In 2006, Kurt Angle shocked the wrestling world when he announced his departure from WWE to join TNA. The move was a surprise to many in the business, but also to TNA Founder Jeff Jarrett.
Jarrett revealed he was shocked that Angle was interested in coming to TNA and said he really didn’t believe it or buy it at the time. On the latest episode of the My World Podcast, Jeff Jarrett spoke about Angle coming to TNA and revealed a major reason why he was excited to bring Kurt into the company.
“When Kurt became available and he was signed, sealed and delivered, the weight of Jeff Jarrett being a talent evaporated in my mind,” Jarrett said. “Kurt was much better, younger, fresher. Kurt didn’t have to worry about writing shows, Kurt didn’t have to worry about dealing with office politics, Kurt didn’t have to worry about anything except putting the company on his shoulders and taking it. I was so happy to get Kurt on board.”
The 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist noted on his podcast The Kurt Angle Show how there was a lot of tension during his final months with the WWE. Angle revealed that he left Vince McMahon threatening voicemails and texts while a part of ECW due to several injuries he was dealing with that led to his painkiller addiction. The former WWE Champion also revealed that he told McMahon ‘If you don’t release me, I think I’m going to kill myself’ by overdosing on pain killers.
After Angle left the company and joined TNA, he cut a promo berating his experience in WWE and Vince McMahon. In the promo, Angle stated that WWEs CEO told him that a gold medal and a cup of coffee didn’t mean sh** and he told WWE to watch out because he hadn’t seen anything yet. Jarrett spoke about his reaction to the promo and why they chose to leave it as organic and real as it could be even though Angle was a baby face at the time.
“This interview that aired I can remember hearing the uncut version and I had a conversation in private with Kevin Sullivan, David Sahadi and Dutch Mantel and at first I was very surprised,” Jarrett said. “I didn’t know the deep, I don’t mind saying this, at the time there was a lot of animosity, venom. I did not know that existed in Kurt was against WWE. I know he had gone through his personal problems, I knew all of that but I didn’t know there was a lot of venom. I said do we want to put our top baby face, because that’s what Kurt was coming in the door even though we had Sting, do we want to put our top baby face in that light? Is that the best strategic move?
“Yes, always punch up, I had no problem whether it was the three live crew or cookies and balloons, whatever it is, try to make noise. We are number two, a very distant number two and it’s always great to try to make a chatter but was Kurt the right guy to do that? Yes, he just came off of an incredible run and the whole world knew about his WWE run, not everybody knew that he had gone through a very personal rough time so was it the right move? I just remember having those conversations like oof, do we want to clean this up? Then you go back to the other side and my fundamental belief is that you take reality and blow it up and that’s how you make money. I think that still works to this day so I didn’t want to edit and control the narrative too much. I can’t say that I regret it but I just remember it’s such a fine line to walk, I don’t mind saying those things but the top baby face coming through the door, do we want him saying that because he’s our new flag bearer. Him talking about the cup of coffee and a quarter, that was a stiff shot. I knew that back then, I wasn’t just real comfortable but let’s roll with it, it’s how he feels, reality draws money.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit My World with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.