Throughout the history of pro wrestling, more times than not, it’s the larger-sized men who thrive. Angle believes that’s no longer the case when it comes to today’s superstars. Instead, Angle revealed in the interview that today’s wrestlers are perhaps “better” athletes than their predecessors.
“I think people don’t buy into the fact that you have to be big to be dominating. There are a lot of athletes like AJ Styles that are undersized, that are doing tremendously well,” Angle said. “I credit those guys. These guys today are so much better athletes than we were in our heyday. It’s because of the new training. The core training and the CrossFit training and everything that they have going on.
“Technology has put them ahead of the game now. Rey Mysterio is still going, and he’s been so undersized. 140 lbs, and look what he’s done in the business. I like where the business is headed. I just wish they would pull it back a little bit. Slow down and take their time in the matches, rather than it being a spot fest.”
When he joined WWE in the late ’90s, Angle was considered to be a smaller-sized performer but had his legitimate Olympic gold medal-winning background to back him up. According to Angle, it’s also because of that background that he was able to get away with a lot of the goofier aspects of his character early on.
“What Vince McMahon told me was, ‘you’re an Olympic gold medalist,” Angle began. “You’re a badass. Everybody knows that, so you can be as funny or as dorky as you want, but when you get in the ring, you can be a serious competitor.’ I took that to heart, and I thought you know what I don’t have to, I can show my nerdy side, my funny side as much as I want to because everybody knows when I get in the ring, it’s gonna get serious.
“I had the ability to go further than others. Vince doesn’t like wrestlers who get too hokey and too funny because he doesn’t think the fans will take them seriously. With me, I was able to do that. Eventually, Vince McMahon sat me down and said ‘we’re done with the funny stuff. We’re gonna do the Wrestling Machine from now on.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WhatCulture Wrestling with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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