Kurt Angle recently appeared on Ring Rust Radio to talk about his WWE Hall of Fame induction and more. Here are the highlights.
Ring Rust Radio: You recently listed Steve Austin, John Cena and The Undertaker as your preferred choices to induct you into the Hall of Fame with Stone Cold at the top of the list. How much input do you anticipate having regarding who inducts you, and how important is it to you that one of the three you mentioned gets the nod?
“I wanted someone that had a huge impact on the business and no one had a bigger impact than those three. With John Cena, I was more of a teacher to John when he started in WWE. I was his first match. Not only that, but Vince McMahon put me with him to kind of teach the trade a little bit, and for six or seven months, we traveled the world and I was giving him my advice and trying to bring him along. Vince really loved John and I don’t blame them for that. He is very marketable, great personality and he’s a great athlete. It was my job to kind of groom him a little bit. The Undertaker and Austin, I don’t have to say much about those two. They are the biggest names in wrestling. They taught me a lot about the trade, in ring psychology, what to do and timing. They taught me more than anybody, and I would add up there Triple H as well. I know I won’t get Triple H because he is a Talent Relation director, but I wanted one of those three. I have not been told whether or not if I could pick, but I don’t believe the talent is the one that gets to pick. I think WWE sets up who they want to induct you. I would be surprised if it wasn’t one of those three. Vince McMahon and Triple H know the type of relationship I have with Undertaker and John Cena and Stone Cold. They do know I want one of those three, so looks like it will be one of those three.”
Ring Rust Radio: WWE obviously still has a heavy reliance on veteran performers with Brock Lesnar against Goldberg shaping up as one of the WrestleMania main events. When you see a guy like Goldberg return and potentially be on the verge of winning the Universal Championship, how does that impact your desire to wrestle again for WWE and your belief that WWE will ask you to wrestle again?
“I thing that gives me a lot of hope. Goldberg’s a great wrestler and in his prime he was the man, especially for WCW. I don’t think his WWE career ended the way he wanted it to, but he is an incredible athlete and he has done a lot of pro wrestling. It’s nice to see somebody of his stature and somebody that hasn’t been there in 14 years to go in there and get a great spot. It does give me a lot of hope. I wouldn’t doubt once we get pass the Hall of Fame, I take the physical and pass it, which most likely they are going to want me to do. I wouldn’t doubt that I would be in the title hunt. When you have big names like that you have to use them the right way. You don’t put them on an opening card match and not promote that. When you have a name like Goldberg, or Brock Lesnar comes back, or the Undertaker comes back when he’s been gone for 10 months, or a Kurt Angle that hasn’t been there in 12 years, you’re going to want to put them in a pretty high profile spot. I expect that if I do wrestle, so I’m looking forward to it. I’ve kept my body in great shape. I’ve been wrestling the Indies with great talent like Del Rio, Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio just to keep my body in shape in case WWE does call me, I’m ready to go.”
Ring Rust Radio: You confirmed a few years ago on Jim Ross’ podcast that you once had a shoot wrestling match with Brock Lesnar and that you managed to beat him. After seeing what Brock did in his return to UFC and knowing how much of a physical specimen he is, how do you think you’d fare if you faced him again, and would you have any interest in doing that?
“Gosh no! He’d kick my ass. Guys, I’m 48 years old, when I got in the ring with Brock I was in my prime. I was 37 or 38, but that was the best I felt my life other than my neck. The injuries with my neck had a lot to do with why I left WWE. I broke my neck four times in two and a half years. It was a very bad time for me and I got addicted to painkillers and I felt like I was a liability to Vince. I opted out and after my release, I didn’t speak to Vince for eleven years. When I did wrestle Brock, the rumors fly around, but it was a very close match. Basically, whoever got the first takedown in the match it was going to be over and I fortunately got that takedown. It lasted 15 minutes and we went at it for a long time. I knew I would beat Brock. There’s a difference between an NCAA champion and Olympic gold medalist even if I did give up 80 pounds. Brock was about 310 pounds back then and I was about to 225, but I’ve always wrestled guys that size. I wrestled heavyweight in college, so I wasn’t new to it. I think Brock knew that he got beat. Brock is the greatest athlete I’ve ever gotten in the ring with. He can be the best at whatever he wants to be. He was an NCAA champion, a UFC champion and he was one cut away from making an NFL team and without ever playing a game in his life. The Minnesota Vikings wanted him to go to NFL Europe for a year and come back. They were going to do a deal with him. He would’ve been a ten time All-Pro there’s no doubt about it. I know his capabilities and he has that kind of potential. He would’ve been a Hall of Famer in any sport he wanted to. To show that kind of versatility, not many people can do that. Brock is a special athlete not because he is so big and strong, but because he’s such a great damn athlete and one of the best I ever got in the ring with.”