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9 Superstars who surprisingly returned to the WWE

Edan Nissen
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Timeless

#9 Kurt Angle

The former Olympic Gold Medalist from the 1996 Games, originally crossed from Amature Wrestling to the WWF in 1998. After learning the trade under Dory Funk Jr at the Funkin' Dojo, Angle was quickly brought up to the main roster and made his TV debut at Survivor Series 1999, defeating Shawn Stasiak. Angle would regularly appear on Raw and Smackdown with a series of wins against the Godfather, Gangrel Mark Henry, Val Venis, and D-Lo Brown, without a major program. Angle would suffer his first televised defeat at the 2000 Royal Rumble against Tazz after Angle passed out while locked in the Tazzmission hold.

Angle's stock in the WWF would continue to rise, winning both the European and Intercontinental title, becoming the second wrestler in the history of the promotion to defend two solo belts at once, after D-Lo Brown. First winning the European title from Val Venis, and defeated Chris Jericho at No Way Out to win the Intercontinental title. He would hold the two titles until Wrestlemania 2000, where he would drop the belts to Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho respectively. Angle would then go on a losing streak, including his title rematch against Chris Benoit and shots at Eddie Guerrero's European title and the Tag Team titles against Edge and Christian.

Later the same year, Angle would be pushed into the Main Event scene after winning the King of the Ring tournament and challenging for the number one contender spot against the Rock. Angle would be put in programs against the likes of the Rock, Stone Cold, the Undertaker, and Triple H at the top of the card within a year of making his WWE debut. Angle would then go on to be a major player during the Invasion storyline, siding with the Alliance of WCW and ECW despite never wrestling for either brand. Angle would turn on the Alliance at the pivotal Survivor Series PPV, hitting Stone Cold Steve Austin with the title belt allowing the Rock to pin Austin and winning the match for the WWF.

After the Invasion angle settled down, Kurt would be transitioned to be one of Smackdown's top stars and a big part of the infamous "Smackdown Six", the six were responsible for a large amount of the Smackdown main event angles. Angle was joined by Edge, Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and Rey Mysterio Jr at the top of the Smackdown card and saved the show from being scrapped. Angle would eventually leave the WWE in 2006 after 8 years in the company and becoming a Grand Slam champion.

After leaving, Angle became one of the lynchpins for TNA and became one of their biggest stars overnight. During his time with the company, Angle would win the TNA Heavyweight title and the IWJP title, and would also become a part of the companies "Main Event Mafia" stable alongside other legends such as Sting, Kevin Nash, Booker T, and Scott Steiner. They would later be joined by Christian Cage and TNA originals Traci Brooks and Samoa Joe. Angle would also transition into a backstage role with the company as his health began to fail him.

After 10 years at TNA, Kurt Angle announced that he would not be renewing his contract with the company and started wrestling for independent promotions such as Insane Championship Wrestling, Revolution Pro Wrestles and What Culture Pro-Wrestling in the United Kingdom as well two matches for Northeast Wrestling against former WWE talent Cody Rhodes.

After 11 years away from the WWE, it was announced in 2017 that Angle would be inducted into the promotions Hall of Fame. Angle would return to the company on a more permanent basis when he was announced as the new Raw General Manager on the Monday Night following Wrestlemania 33. Angle has continued to wrestle part time with the promotion, but looks to be dialling back his in-ring career for the final time.

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