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Did Daniel Puder try to break Kurt Angle's arm?

Daniel Puder and Kurt Angle coming face-to-face on SmackDown
Daniel Puder and Kurt Angle coming face-to-face on SmackDown
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Danny Wolstanholme

Former WWE Tough Enough winner Daniel Puder almost broke Kurt Angle's right arm on an episode of SmackDown in November 2004. Puder had Angle legitimately locked in a Kimura Lock during an open challenge match.

Puder had experience in mixed martial arts before trying his hand at WWE. His unscripted attack on Angle was his most memorable moment during his short tenure with the company.

@DoremiRenko Yeah, never forget the day when Daniel Puder tried to break Kurt Angle's arm with a Kimura Lock. https://t.co/mw4cBQIlZ6

In the ill-fated November 4, 2004 edition of SmackDown, the unscripted Tough Enough segment was always to cause some issues. It allowed Kurt Angle to shoot on the contestants, and Puder wasn't for taking any of it.

Jimmy Koderas, who was a WWE referee at the time of the incident, along with Charles Robinson, discussed the incident with It's My House Podcast:

"So Kurt says ‘okay come in here, young man’ [at Daniel Puder], and I looked at Charles and he looked at me. Then I looked back I looked back at Al, he looks at me and he gave me that look like ‘Kurt’s gonna do what Kurt’s gonna do like what am I supposed to do?’ So, they started and they went into it, and Gerald Brisco says, like, ‘Jimmy, what have you done?’ I’m like, don’t look at me I didn’t call this! So, I’m not an MMA expert, but I kind of got the feeling that once he got him in that that Kimura Lock I went, oh this is not good, because if Kurt can’t get out of this, he’d rather lose his arm. I’m looking at Al Snow and now he’s got this look on his face like, ‘Oh no’. So, in my mind, I’m thinking how do we get out of this without embarrassing your Olympic gold medalist? So when they fell down and Kurt landed on top. It was just an instinctive reaction, I said, ‘the heck with it I’m counting’, and I was gonna count three regardless. And you know, of course, looking back thinking it was an amateur contest I could have just did one. But I’m in a professional wrestling ring and that’s how my brain went. So I counted three despite the fact that Puder rolled his shoulder after two." Jimmy Koderas (h/t ewrestlingnews)

Koderas continued to detail what happened after the incident occurred and he counted three:

"I counted three, the match was over Kurt got face to face with him cut a promo on him in the ring which I can’t repeat here. I’ll give Puder credit because while he was getting chewed out he was going ‘yes sir, yes sir’. Then he [Angle] said get out of my ring and he got out and I didn’t know what to expect, walking to the back so I walked to the back and I didn’t want to be around. As I walked through the gorilla position I saw Gerry Brisco there and he didn’t say anything, he just looked at me and he just gave me a like a quiet little thumbs up." Jimmy Koderas (h/t ewrestlingnews)

According to reports at the time, Kurt Angle was heated backstage following the incident, and Daniel Puder was in hot water with WWE management following his actions.


How long did Daniel Puder stay with WWE?

Daniel Puder won Tough Enough season 4, but didn't get selected to be on Tough Enough season 3. He'd make his pro MMA debut later that year. https://t.co/6smDflp09Z

Following Daniel Puder's Tough Enough victory, he went onto compete in the 2005 Royal Rumble match. Puder entered third, and was set upon by veterans Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero and Hardcore Holly.

It was said at the time that this was done to punish Puder for his actions against Kurt Angle.

Eventually, he left WWE due a cost-cutting measure and Puder sought other opportunities outside of wrestling. He has commented extensively that he felt like his experience with Angle inevitably changed the arc of his WWE career.


A former Champion wants to return and challenge Roman Reigns. Any guesses who? Find out right here.

Edited by Ryan K Boman
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