Kurt Angle’s final WWE run started with a tag match alongside The Shield at TLC in 2017 and it ended in defeat to Baron Corbin at WrestleMania 35.
Many were surprised and even disappointed that Angle’s retirement match featured Corbin. But Angle said his body was breaking down at that point, and because of his year-long storyline with Corbin, WWE proceeded with that as his final feud rather than having Angle stick around for another year to find a different opponent.
He went into more detail about his final WWE run when Angle spoke to Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast.
“You understand what [Vince McMahon] did? He brought me back and had me settled in without doing anything physical,” Angle said of first coming back for the WWE HOF and then being named GM before wrestling again. “He continued to drug test me to make sure I was staying clean. Eventually he had me wrestle, but by then my body was arthritic.
“If you’re just sitting around for 9-12 months and they call you to wrestle, it’s not gonna be the same Kurt Angle that everybody knows. When I finally started wrestling, it was too late for me. I don’t blame Vince for that because I know what he was trying to do and making sure I was okay? But for me, it was like ‘Damn!’ I could have had a championship run and wrestled Rollins, A.J. Styles and Roman Reigns.”
Angle says he would have preferred to wrestle first, then be GM and finally go into the HOF. But WWE had other ideas and they went in reverse.
The ring rust didn’t do Angle’s body any favors which led to WWE speeding up their WrestleMania 35 plans for him which left Corbin as the only suitable opponent.
“I actually called [McMahon] two months before ‘Mania,” Angle said,” and I told him, ‘I can’t do this anymore. We gotta figure out a way to have me retire at ‘Mania.’ He said, ‘Not a problem.'”
While Angle requested another opponent other than Corbin, WWE already had plans for him to wrestle Corbin at WrestleMania. Vince McMahon told him that the storyline with him and Corbin cost him a lot of money and Angle was going to pay it off at WrestleMania 35.
“I don’t think a lot of fans understand why, but Vince made the right move,” stated Angle. “Now it’s my fault, if I wanted to retire and wrestle someone like John Cena, A.J. Styles or Seth Rollins, then I should have waited a year. But we had to speed it up.”
Angle then clarified an earlier comment he made in which he said he was not retired.
“What I meant by ‘not retired’ is that I’m gonna keep working. Not wrestling, but working. I will never retire but I’ve retired from wrestling,” stated Angle.
In retirement Angle has done some acting and is in the movie Chasing Molly. The film features lots of improvisational lines and Angle talked about the improv freedom he had.
“Yeah, it’s really crazy to me how it blended together because we were all saying our own things and doing it our own way. It was more of a free set and we were told we had to get certain points across. We did that and the movie told a good story,” said Angle before adding the biggest difference between movies and wrestling. “The huge difference is with movies you get more than one take. I’m so accustomed with having to do it my first time. When I was on the set, I did a lot of takes my first time. They might have wanted to do it over again, but I pretty much nailed most of them on the first take and that’s attributed to the wrestling business.
“It’s sink or swim [in wrestling] and if you can’t swim, you’re gonna sink and drown. So you have one shot to do it and you better be good.”
Kurt Angle plays drug kingpen Mr Black in the new raunchy, independent comedy Chasing Molly. It is now available on demand.
Angle’s full interview with Wrestling Inc was included as part of today’s of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post. In it Angle discusses his role in the new independent film Chasing Molly, what could bring him out of retirement for one more match, being looked at as a liability by WWE, AEW’s deal with TNT, why Baron Corbin was his final WWE opponent and more.