Kurt Angle, the WWE Hall of Famer, is one of the few amateur wrestlers in history who made a seamless transition to the world of pro wrestling. However, Angle is the first to admit that he was not entirely sure if he had the tools to succeed in sports entertainment.
"Initially, I thought Vince (McMahon) would only use me as a wrestler and that I wouldn't have to speak much. Frankly, I thought I would be assigned a manager," Angle said on the BASCHAMANIA Podcast.
While Angle was admittedly nervous to get behind the microphone, Vince McMahon asked the 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist to cut a promo soon after his debut match at the 1999 Survivor Series.
"A night before my debut, Vince had me rehearse a preconceived promo at my hometown of Pittsburgh. He was instructing me on what to say but didn't write down the lines," recalled Angle.
The night after defeating Shawn Stasiak in his debut match, Angle cut the promo in which he presented himself as a role model and stressed the importance of the 3 I's, namely Intensity, Integrity and Intelligence. Angle recounted a story from the night of his debut.
"When I got to the arena in Detroit, I forgot my lines," Angle revealed. "Vince was pissed at me and said, 'Ok, here are the lines again but you better not forget again.'"
Turns out, Angle got "about 70 percent" of his lines right, which left McMahon very impressed.
"Vince said, 'Ok, I asked this guy to a cut a promo without a script and he did really well. We have something to build off here," added Angle.
Interestingly, Angle went on to highlight the extensive work put into the promo skills by today's wrestlers, especially at NXT.
"Back then, everything was spontaneous. We were going from arena to arena, taking bumps, and learning on the fly. We never had time to work on our promos. Today, in NXT, the wrestlers work extensively on their promos, matches, and pre-takes. They are very polished," said Angle.
During the podcast, Angle also stressed that despite entering the WWE as an amateur wrestler, he cut "more promos and pretakes than any other wrestler not named The Rock" during the Attitude Era. Angle also mentioned that he was on WWE television "more than anyone else between 2000 and 2006."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit BASCHAMANIA Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.