FOX Sports interviewed WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2017 inductee, Kurt Angle, who shared his sentiments on part-time deals becoming more prevalent for certain wrestlers in WWE. Below are some of the highlights.
Angle on John Cena’s induction for him: “John, you know, I was his first match when he started in WWE, and I knew right then that he was very special. I also knew that this kid was going to give me a rough time being the top guy in the company. Because at the time I was one of the top guys, I would say myself and Triple H, and to have this young kid come up and the company asked me to help teach him a little bit. It was like… ‘wait a minute, I’m teaching this kid to take my spot?! But John was really good. He was a great student, great learner. I mean, look what he’s done. I can’t even take any credit for it. John is a 16-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, no one’s ever done that. Ric Flair has 16 world titles, but they’re not all in WWE.”
Angle on where he puts himself in the history books: “You know what, to be honest with you… I haven’t been there [WWE] in 11 years. You can only have so much impact when you’re in a company for six and a half years [and] you’re injured for a year and a half of it, so really five years. Would I put myself in the history books as the greatest wrestler of all time? Yes. But not ‘WWE Superstar’. I was only there six and a half years. I also had a pro career in TNA for 11. You can’t combine them together unless you’re talking from a non-WWE standpoint. And the WWE is the monster, it’s everything. The longer you’re in there and the more successful you are, the more accolades you should have. I wasn’t John Cena, I couldn’t stay on top for 14 years. I tried. Very few individuals could do that. I’ll give you an example: Who I think is the greatest of all time is – but he just wasn’t there enough – was Stone Cold Steve Austin. He had a great run for five years, but he was also out a year of that. So his top babyface run was about five years, but he was out with a neck injury for a year. Nobody can sustain it like John Cena has, and consistency is definitely a key when you’re talking about the greatest of all time. Did I have consistency after WWE? Yes, but I had to go to another company and have a much-reduced schedule in order to do it.”
Angle on how part-time contracts weren’t really an option in WWE in 2006: “Now back in 2006, they weren’t handing out part-time contracts at the time. I mean, I wish they would have, but they weren’t. Very few wrestlers had them, like a Shawn Michaels or an Undertaker, so it wasn’t an option back then. What’s crazy is two years after I left, they started doing that. It was like ‘damnit! I just missed it by two years.’ I would have stayed in WWE. I went to rehab back in 2006 and I got myself straight, took Vince McMahon’s advice, and I would have stayed. I wanted to stay, I just knew I couldn’t do that schedule. At the time, unfortunately, it wasn’t an option to be a part-timer, and I do understand it, because I was only in the business at that point for six and a half years. Part-timers usually have to put in that 20 or so years. So I understood that, but two or three years later they started doing that. It kind of sucked [laughs]. I missed that moment where I could have stayed, and I could have been a 25-time World Champion!”