Kurt Angle Reveals Favorite Part Of His Wrestling Career

"I have what they call a 'contingency plan,' and this contingency plan Kurt Angle, this concept is called 'Team Angle,'" said Paul Heyman on the December 26, 2002, episode of "WWE Smackdown." With that revelation, Heyman gleefully introduced Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin to Kurt, who was now the WWE Champion and the captain of his own team. 

"This was awesome," said Kurt on the "Kurt Angle Show" podcast. "This was my favorite part of my career. I just felt that Team Angle didn't last long enough and it had a lot to do with my injuries, unfortunately. But I would've loved Team Angle to go on for years."

Six weeks after being introduced, Haas and Benjamin defeated Los Guerreros to win the WWE Tag Team Championships. At No Way Out 2003, Team Angle faced Brock Lesnar and Chris Benoit in a 3-on-2 handicap match. The following month at WrestleMania XIX, all of Team Angle entered as champions. While Haas and Benjamin successfully retained their tag team championships, Kurt lost the WWE Championship to Lesnar in the main event and would be out of action for the next several months due to needing neck surgery.

When Kurt returned on the June 5, 2003, episode of "WWE Smackdown," Haas and Benjamin were nowhere to be found as they had "called in sick." The following week, Benjamin told Kurt they were sick of being in his shadow, while Haas informed Kurt a leadership change was imminent as he and Benjamin voted themselves co-captains of Team Angle. Amused by the attempted mutiny, Kurt reminded the duo he was the founder of Team Angle, which meant he was "the head of making decisions," and his decision that night was kicking both Haas and Benjamin out of Team Angle.

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit "Kurt Angle Show" podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.