Author Archives: RealKurtAngle

Angle Strong

#AngleStrongHave you, or anyone you cared about, submitted into the hands of addiction? Addiction to alcohol? Painkillers? Benzos? Or all of the above? I have.

My addiction started when I was prescribed painkillers for a neck injury in 2003. I didn’t know how powerful the opiate drug was until I found myself taking an insurmountable amount of Vicodin. To be exact, I was taking 65 extra strength Vicodin per day. I started taking one pill a day, and before long kept doubling the dose over and over again. I loved the feeling it gave me, because it allowed me not to feel anything.

Let’s go back to a time before I fell victim to this disease. Growing up, I experienced many tragedies in my life, but I never grieved because I was on a mission to etch my legacy in stone in amateur wrestling. There was nothing I wanted more than to make my family proud, especially those I had lost in the past. My father died in a construction accident when I was 16. That’s the day I vowed I would do something great for my dad. I promised that nothing would stop me from winning a gold medal. I went to college and was preparing for my first NCAA Division 1 title when my grandma, my only living grandparent, died of a heart attack the day before my big event. I had spent every weekend with her growing up and we were very close. She was special to me. I knew that I had to put on my game face and win the title for her and my dad, and I had NO time to grieve for them. I know that they would have been proud of me win or lose, as long as I gave my very best. I did that, and I was so happy that I didn’t disappoint them.

Move ahead 5 years, and I was finally where I wanted to be. I was #1 on the USA freestyle wrestling team and had won numerous national titles and a world championship in 1995. I was “on par” to see my dream become reality. Then it happened again. My coach and mentor of team Foxcatcher, Dave Schultz, was shot and killed by the club owner, John DuPont. This was six months before the Olympic games.

To make matters worse, three months later I broke my neck at the U.S. open. I was told I couldn’t compete anymore, and my life crashed before my eyes. But with lots of prayer, determination and a great doctor, I was able to wrestle at the Olympic trials. The doctor used a very risky but clever method. He would inject 12 shots of Novocain into my neck right before each match. It worked, and I found myself on the Olympic team. I would need the injections to continue on my Olympic journey, so we did it, even though I was risking paralysis. You may think I’m stupid, but I think anybody who had the chance of winning Olympic gold would have done the same. I won gold, and found myself in a position where I enjoyed the competition so much that I needed to match that feeling again.

What now? I knew I didn’t want to make the Olympic journey again so I took a stab at pro wrestling. In 1999, I signed with WWE, and by the end of that year I was on WWE television and doing incredibly well. I had found my new love, professional wrestling. But it was almost taken away from me, AGAIN, when I broke my neck again in 2003. I had surgery and was put on pain medication. That was the beginning of my dark journey.

The pills made me feel invincible and kept me in the game, until my sister Le’Anne died of a heroin overdose, not long after my surgery. I didn’t want to feel pain, or anything. I had not grieved for my father, my grandmother, my coach or my sister, and I wasn’t about to begin. At least not with the success I was having in WWE. I felt like everything was being taken away from me.

So I started taking more and more Vicodin, stuffing the pain deep inside of me. Before I knew it, I was knee deep (more like shoulder deep) into my addiction. I was hiding it from WWE, and at that time they weren’t drug testing for medication like they do now. I then broke my neck 2 more times over the next 2 years, and the bad relationship/marriage I was in made me feel more alone than ever. I decided that I could not handle the rigorous schedule of WWE and I felt guilty about being a liability to Vince McMahon. So I asked for my release and I swore I’d get my life together.

After I went to TNA, I was taking a lower dose of medication but I didn’t entirely quit. I started drinking alcohol excessively and went through a bad divorce. Eventually, I found the true love of my life, my wife Giovanna. But I kept taking the pills and drinking until I passed out each night. I knew it wasn’t fair to my wife or my kids, but I did everything I could to hide my feelings and emotional pain.

I had a successful career with TNA as I did in WWE, but I ruined any good reputation I had by receiving 4 DUIs in 5 years. I knew I had to do something to save my life and my marriage, so I checked into rehab and I’ve been clean and sober for over 3 years.

I’ve witnessed my mother suffer and die from cancer (leukemia) and my brother David go to jail for admitting to killing his wife while he was high on drugs. But I’ve dealt with those issues sober. I have allowed myself to experience true emotional and physical pain, even from the past. It’s not easy, but it’s the right way to live life. I’ve salvaged what could have been a tragic story, and I’m writing my own story on how the rest of my life will pan out. I thank God that I didn’t mess up my liver due to the medication I inhaled. (I just had a physical and everything is good). I love my wife and kids too much to go back to the drugs, and I am worthy of enjoying what I accomplished in my life. I want to be there to help my kids and make sure they never make the mistakes I’ve made. I love my life, I love my family and I love my fans.

