During the first episode of The Kurt Angle Show, WWE Hall of Famer and Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle talked about his addiction to painkillers. At WrestleMania 19, he faced Brock Lesnar in the main event even though Angle was dealing with a broken neck. Angle talked about how his addiction first started in 2003 when he broke his neck, and how bad it got over time.
“The first time Brock broke my neck in 2003, that’s when I was introduced to painkillers,” Angle said. “The second I took them, I loved them. It took the pain away, it gave me energy, it got me up, it made me feel really energetic.
“I started taking them, when one didn’t work I started taking 2, 2 went to 4, 4 went to 8, 8 went to 16, I got completely out of control. I was taking 65 extra strength Vicodin a day before I started trying to fix the problem. I got myself dug into a hole and I had to get myself out.”
Angle said he hid his addiction from everyone else in the locker room. He noted that even Vince McMahon had no idea what was going on.
“I didn’t really tell anybody,” Angle said. “I hid it really well. Vince didn’t know it was occurring, a couple of the boys saw me sneaking pills so they knew I was taking them but they didn’t know how many. Nobody knew I had a serious problem like that.”
Angle talked about being injured and how it negatively impacted his addiction. He said after losing to Lesnar at WrestleMania 19 and becoming General Manager of SmackDown, his issues just became worse.
“I was just trying to find a way out,” Angle said. “Once I injured my neck, I got the GM job and I was being wheeled around a wheelchair and I got really self absorbed in the painkillers at that point. The people I was hanging around with were a bad influence. It wasn’t the right thing for me and I had to get myself straight.”
Angle mentioned on the podcast that he was given two options to fix his neck issues, a massive surgery with surgeon Dr. Youngblood that would force him to retire, or a clean-up surgery with a lesser known doctor that would leave him out for three months and be able to wrestle again. Kurt talked about not wanting to retire and choosing to do the clean-up in order to get back in the ring as soon as possible. He also mentioned how that decision has affected him throughout his life to the point that he’s going to need another surgery sometime in the future.
“I knew that if I did that, I wouldn’t be able to wrestle anymore,” Angle said. “It’s crazy how God works in crazy ways. When I got home, another doctor called and gave me an option. It was a tough decision because Dr. Youngblood was so reputable.
“He did help Rhyno and Edge and Austin, but to have to retire in the prime of my career, I just wasn’t ready for that. I made the choice to have the minimal surgery and continue to wrestle. I’m not going to lie, I’m suffering now for it. I feel it everyday. Eventually someday I’m going to have to have a big surgery.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Kurt Angle Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.