Author Archives: RealKurtAngle

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!

 

 

20 Years Ago

07-31-1996On Sunday, July 31, it will be exactly 20 years since I had the rare privilege of representing my country in the Olympic Games. It was beyond a dream come true.

Back then, I found myself battling a person known to be perhaps the best wrestler on the planet. He was, as I was, a former world champion in freestyle wrestling. It was a battle of two of the best in the 220-pound weight class. Abbas Jadidi vs Kurt Angle. Very few people thought I had a shot at beating him.

Jadidi was leading in the Olympics after beating Leri Khebolov, a 7-time world and Olympic champion, 8-1. In the Olympic freestyle wrestling circle, that score is a complete ass-whooping. Was I concerned? No. I knew that if I wrestled in my style I could win. What was my plan? Getting Jadidi exhausted. And I did. We were tied 1-1 when the bell sounded. We then wrestled 3 more minutes in overtime. It was close, and either of us could have claimed the title. But in the last 30 seconds I hit my trademark move, the low single, and took him down. We were still in a stalemate position when time expired. I thought I had scored and won 2-1. But the judges didn’t award me the point.

So we waited. And waited. And waited. It seemed like an eternity. When the judges decided the winner, the referee stood between Jadidi and I. Both of us were expecting the ref to raise our hands. Jadidi raised his own arm, and my world collapsed. I had lost. I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied with second place, so I thought “four more years of training 10 hours a day. Four more years of torture and focus and stress”. Then, in an instant, the ref put Jadidi’s arm down and raised mine. The rest is history. I was now one of the elite who had won both a world championship and Olympic Gold. I could finally breathe and relax. It was such a euphoric feeling, to think back to the 6-year-old by from Pittsburgh who dreamed of standing on the Olympic podium, and realize the dream had come true.

I thanked my Lord Jesus Christ and thought of my dad, my grandmother and my mentor Dave Schultz, all of whom passed away prior to the Olympics. Then I looked for my mom. I saw her in the stands crying, and I cried (I’m actually crying while I write this). I made my mom so proud. Who would have thought I would win this prestigious title? I was an ordinary kid growing up, but became extraordinary because of hard work and a family’s incredible passion for this sport.

I look back now and it’s all a blur. But it was incredible. Becoming the best in the world and sacrificing so much for that moment. It defined me. Thank you, Lord, for that amazing moment. I thank God, my country, my mom and dad, my brothers and sister and the rest of my family. I thank my coaches and especially Dave Schultz.

Twenty years later, July 31, 1996 is still fresh in my mind and will stick with me for eternity. That moment is who I am and what I stand for. So to all of you reading this, make your dreams a reality. It’s worth every second you sacrifice. And you, too, will celebrate the moment of victory as I do each and every year, no matter what your dream is. It’s true.

Forgive yourself

Forgive Yourself- Kurt Angle Official BlogWe have all made terrible decisions in our lives. Some of them we make instantaneously, and some of them we have made after a lot of thought. Sometimes we make them because we absolutely hate ourselves, and other times we make bad decisions out of selfishness.

It’s not easy, but the only thing we can do is forgive ourselves and move forward.

I know that some of my terrible decisions were made because I absolutely despised myself. My issues with pain killers came at a time when I was getting injured repeatedly. My body wasn’t holding up the way I wanted it to, and I fed myself constant medication to numb the pain both physically and mentally. I was in a horrible relationship at the time, and I kept losing loved ones — my father, my coach, my sister, my grandmother, just to name a few.

Loathing yourself is easy, and it makes you do nasty things. I used to drink myself to sleep, hoping the next day of my life would be better. And my life really wasn’t that bad. One day I woke up and realized I wasn’t getting anywhere, and my life was depressing and stagnant. I decided that my life was worth living, that I had a wonderful woman in my life, my wife, Giovanna; that my 4 beautiful kids needed the proper support of a loving father; and that I was better than that.

I have been clean and sober for 3 years, and I have learned how to forgive myself for my mistakes. I am thankful for all of the dark moments in my life, because I know what it feels like to hit rock bottom, and I know I don’t want to be there again. I have learned that my bad decisions do not define me, and for the first time ever I have learned to love myself. Not even winning a gold medal made me feel “good enough.”

