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Interview: Kurt Angle talks beating addiction, helping others recover and his career

WWE legend Kurt Angle speaks to Sportskeeda about his induction to the WWE Hall Of Fame, among other things.

31 Jul 1996: Kurt Angle of the United States holds the American flag at the free-style wrestling competition during the Summer Olympics at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
The only Olympic Gold medalist to ever compete in the WWE

Kurt Angle will be the first inductee into the 2017 Hall of Fame Class in March, 11 years after he left the WWE (2006). The decision to quit is one that he characterises as "the hardest decision I ever made," so it's nice to know he's getting his due recognition now.

The legendary wrestler competed for eight years in the WWE, from 1998, and won a lot of championships – including the WWE Championship four times, the World Heavyweight Championship, and the European, Hardcore, and Intercontinental Championships.

Undoubtedly, he is one of the WWE's greatest wrestlers.

In an interview with Sportskeeda, Kurt Angle recalled the greatest moments of his career and named the superstars whose talent he highly appreciates, including Brock Lesnar. He also talked about beating addiction and helping others recover from it, through his new app Anglestrong.

Here are the excerpts of the discussion:


SK: You have been chosen to enter the WWE Hall Of Fame. What does that mean to you?

Angle: I have to tell you, it’s a huge honour for me. It defines my career.


SK: You said that you were shocked to find out about your induction to the WWE Hall of Fame, and that this is the most important award for you. Why didn't you expect it?

Angle: I expected it some day later in my life. Not this soon! It’s just amazing.


SK: Your WWE departure in 2006 was a shock for the fans. Was it difficult for you to leave WWE, or was the decision easy and even a bit obligatory for you considering the circumstances?

Angle: It was the hardest decision I ever made.


SK: What was your last meeting with Vince McMahon like? What was your mindset going into it?

Angle: It was tough. We both wanted a different outcome, but we both knew what was for the best.


SK: What do you think the last 10 years in WWE would have been like for you if you hadn’t left in 2006?

Angle: I had just started getting my groove on as a pro wrestler. Could have been the best career of any wrestler.


SK: After your departure from WWE, you went on to TNA, NJPW and other promotions in the independent circuit. What was your experience there, and how was it different from WWE?

Angle: I got to wrestle guys I never would have wrestled. It was a great experience!


SK: In your match with Shawn Stasiak, you were apparently asked to turn heel halfway through the match. What was the experience like, and did you agree with the decision?

Angle: It wasn't hard. McMahon told me what to do. And I did it. He's a genius in my book.


SK: One of your greatest rivalries in WWE was with Brock Lesnar. Would you like to revisit that rivalry again?

Angle: Of course. Brock is an amazing talent and he's a total professional.


SK: You are the most celebrated real athlete in WWE history, and the only Olympic Gold Medalist. You are also the only WWE Superstar who is a 2-time NCAA champion. What do you attribute your success to, and what can upcoming WWE Superstars learn from you?

Angle: My success can be attributed to the fact that I learned to adapt fast. It wasn't easy going from the Olympics to Professional Wrestling. I used my matches to learn how to adapt, and I did it quicker than anyone, ever.


SK: Which current WWE superstar do you think will be the face of the company in the future?

Angle: AJ styles and Seth Rollins. Love their talent.


SK: Which star from WWE’s new era would you want to face in the future?

Angle: Styles. Rollins. Rusev. Owens. Cesaro. So much new talent I could face, all great.


SK: There is a lot of speculation that you may be a surprise entrant in 2017 Royal Rumble. What do you have to say to these rumours?

Angle: They're rumours.


SK: Your problems with painkillers and alcohol addiction have been well-documented. How did you deal with these issues and finally get over them? Did WWE help you get over your addictions in any way?

Angle: WWE is responsible for enrolling me into rehab. They paid for it when I wasn't employed by them. It was the best decision I ever made and I’m thankful.


SK: You run a project to help people recover from drug addiction, called Anglestrong. It is a new mobile app for Android and iOS. Can you tell us about it? How does it help people recover from drug addiction?

Angle: My new ANGLESTRONG addiction recovery mobile app for Android and iOS is designed to be an early intervention tool for people in recovery for substance abuse. It is designed to help prevent relapse and re-hospitalisation.

ANGLESTRONG has a ton of cool features and even includes a monthly video conference call with me to help keep you on the path of recovery. It’s available now on the App Store and Google Play or you can check it out on my website www.anglestrong.com


SK: What is your favourite moment from your WWE career?

Angle: All WrestleManias, and also the “milk truck episode” on Raw in Sacramento, California. I’ll never forget those moments. They defined our sport and we were able to bring great entertainment to our fans.


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