During a recent episode of the Grilling JR Podcast, Jim Ross talked about first meeting Kurt Angle before he was signed to the company. Ross mentioned how Kurt had an offer on the table from a sports broadcasting company before he accepted his WWE job.
“We brought Kurt in originally for an interview but he had an offer on the table from a local station in Pittsburgh to do sports,” Ross said. “He found out quickly that reading off a prompter and writing his own script was not his cup of tea.
“Then we brought him back, I remember seeing him in the lobby of Titan Tower and I said man, obviously I’m biased but you ain’t got no goddamn business reading T.V. sports. You’re not going to make any money unless you climb the ladder and get to the very top echelon can you make good money. You’re a goddamn athletic freak. You’re a walking PR man’s dream.
Ross also talked about one of Angle’s more memorable moments of his career, main eventing WrestleMania 19 against Brock Lesnar. That card also featured “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock in the final match of their trilogy. Despite Austin wresting his final match against the the Rock, Ross explained why Angle vs. Lesnar went on last.
“They closed WrestleMania 19, that wasn’t the plan,” Ross mentioned. “Austin spent the night in the hospital and even though he demanded he was okay to work and the doctors cleared him, we were worried that he and Rock, the third match between the two might not be what they were looking for based on Steve’s condition. We switched that around and that did not make The Rock or Austin happy. There’s something about closing the show.
“I tried to get Steve to work a tag [team match] one time in LA before a couple days of T.V. and Vince intervened and said he wanted him to go on early so he gets some rest. I redid the lineup, gave it to Jack Lanza who was the road agent, Lanza told Steve and of course my phone rings, ‘What the hell is going on? I didn’t work all my goddamn life to go home at intermission?’ That night on Sunday night he went on last, I rebooked the card.”
In the main event the show, Lesnar climbed the top rope and attempted a Shooting Star Press that saw him missing and landing on his head. Ross talked about the top rope maneuver by Lesnar and why there was no place for that in the match.
“I don’t remember who the agent was for that match,” Ross said. “They should’ve been fired for sanctioning and allowing your 295 pound phenom Brock Lesnar to do a Shooting Star Press. It made no f***ing sense. It didn’t help anything. It was a spot. Everything that I preach about how you can’t build your match around one spot and we’re lucky he didn’t break his neck.
“I remember talking to Brock and his dad after the show and I told Mr. Lesnar your boy got lucky tonight. He tried to do things little guys could do to show everybody he could do it. And he could do anything but that ain’t going to happen again. I understand you want to have a sensational spot, but the risk/reward fine line between success and failure is very very thin.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.