The most important things in my life are serving God and providing for my family. That is my true purpose. You, too, are good enough for God, or you wouldn’t be here. So always remember that no matter how dark your life becomes, you deserve better. But only you can change your path. Lots of prayer and positive reinforcement will help, and you have to forgive yourself for your mistakes. They are in the past, so leave them there and forget them. Your life will get better if you truly want it to. It’s damn true.

Creating a Champion

Creating a Champion- Kurt Angle Official BlogAs a parent, one of the things that I expect from my children, is that they will always give their very best. In the classroom, on the playing field, and as a member of society.

My name is Kurt Angle and I’m a champion. How did I become the very best? Well…it’s no secret, it was my family. I grew up the youngest of 6 kids. Sports were a huge part of life in my family and we talked about it all of the time. My dad was a football player in the Army. Football was our first love and we all were incredible players. Then, my brother Mark got into trouble in high school. It seemed he enjoyed beating people up more than anything, and if you grew up in Pittsburgh, you’ve heard of his fighting legacy. That same legacy landed him in a juvenile detention center for almost 2 years. Mark was a real badass with some anger issues, and although Mark followed my oldest brother David’s passion for football, he fell in love with wrestling after he got out of “Juvy”. The wrestling coach said to Mark, “Welcome to wrestling. We are going to turn that rage you have into something positive, a wrestling champion”. And soon, he was. (Mark has used that athletic work ethic to have a highly successful career as a business agent in the Boilermakers today.) The rest of us joined him in his love for wrestling. Johnny was next, Le’Anne became a wrestling cheerleader (although she could grapple very well herself and would have given Ronda Rousey a run for her money today!), then my brother Eric. Eric landed himself a wrestling scholarship to Waynesburg University because of his success. Then came yours truly. What made me excel more than the others? Well, where do I start? I was the youngest. The youngest ALWAYS has higher expectations because my older siblings gave me something to shoot for. I wanted to be even better than them. How did I do it??? Failure. Getting my ass kicked by my brothers. It lit a spark under me like you wouldn’t believe. And, the fact that Eric was ALWAYS just a little bit better than I was, killed me inside, but it gave me something to aim for. My mindset was “just be better than Eric”, no matter how hard I had to work. When you keep fighting for something that leaves you hollow inside, like something is missing, you can do 2 things….quit, or work even harder to attain it. By my senior year in high school, I could finally say that I was better than Eric.

You can’t make your way to the very top by always winning or having success. None of us wanted to be in 2nd place, but we were many times. It was our desire to excel that separated us from the rest. You need to accept losing and build on it. If my brother Eric wasn’t just a tad better than me, I would have never had that desire to be the best in the world. Getting your ass handed to you is a good thing, if you can spin it into a positive attitude and a desire to be better than the one kicking your ass.

So fail. Fail graciously… lose, lose again, but don’t quit! I promise that something good will come out of it. At best, you become a champion…at the very least you have a work ethic 2nd to none and you can spin it into a successful career. Create a champion by taking lumps. It can even happen to you. And THAT is damn true!!!

Changing the Stigma

Change the Stigma- Kurt Angle Official BlogIt’s no secret that I’ve had trouble in the past with alcohol and medication. I’ve been clean and sober for 3 years. Although it may not seem like a big deal to some of you, it means the world to me that I continue to stay clean. Through therapy, I learned to admit that was an addict. At this point, I prefer to consider myself a man in long term recovery, but these terms do not define me!

There seems to be a stigma that recovering addicts are hopeless. We are FAR from that. What we truly are is strong willed human beings, survivors that have risen out of addiction, and on a long, hard path to recovery. The idea that those that had/have addictions are weak, or second-class citizens that act accordingly impacts us all, both consciously and unconsciously. So, if you meet someone who has had trouble in the past with addiction, and has been clean for a long period time, try to separate the disease from the stigma in your mind. Instead, try to appreciate their daily struggles in life, how far they’ve come, and how far they have to go. Your support gives hope to those who have problems with alcohol and drugs. We can beat this disease.

If you know someone who has been in long-term recovery, shake their hand and let them know how proud of them you truly are. And, if you know somebody who is suffering from addiction, let them know there is hope and to get help right away. We ALL can work together to kick this disease in the ass. #AngleStrong. It’s damn true.

