Kurt Angle is one of the best wrestlers to have ever entered a WWE ring. Throughout his career, he has put on some of the most exciting matches to have ever been seen in the wrestling world. As happens when wrestling regularly, the body takes a beating. Angle had his share of injuries, most notably a broken neck.
However, even before he came to WWE, he had broken his neck during one of the most important competitions of his life.
How did Kurt Angle break his neck the first time?
Kurt Angle broke his neck more than once during his career. Angle broke his neck during the buildup to the Olympic Games. Six months before the games, during the semi-final of the national trials, his opponent dropped him on his head, resulting in his neck breaking.
As a result of the fall, he herniated two disks, cracked two vertebrae, and pulled four muscles in his neck. He was 3-0 down following the injury in that match, but he continued and managed to win 4-3 in the last minute. However, throughout the process, he was in a lot of pain.
Angle spoke about his injury during an interview with ESPN, where he revealed that there were times he thought he would not be able to compete in the Olympics:
"There were a lot of moments where I didn't think I was gonna wrestle in the Olympics. For one, I couldn't get a doctor to clear me. My neck was broken -- I had three discs sticking directly in my spinal cord."
How did Kurt Angle do in the Olympics?
He managed to win the finals of the national trials and became the national champion. He was asked to heal for six months, but the trials for the Olympics were two and a half months away at the time.
Angle managed to find a doctor who allowed him to wrestle and made it to the Olympic Games after being shot in the neck with novocaine so that he was not feeling pain. He made it through the trials and then took six weeks off to let his neck heal.
At the Games, Angle participated in several tough matches and made it through to the finals. The final ended 1-1 after overtime and it came down to the judges' decision. The judges scored in favor of Kurt Angle, and the wrestler won the gold medal:
"I was really proud. I had the broken neck, and I was a little bit limited. I think back on how well I would have done if I didn't have the injury." - Kurt Angle
How did Kurt Angle break his neck the other times in his career?
Kurt Angle suffered severe neck injuries four times in his WWE career. According to Angle's appearance on Stone Cold's podcast, The Steve Austin Show, he suffered four serious injuries while wrestling in WWE.
The first time was in 2003, when Angle was wrestling Brock Lesnar. Lesnar hit him with a steel chair and brought it down straight, ending with Angle suffering a broken neck.
Lesnar broke Angle's neck again when the Beast Incarnate ran Kurt Angle into the corner and his neck hit the turnbuckle ahead of their WrestleMania match. He wrestled Lesnar at WrestleMania despite his injuries.
The third time Angle broke his neck was at WrestleMania 20 in his match against Eddie Guerrero. He was written out of in-ring duties after this and appeared as the heel general manager instead.
The fourth time he broke his neck was in his match against The Undertaker at No Way Out 2006.
Angle left WWE in 2006 and returned to the company in 2017 as a General Manager after being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Since then, he has retired after losing his last match against King Corbin.
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