Daniel Puder’s time in WWE was brief but one moment from the former Tough Enough contestant’s career will always stand out.
On an episode of SmackDown in November 2004, Puder answered a challenge from Kurt Angle for a shoot match. Puder managed to apply a kimura lock on Angle. A referee later counted Puder’s shoulders down for a 3-count without him ever relinquishing the hold. Puder says he almost broke Angle’s arm.
“He took a challenge and I believe I did what I was supposed to do at that time,” Puder told Sportskeeda’s Dr. Chris Featherstone. “I’m very blessed that they didn’t let me break his arm because someday I might be able to still whoop him.”
Angle was clearly upset after the match. Daniel Puder said Angle should not have challenged him without knowing his background in mixed martial arts.
“I think he’s a little bit of a punk,” Puder said. “It showed when I went to shake his hand and he didn’t want to shake my hand. I get it. I showed him up on TV. He wasn’t expecting me to do that.”
Puder went on to win the Tough Enough competition and a WWE developmental contract. He wrestled on two pay-per-views. One was the 2005 Royal Rumble where he was quickly eliminated after enduring some hard chops from Chris Benoit and Hardcore Holly. Puder said he’s not sure if his treatment in that match was a direct “receipt” for his actions against Angle.
“I wanted to understand the pieces of the business and because of that a lot of the wrestlers – some of them didn’t like me,” Puder said. “Some of them did. I didn’t really – either way, I was indifferent. I wanted to be there to learn and grow and do the best I could do every day.”
Despite the hard feelings following his encounter with Angle, Puder said he’s still willing to do business. He is open to a rematch against the retired WWE Hall Of Famer.
“If he was smart he would take his ego, throw it out the window and give me a chance to run a show with him and build something with him at some point,” Puder explained. “I would still be open today. Who knows? But it’s a pretty interesting scenario.”
Puder’s last pro wrestling match was for Gangrel’s Wrestling Asylum in 2019. Before that match, Puder had not stepped inside a ring since 2010, when he was working for New Japan Pro Wrestling. WWE released Puder in 2005.
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