Recently, Kurt Angle was a guest on BBC Radio 2's Steve Wright in the Afternoon to promote TNA's upcoming tour of the UK, which will be the Olympic Gold Medalist's final UK tour with TNA. Angle talked about how professional wrestling gained mainstream acceptance, what kind of say he had over his character when he first started out in the professional wrestling business, and who he thinks are the greatest showmen in professional wrestling history.
"I think the reason why [professional wrestling] became so big is because Vince McMahon and WWE decided to come out of the closet and say, 'this is sports entertainment, we're just trying to entertain you, and it just took off'. And fans were more intrigued by the fact that it wasn't real than the fact that pro wrestling was trying to hide that it was."
Angle, who entered the world of professional wrestling without a background in the industry, admitted that he had no say over his character when he started out.
"I wasn't that creative. Honestly, I had no say. I just did what I was told and it worked rather well." Angle added, "you could bring your own flavor to the table and you could say, 'this is the character I want to be', but it's really up to the big man to say, 'okay, this is what you're going to do'. A lot of wrestlers came up with a character and it got shot down. Vince McMahon or Dixie Carter, who run [WWE and TNA, respectively], they would say, 'no, we'd rather you do this' and then you have to do it."
Angle named Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, The Rock, and John Cena as the greatest showmen in professional wrestling history. Angle praised Cena for his unprecedented run as the face of WWE.
"What [Cena has] been able to do the last ten years is rather phenomenal from a tough guy's point of view because no one [has] been able to stay on top [for that long]. I was on top for a good four or five years in WWE and I was hurting pretty badly. John Cena [has] been on top since 2005. It [has] been almost 11 years. I don't know how he [has] been able to do that. I literally had to leave WWE because my body couldn't handle [it]."
On the subject of whether Hogan can make a comeback, Angle said that he could, partly because Hogan was never renowned for his wrestling ability anyway.
"I think that Hulk could still draw. You have to remember, Hulk Hogan was never considered a great athlete. He had certain things he did. His finish is a leg drop. He just drops a leg on a guy. He can still do it because he [has] never been considered a technical wrestler. He [has] been more of a showman and more of a character. When you have that type of character, you can go forever."
In addition to these topics, Angle discussed injuries, working stiff, and more. Click here to check out the entire interview. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Steve Wright in the Afternoon with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Steve Wright in the Afternoon