What’s my next move? To help others suffering from addiction. I have started a program called #AngleStrong to help addicts in recovery STAY clean. It’s the least I could do for what God has blessed me with, and it’s time to give back for a life that was so focused on me and my accomplishments. #AngleStrong will be launching this year, and I will be promoting it, along with the #AngleStrong App to help addicts in recovery.  *UPDATE: for more information on the AngleStrong app visit AngleStrong.com

God saved my life and he put me here to help others pull themselves out of the pit of addiction. #AngleStrong “will” save lives. If you or anyone you know has a problem with addiction, look for the #AngleStrong Program to assist your loved ones. Follow me on Twitter at @realkurtangle. I will do my very best to help anyone who is suffering from this horrible disease. It’s true.

Take Care of Yourself

Take Care of Your BodyDo you know your own body? How to truly take care of yourself? Not just your outward appearance, but also your mind, your soul and your insides — your organs.

I have always tried to take care of my health, in every way. Was I always successful at it? Absolutely not. There were moments in my life when I completely ignored my body, whether I was injured, dehydrated, eating an unhealthy diet or abusing medication, I always thought that I could turn things around early enough to avoid any long term effects to my body.

Well here I am, realizing now that I need to do better. Prayer and meditation, a proper diet, exercise, sufficient rest, and drinking lots of water have become priorities for me. I think about my wife and kids, and it makes me want to live another 50 years…. for them. That is my motivation. I now spend more time making proper meals, stretching each day, and doing things that will allow me to live a long, healthy life.

For example, I went to the gym this morning. I used to go to the gym, throw bunch of weights around, and then leave. I didn’t warm up or stretch, just got my “pump” and left. Now? My gym routine is get in the hot tub for 20 minutes, the sauna for 10 minutes, drink plenty of water, stretch, then lift weights, run 2 miles, and finish with some yoga and five minutes of prayer/meditation. They say, “Your body is your temple.” So take the time to keep your mind, body and soul healthy. It’s not always easy, but you won’t regret it. It’s true.

Get your heads out of your a##es and your eyes off of your phones!

Social media- Kurt Angle BlogWe all are involved with some type of social media…I don’t know one person who isn’t. It’s great to participate in this incredible outreach of communication, but does it affect our lives? Yes! It does. We have become addicted to our cell phones today. In a way, we feel we are missing out on what’s going on on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc if we are not constantly connected.

I was in a restaurant a few weeks ago and EVERY single person was on their phone, even those who weren’t eating alone… even couples. I saw a good looking married couple who never even looked at one another during their entire meal! I didn’t realize how much I was on my phone until I started watching everyone else tapping into social media.

So my wife and I came up with 2 rules:

1. We can only be on our phones from 11am-5pm every day. No acceptions.
2. We are NOT allowed to view our phones during meals. We sit down “as a family” and we communicate “as a family”.

My wife Giovanna and I felt this would show our children how improper it is to dabble into your phone or IPad during a family meal. I agree 1,000 percent.

Social media is supposed to connect us, but I’ve found that we’re more disconnected than ever. If we continue on this path, Within 3 years NOBODY will communicate face to face. They will text or email one another, even if they’re sitting across from each other! It’s a losing battle. The only way we can save “family communication” is by making rules on when to use and not to use our devices. It seems to be working for our family so far. So, if you feel the same way that I do, you may want to draw a line and demand that your family saves the one thing that keeps a family together….. COMMUNICATION. Not by text, not by instant message, but face to face. I promise that if you do this, your family will be much closer and more loving. Oh, it’s true. It’s damn true!!!

Remembering September 11th

September 11- Kurt Angle Official BlogYesterday was 9/11. It was an incredibly sad day 15 years ago when 3,000 innocent victims died because of a terrorist attack on the United States.

It is still a sad day, and a day to remember. But when we remember, we show our fellow Americans and other people around the world how we continue to band together and pray for those who lost their lives (and the families of those who lost their lives) because we have the freedom to live the way we do.

