter if you're working one day a week or five. If you're gambling with your life, it's eventually going to catch up to you. You don't expect a drug addict coming off a five year binge to just shoot heroin once a week or once every two weeks and be all right. May seem a little extreme, but they do call it "the drug of choice" and looking at the match where Angle pulled his groin, tore the abdominal muscle off his pelvis, and blew out his hamstring, one match is all it takes. It's a risk no matter how many times you're working and to point out something TNA fans loves to boast, TNA is a completely different style than WWE. It is way more physical and while Angle did wrestle many a match with Chris Benoit, that was in 2003 and I guarantee you that Angle has not gotten younger or let his body rest much in those three and a half years. Meanwhile, there are wrestlers in TNA like Samoa Joe and AJ Styles who are building their reputations based on insanely stiff matches (for American standards). One match with Samoa Joe may be the equivalent of twenty with someone the likes of John Cena nowadays. Try telling yourself again that the lighter TNA schedule will do Angle some good.
This goes further beyond TNA and Kurt Angle as well. What is going to happen in the eventual dream match between Kurt Angle and AJ Styles if Angle goes to give Styles an Angle Slam, blows out his hamstring (again), and spikes AJ Styles straight on his head, injuring the young star immensely and damaging his future? Again, I ask: where is the justification? TNA has brought in some questionable stars like Jeff Hardy and Scott Hall (and I've been very vocal about those two) in the past, but none have ever posed such a risk to themselves and to their partners in the ring by just getting into the ring as Kurt Angle. We didn't watch Jeff Hardy square off against AJ Styles on the Second Anniversary show and pray Jeff Hardy would make it out alive & be able to walk and not drag down AJ Styles with him. We didn't watch Scott Hall get into the ring with Styles at Turning Point 2004 and cringe every time he lifted up Styles or took a bump. At least the biggest risk with Hardy & Hall was that they'd pass out, miss their flight, and TNA would be out a match on the PPV. If I was AJ Styles, I'd be begging Kurt Angle to no-show a PPV no matter how great a match the two could have.
I started out this column disgusted and I still am, but more and more, I am scared down to my very being. What scares me right now is that it seems WWE is the promotion with some set of morals for a change. What scares me right now is that we aren't even over the tragedy of Eddie Guerrero and we are already preparing ourselves for another one. What scares me right now is that in a year, people might look at the plight of Kurt Angle & Dynamite Kid and lament how Dynamite Kid got off easy in comparison. Overall, what scares me the most is the justification everyone right now is giving to a promotion for hiring a crippled man who casually admits he has little to no feeling in his left arm, can not compete without a myriad of pills, and was turned away by an infamous company finally doing the right thing, just so the fans can get a dream match they want.
Right now as I type, thousands of TNA fans are going to bed dreaming about their Olympic Hero going one-on-one with their favorite TNA wrestler: AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, et cetera. Right now, thousands of Angle fans are dreaming about seeing their favorite wrestler ever return to primetime. Me? I'm trying my hardest to stay awake because I know the nightmares that awake me when I drift away. We already lived through these nightmares last November. We shouldn't have to again, TNA, and that disgusts me.