In 2006, Kurt Angle left the WWE and didn’t appear again inside a WWE ring until 2017, 11 years later.
The Olympic Gold Medalist went in depth on the story of how he was let-go by WWE on the latest episode of The Kurt Angle Podcast, which culminated with a meeting in Vince McMahon’s office. On a previous episode of the podcast, Angle detailed how he would send Vince very violent voicemails and text messages during his time in ECW, which Vince would avoid.
In the lead up to his release, Angle also revealed that he showed up to a meeting with Vince and others, and dropped his pants to reveal the many injuries he was dealing with at the time, setting up the meeting he spoke about on this podcast.
“I’ve never told this story publicly, this is the first time ever,” Angle said. “I went to Vince’s office. I was with my manager, Dave, and in the office was Shane McMahon, John Laurinaitis, and Vince McMahon. I walk in and Vince tells us to sit down, and I look in front of me and there were about seven pages of typed text messages and voicemails that I left Vince and people in the office. I was like, ‘What the hell are these?’ And I’m reading them, and it says, ‘Vince, I’m going to kick your ass when I see you. Vince, if you don’t call me back, I’m going to beat the s--t out of you.’ All these threats.
“I’m like, I don’t remember doing this. And I remembered, oh my gosh, my painkillers. See, I never wrestled high. Not once did I ever wrestle high. I always took what I was supposed to – 1 painkiller every four hours. But when the show was over, that’s when the addict Kurt Angle came in, and I would throw down 20-25 pills at a time. I wouldn’t even know. I would black out and not know what I was doing.
“I was letting out my frustrations by texting Vince because Vince was distancing himself from me at this particular time because my behavior was erratic. I was getting injured. I was pushing to get the title and I was pushing to get on pay per views for the reason I wanted to get paid. There were a lot of things going on that Vince was like, ‘Okay, I need to back away from this guy for a little bit and focus more on John Cena, which I completely understood now. But at the time, I didn’t.
“Reading the text messages, as I’m doing it, Vince says, ‘Do you want to beat my ass?’ And he stands up and takes his jacket off, he goes, ‘Let’s fight right now.’ I’m like, holy s--t, my boss, the man I look up to as a father figure wants to beat my ass. I look around the room and Shane is over half way out of his seat. If I get up, Shane’s going to jump me. Not that Vince needs it because Vince is a badass, he really is. He didn’t need Shane to get involved but Shane, being the son of Vince, wanted to make sure his dad was okay. I was like, this isn’t going to turn out well and I don’t want to fight Vince. I never did want to fight him. I was angry at myself, I was angry at the company. So, I left the room.”
Angle continued to go in-depth on what happened that day when he met with McMahon to discuss his future in WWE. The WWE Hall of Famer says he specifically told Vince, ‘If you don’t release me, I think I’m going to kill myself’ by overdosing on pain killers.
“I go outside, I start crying,” Angle detailed. “I don’t know what to do. The company wouldn’t release me up until this point, they wanted to keep me. They just wanted me to go to rehab, take a break, and come back. I came back into [the room] and I knew I had to get out of this environment, at least for a little while. So, I walked back in and I said to Vince, ‘Vince, I can’t do this anymore.’ I was crying, and I said, ‘If you don’t release me, I think I’m going to kill myself.’ I didn’t mean I was going to commit suicide. I meant that I was going to accidentally kill myself, overdose on pain killers, wrestle myself to death. I didn’t know and I had to get out.
“Vince looked at me and said, ‘You’re released. Take a break, go to rehab, come back, and we’ll have a contract waiting for you. Just take your time.’ I appreciated it, I was very grateful. Thing is, I didn’t talk to him for 11 years. When I came back to WWE in 2017, the first thing he said to me was, ‘Kurt, you were a real pain in the ass.’ It was like, man, I really was. I was so hard to deal with, and I couldn’t do anything but apologize to him a hundred times because I knew I was wrong. We made amends and the rest is history. I have a great relationship with him now. This is the first time I told that story, and it was really difficult to tell because I never told anybody about it before.”
After their meeting, Angle left the company and moved onto TNA, where he stayed for 11 years. He didn’t speak to the WWE or Vince until his return to the company.
“I never wanted to leave. I knew I had to for my own health,” Angle said. “For my own frame of mind, for my own peace. I didn’t have a choice, if I would’ve stayed. I honestly believe that I wouldn’t be around right now.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Kurt Angle Show Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.