I feel that 9/11 should be observed as a holiday for all of our citizens to show that we are a nation of strength and faith. It’s a day to remember WHY we are different, and why the people who died on that day will never be forgotten. September 11 will always be the day we realized that we now live in a different world, and that no matter what, the ones who want to force us to give in to their beliefs will not win. We will win, because we won’t ever change what made our nation great.

So no matter where you live, remember not only 9/11 but the moments of tragedy in other countries. We need to keep fighting for what we believe in, and NOBODY will change us. Nobody!! We are strong. We are good. And we are ONE. It’s true.

I am Not Invincible

Invincible-Kurt-Angle-BlogFor my entire life, I have always challenged myself, and I knew I could accomplish ANYTHING if I wanted to. I wrestled for 37 years, amateur and pro, and I dabbled in MMA training because I wanted to fight. I have been in numerous movies where I did my own stunts.

I’ve always been a physical person. Whether we are ready to admit it or not, there comes a time where our bodies can only take so much. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but then it’s time to hang up the things that have been tough on our bodies. Up until 3 years ago, there was nothing I wouldn’t do. But now that I’m 47 years old, I find myself in a position where it’s no longer what my body can do for me, but what my brain can do for me. Yes! I have a brain, and a high school and college education. I’m not a dumb jock like some may think.

It’s difficult to admit that I can’t “kick ass” like I used to. Don’t get me wrong. I can still “go”, but I need a lot more recovery time. It’s time for change, and I’m okay with that. When you’re young, you feel invincible. I used to train for 10 hours a day, every single day. Now, one hour a day is sufficient. I will continue to train as hard as I can, because I have found out quickly that if I stop pushing myself physically I will lose the physical attributes that God has blessed me with. If you don’t move it, you will lose it. My overall health depends on how active I am and what I utilize to fuel my body, and exercise and proper diet will allow me to live another 40-50 years. So I will keep training. But it’s time for a change because I’m NOT invincible… anymore. So now is the time for me to start thinking about how I can contribute from a cerebral point of view.

Helping my kids accomplish their dreams seems to be the next chapter in my life. And the longer I can do that, the better it will be for my kids. So I expect my life to change dramatically over the next 2 years, and I’m ok with that. It’s just the circle of life, and it’s time for me to “give back”.

So now, it’s about my children, and I need to stay active and healthy to assist them in accomplishing their dreams. I will teach my kids my “never quit” attitude. And they WILL learn it. Then they will take the ball from me and score the touchdown. Hey, that’s life. None of us will remain invincible. But we can teach others our ability to overcome obstacles. And to be honest? It will be lots of fun for me. And that is damn true.

Confidence

Confidence Kurt Angle BlogYou have probably read some of my previous blogs. I always try to remain humble and appreciative and to be complimentary of other people. It’s part of how I was raised.

But make no mistake, despite my humble approach to things I am confident. Very confident. I try not to toot my own horn though, because I don’t really need to. My accomplishments speak for themselves. My wife would actually tell you that I have an alter ego. His name is “King Kong Kurt”, and when he appears, you had better take cover, LOL. I honestly do try to have a humble approach to life, and I always compliment others about their accomplishments and successes. But truthfully? I’m an f’ing animal, and I know it. My wife and kids know it. Even the good Lord knows it. 😃

I’ve never participated in anything without believing I could be the absolute best. I’m THAT good. You have to balance that kind of belief with some humility. Lack of confidence is the biggest reason for failure. So stay humble about what you do in life because it can be taken from you in the blink of an eye. But deep down, always know that you WILL succeed. It builds the proper ego that you need to be the very best. It’s damn true.

Make Them Proud

You don't have to be famous. You just have to make your mother and father proud of you.Growing up, the one thing I wanted more than anything was to make my family proud. To do something so outstanding that it would carry my family’s legacy. I was always a timid little boy that wanted to please my mother and father. I think we all are like that, even when we get older.

Ever since my mother passed away more than a year ago (my dad passed when I was 16), I’ve been very emotional. I can’t thank them enough for how they provided for me and gave me the best life they could offer. I didn’t have toys or nice clothes to wear, but obviously they gave me ENOUGH. If I had had everything I ever wanted, then why would I have pushed so hard to accomplish everything I did in the past? It’s nice to be spoiled by your parents and to have them do everything for you, but then why would you work hard? And would you learn anything?

My parents gave me what they could, and I created a work ethic that put me in a position to do amazing things. Don’t get me wrong; God blessed me with my physical abilities and the will to succeed. But my parents allowed me to participate in sports and gave me a platform to achieve my goals. How? They allowed me to make mistakes. They did NOT enable me. They let me fall on my face and forced me to pick up the pieces and press forward, by myself.

