Source: Fox Sports
Kurt Angle spoke with Fox Sports before his upcoming induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. Here are some of the highlights:
"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."
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."
Missing out on a part-time contract with WWE:
"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!"
Kurt Angle also discussed more on John Cena and picking up pro wrestling quickly. You can read the full interview by clicking here.
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