WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle was on a recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast where he discussed with Wrestling Inc.'s Nick Hausman AEW and their run so far. Angle said that he watches Dynamite from time to time, and he noted that AEW will have a hard time being the number one wrestling company in the world. Noting past history has shown that other companies have been unsuccessful at trying to top WWE.
"Every once in a while. I'm a big fan of Jericho and Cody Rhodes," Angle stated. "I love watching those guys work. So I turn it on here and there. I bounce back between NXT and AEW whenever I have time. A lot of times I'm working at my supplement company until late hours, so some weeks, I don't get to see it, but AEW's done really well. I said last year, don't expect this company to be number one. It never will be.
"Be happy with number two, and I also said I don't know if they'll stay in business only because of what we've seen in history. WCW [and] TNA had a good run, and they dropped. They're working their way back. Even Ring of Honor had a pretty good run. They're not getting as huge now as they did when they peaked. All these companies, they put a lot of money into their product, and they don't have a lot to show for it.
Angle noted that WWE has many TV deals worth a lot of money making it hard for other wrestling companies to compete on that level. However, Angle believes that AEW is doing well so far, and he hopes AEW can survive and thrive for years to come.
"WWE's just a money machine no matter what happens. Regardless of how many tickets they sell, their TV deals alone are worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year," Angle pointed out. "You got a billion dollar deal with FOX. You got a billion dollar deal with USA Network. That alone, NXT, RAW and SmackDown, you're doing about $450 million a year in revenue for TV, just those three. Then they have the other International TV deals and everything else. So it's a money machine. I think AEW's going to need to pick up more TV deals as long as they're making money, they'll survive, but I don't I don't know if Tony Khan wants to continue to throw millions of dollars when there's not going to be anything coming back, but I'm changing my mind now.
"I think they got a little momentum, and I think they're gonna survive at least for several years. So they've done a great job, and they continue to climb little by little in ratings. I heard they beat NXT so something's going on. Jericho and Cody and all the other guys, they're doing something over there, and I also know it's a little more laid back there. You get your own creativity and do your own things. So it's a little different than WWE, but I think they'll have a good run. I don't know how long will it be, but hopefully, it'll be a long time because it's great for all the wrestlers, but WWE is number one. I don't see it ever going number two."
Many former WWE wrestlers are now with AEW either has wrestlers, managers or producers. Angle was asked if he could join AEW in the future, but he shot that idea down. He talked about his return to WWE after wrestling in the indies and how even though he got his Hall of Fame induction, he wanted to come back as a wrestler first but was instead made GM of RAW.
"Right now, I would say it's off the table," Angle admitted. "I'm OK where I am. The thing is, when I came back to WWE, I wasn't expecting what I got, and I was very grateful. I got the Hall of Fame. I wanted the Hall of Fame, but I didn't want it first. I wanted it last, and I wanted to wrestle first. I took a year off from TNA. I was wrestling Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes, Alberto Del Rio, Joe Coffey from the UK, Zack Saber Jr. [and] a lot of great athletes, and I was ready.
"When I was inducted into the Hall of Fame, that night Vince McMahon told me I was going to be the general manager, and I was like, 'aw man, I wanted to wrestle. Now they're going to have me inactive, and I was in active. I only probably wrestled three matches in the next year and a half. So being inactive and not bumping in the ring and not really training, my body got arthritic, and by the time I was wrestling for Vince, for WWE, I looked like an old man."
Angle discussed more about how much ring rust affected him and how he decided himself that he was going to retire. There were other opponents discussed for Angle's WrestleMania 35 match, but Angle revealed that he wanted to wrestle John Cena. However, Angle was in a storyline with Baron Corbin, and he admitted that it did make sense for them to wrestle at WrestleMania to conclude their feud. He also revealed that he was offered a chance to wrestle Cena the year after, but he decided it was time for him to retire.
"It just caught up to me, the inactivity. Believe it or not, everybody thinks that wrestling is the best thing for you, but that's not always the case, especially in professional wrestling. If you're not active in the ring every week, at least every week or every night, then you're going to go stale, your body's going to become stiff and arthritic, especially when you're in as long as I was. The opportunity passed by and I decided that I was going to retire. I wasn't supposed to retire when I did, but I told Vince I don't want to do it anymore, and that's when I said, I'd like to wrestle Cena.
"He said I can't give him to you this year because you had a program with Corbin the last eight months, you got to finish it up. And Vince was right. So I did it, and he said if you want Cena next year, we could talk about it. And I said no, I'm done this year. So that was my choice. And I'm glad I stuck to it. I didn't like the way I looked, and it was a little embarrassing."
Kurt Angle's new snack brand www.PhysicallyFIT.com Protein Bites are now available! Angle's full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.