Many parents are afraid to let their children make mistakes, and allow them to quit when they could grow stronger. For example, when a child plays baseball, has a horrible game, and tells their parents that they don’t want to play anymore. That is exactly when my mom and dad would have stepped in and said, “You’re not quitting at ANYTHING!! You will stick with it until the end of the season. You’re not a quitter.”

So to this day, I keep pushing myself to make my parents proud. And it has shown me what kind of father I want to be. So Kyra, Kody, Giulia’na, Sophia and Baby #5, I will absolutely do whatever I need to do make your lives successful. You will have to work hard, and when you fall, I will be there. Not to pick you up and dust you off, but to be your #1 cheerleader so that you can do it on your own. I promise all of you that it will make you stronger.

Thanks Mom and Dad. I miss you both. It’s damn true.

Don’t comment on something you don’t know

TNA-Bound-for-Glory-IVThere have been shots fired about whether pro wrestling is real or fake. Big names like Dana White and Conor McGregor have given their opinions on the subject, and they have that right. But PLEASE understand that in the wrestling business, things can be a bit complicated.

Yes, some things are pre-determined. And yes, at times it is choreographed. But it’s far from fake. When you watch an action movie and see stunt men doing the stunts, would you consider that fake? No, you wouldn’t. Some stunts have cost stunt men their lives. It’s the same with wrestling.

I used to be on the same side as Dana and Conor, until I became a pro wrestler. It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever done, and I won a gold medal with a broken freakin’ neck. My body has been beaten up over the years. Why? Because the stunts are very real. We wrestle and bump on plywood. It’s NOT a bed mattress. It’s PLYWOOD. So if you want to comment on how fake wrestling is, then I challenge you to get into the ring and take 5 bumps. That’s all – 5 bumps.

The first day I tried pro wrestling, I took 3 bumps and quit. I said, “F*ck that! You have to be a real idiot to do this.” Maybe we are. But we love to perform for our loyal fans. John Cena is a great example. He’s been the top guy for 10-12 years because he is a beast. A badass. Now, would I put him in UFC against one of their top fighters? Hell no. Cena is not a fighter. In reality, he would most likely get crushed in 20 seconds. But the fact that he has endured being on top for so long in pro wrestling makes him a badass.

UFC isn’t for everyone, and neither is pro wrestling. You need to be a badass to do both, but in very different ways. I trained in MMA and Olympic Wrestling for years. The training is insane. But performing In front of thousands of people, while taking bumps and getting thrown over the top rope (or doing a moonsault from the top rope) definitely makes you a badass in another way, because you’re heaping unparalleled abuse on your body. So PLEASE know what you’re talking about before you make a stupid comment. Brock Lesnar, Ken Shamrock and yours truly have dabbled in both MMA and pro wrestling and our comments remain the same. That wrestling is without a doubt the toughest thing we’ve ever done. So Conor and Dana, I welcome you to get in the ring with me and show me what you’re made of. I guarantee that you will quit long before I do. And that, my friend, is damn true!! It’s damn real!!

My Favorite Wrestlers

Kurt_Angle_Steve_AustinHere are my top 12 favorite wrestlers, plus a long list of honorable mentions, who I had the privilege of working with in my 17-year career. There are a few who barely missed the cut, but I HAD to stick to 12. I hope you agree with my choices. If you haven’t seen these matches, check YouTube or watch on the Network.

First are the honorable mentions:

  • John Cena
  • Hulk Hogan
  • Booker T
  • Chris Jericho
  • Rikishi
  • Edge
  • Christian
  • Chyna
  • Sting
  • Bobby Lashley
  • Drew Galloway
  • EC3
  • Eric Young
  • Yugi Nagata
  • Nakamura
  • Rey Mysterio
  • Kane
  • Randy Orton

Keep in mind that my honorable mentions may have been ranked in this category because I was new and green to wrestling, or because I was injured when I wrestled them. But they are definitely worth the mention. I also have to include here dream matches for me when they were in their prime – Daniel Bryan, Bret Hart, and Ric Flair.

Here are my Top 12:

12- HHH
My feud with The Cerebral Assassin began not long after I started in WWE. Stephanie McMahon was the focus of our program. It was so much fun. But HHH is very rare. He always keeps calm and can lead you through anything. What he lacks in athletic ability he definitely makes up for with psychology and knowledge. There’s a reason he’s been main eventing for 20 years. But the laughs we had are what I will remember most about working with Hunter. It was classic.