Getting Older

Getting older Kurt Angle BlogEveryone has heard the saying, “The older the wiser”. And it’s damn true. Looking back on my life, I know that I have made mistakes, but they have made me a stronger man and I do not regret making them. I do have one regret, that is that I truly wish I had taken better care of my body.

I always took it for granted that I would be young forever. And I put my body through hell. Amateur wrestling for 20 years. Pro Wrestling for 17 years. That has taken a huge toll on my body. Now that I’m 47 years old, I definitely feel the pain of the 37 years I’ve given to wrestling. There was a time when I was packing on weight to look bigger, lifting very heavily and taking “special” supplements that made it easier to attain my goals. Before a match, I wouldn’t bother to warm up, but would just jump 3 times in the air, slap my hands 3 times and run out to wrestle. I had many injuries because of that carelessness.

I still love to wrestle and entertain the fans. But I know there will be a day when I can’t do it anymore. And I realize I need to live the rest of my life as healthy as possible so I can take care of my wife and kids, not to mention play with the little ones until they get older.

So I am taking care of my body the way I should, and it has helped me to do the things I want to do now. I’m eating better, stretching every day doing DDP Yoga, training smarter and doing the things necessary to live the rest of my life healthy. I wish I had done all of these things throughout my pro wrestling career. But now it’s about longevity, and luckily, I changed my lifestyle early enough to make sure of it. Thank GOD!

Soon I will be coming out with a book about the so-called “secrets” of living a healthy long life. Make sure you pick up a copy and start focusing on your health early, as early as possible. Like right now! Life is not only about what you accomplish, but about how many good, healthy years you have. So live healthy now, and you won’t regret it like I did. Plus life will FEEL so much better. It’s damn true!

God’s Purpose

God's Purpose-Kurt Angle Official BlogHave you ever felt like there was a moment when your life should have ended? In an accident? An overdose? Or some tragedy where others died but you were spared? Maybe you know someone who experienced something like this.

I just watched a show that told the story of a church choir that had 15 members. For different reasons, all 15 singers did not show up for choir practice one day. One member was sleeping and didn’t wake up in time. Another decided she would listen to a radio show instead. One had car trouble. Another decided to study geometry. All 15 members skipped church choir practice on the same day. It was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The church blew up at 7:31 p.m. I believe this was a miracle. An act of God.

We all will leave this Earth at some point in our lives. That’s a given. But if you have been in a situation where you should have or could have died, but you didn’t, then God has an amazing plan for you. Find that plan. Seek it out and keep following it, even if it’s a second chance for you to redeem yourself. Accidents, overdoses, and tragedies happen every day in this world. If you have survived any of those things, then pray. Pray for knowledge of the direction in which God wants you to go. He is not done with you yet. In fact, your life has just begun if you can find out what God truly wants you to do. It’s true!

We must participate!

We must participate-Kurt Angle Official BlogWe are soon going to be a part of the most important democratic process in our country; electing the next President of the United States in November. Some of us care but many of us don’t. We should all care who the next President is going to be. Why? Only because that person will guide our country for the next four years, and that has me and plenty of other people concerned.

Participating in the election process is imperative for all of us who enjoy living in a free country. It sets the tone of our country for the next generation. I’m concerned about how my children’s lives will be when I’m no longer here. The news is filled with stories about threats and potential threats from ISIS, Iran, and North Korea, and some people believe our current President has tried to brush off the activities of those groups and countries. Unemployment numbers might be dropping, but some people point to the fact that better employment rates come from more part-time employees being added to the workforce. If that’s the case, those part-time jobs aren’t enough for people to live on.

There are many things happening now that could look horrifying for our future generations. One thing we can do to change things is vote in November elections. Who we elect as President affects not just our country, but the whole world. Whether you believe it or not, the US is the world leader in just about every category. The world relies on our support. So this election is about a lot more than who we pick to lead our country, it’s also about who our leader will choose for foreign relations positions, the Supreme Court, and other posts. We need unity more than ever. Congressional leaders, some of whom are also running for office, need to drop their “attitudes” and do what’s best for the citizens. So vote this November. And encourage others to vote as well. Your children depend on it. It’s true!!!!!