11- Samoa Joe
Wow! What an incredible amount of talent was/is in this 290-pound Samoan Submission Machine. When I came to TNA in 2006, Joe was “The Man”, undefeated, and on a rampage. I was lucky enough to be the guy to end his 2-year undefeated streak and the match did not disappoint. Big moves, submission trade offs, real wrestling. Joe exemplified why Samoans dominate the wrestling world. It was my most exciting moment in TNA. Thanks Joe.

10- The Rock
Dwayne Johnson is without a doubt the most athletic wrestler I had the privilege of getting in the ring with. Our matches started in 2000 and carried through 2001, and included me beating The Rock for the world title and then losing it to him 6 months later. They were unforgettable. I learned so much from the most electrifying man in sports entertainment. Thanks Dwayne.

9- Eddie Guererro
This guy had it all. He was funny, intense and so entertaining. His lie, cheat and steal gimmick won over the hearts of wrestling fans. My match with Eddie at WM20 was priceless. And to think that Eddie was past his prime when we wrestled me is amazing. He was actually better in WCW and thats pretty scary. Because of a car accident, Eddie wasn’t at his very best when we locked horns, but he was still one of the greatest. Thanks for the memories Eddie. #RIPEddie

8- Brock Lesnar
Need I say more? The beast incarnate. NOBODY moved the way Leanar did at 300+ pounds. Watch WM19 and our Smackdown 1 hour Ironman match. Brock was one of the quickest to rise to the top and he absolutely deserved it. Brock is a badass PERIOD. Hence “NCAA Champion/UFC Champion.

7- Shane McMahon
Shane shouldn’t even be in the top 10 but every time he wrestles, he delivers. He knows when to do it and how to do it. Nobody will be as good of a wrestler as Shane was when he wasn’t even a wrestler, if that makes any sense. But Shane is a money fighter. When he wrestles, people spend money.

6- Bobby Roode
Bobby was SO underrated. He had everything! A great mix of Curt Hennig and Arn Anderson. Bobby was outstanding in the ring and understood what it took to light up the arena. Our best matches were in my latter years, 2013-16. He may be the most underrated wrestler I’ve ever known. Watch out for this guy. He will make a path of destruction wherever he goes. He’s that good.

5-  AJ Styles
AJ and I didn’t wait very long to tear it up in the ring after I came to TNA. AJ had the best psychology and chemistry of any wrestler I wrestled in TNA.  We had numerous matches between 2007-10 that were match-of-the-year candidates. AJ is pound for pound one of the best today. Super Athlete.

4- Undertaker
Here is a man who rarely spoke and when he did, “everybody” was nervous. But Undertaker’s legacy is NOT his 21 straight WM Wins. It’s how good he made other wrestlers look. His psychology was EASY to understand. And that’s why he’s one of the greatest of all time. Easy and Simple. But soooo effective. Watch “No Way Out 2006” to see how talented The Deadman truly is.

3-Stone Cold Steve Austin
We all know who this guy is. But nobody understands how good he was in the ring. His persona was larger than life so all we cared about was what he said and how many beers he drank after his matches. But this man was a ring general. A leader. An improviser. He would do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted and it worked. NOBODY will be a better ring general that Austin. Nobody will understand how talented he was unless you were in the ring with him. He was the best.

2-Chris Benoit
I won’t say much here but watch Royal Rumble 2003. If you don’t think that was one of the top 3 greatest matches of all time, then you’re probably not a wrestling enthusiast, or not that smart. LOL. That’s it.

1- Shawn Michaels
Where do I start? WM21 was the first time I ever wrestled Shawn. But that didn’t stop Shawn and I from stealing the show. Shawn is the “showstopper” and I agree. Rumor is Shawn could wrestle for 30 minutes and end the match at exactly the 30 minute mark. Then he could go out and cut a promo for 12 minutes and end on the 12 minute mark. Exactly to the second. Shawn had impeccable timing. He had it all. His character, his enthusiasm. His talent. In my mind he was the most exciting wrestler to get into the ring. Shawn and I delivered on all three matches we wrestled. But because they were “feature” matches and not “title” matches they have always been downplayed.  Or because I went to TNA. LOL. Either way they deserve better mention.

I hope you enjoyed my top 12 (or so) wrestlers. It was fun to lay this out for all of you to see. And my career isn’t over yet. Stay tuned for more. Peace!