Kurt Angle is a legendary figure in the wrestling business. He is a multi-skilled, highly-accomplished and much-decorated professional wrestler.
Angle was able to accomplish all of this because he was entertaining on the mic, excellent in the ring and had legitimate fighting skills.
At the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Kurt Angle won a gold medal in freestyle wrestling "with a broken freakin' neck." This amazing acheivement made him a much-desired personality in the professional wreslting world.
In a recent interview with Lucha Libre Online's Michael Morales Torres, Kurt Angle spoke candidly about his first contractual offer from WWE, why he rejected it, and how he ended up signing a contract for a lot less money two years later.
WWE wanted to sign Kurt Angle to a mega money deal in 1996
The WWE were the first company to reach out and meet with the Olympic gold medalist. However, despite interest from the biggest pro-wrestling company in the world and with a multi-million 10-year deal on the table, Kurt Angle didn't accept the offer.
“Yeah. They'll give me a multi-million 10-year deal and I declined it; actually, my agent declined it. He said: ‘You're not going to do this fake stuff. You're the real deal.'"
Angle would end up at ECW for one ill-fated appearance before trying his hand as a sports commentator. During this time, Angle would fall in love with wrestlers such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, and The Undertaker.
"I never watched pro wrestling. I never studied it until 1998. I turned TV on and I fell in love with the product watching Raw and Stone Cold, The Rock, Triple H and Undertaker. It was really cool to see these guys. They're they're incredible athletes and they do a lot of incredible stunts. And I wanted to be part of it."
In 1998, Kurt Angle would reach out to Jim Ross to see if the previous offer from 1996 still existed. It didn't, and Angle had to complete a try out. However, this was not a problem. Angle was a superior athlete and was offered a new deal on his first day.
"I called the WWE and Jim Ross at the time I said: ‘hey, is that offer still stand?’ He said no, you're going to have to try out. So I lost the offer and I tried out in late 98 and I had a great tryout. I my first day within an hour, they offered me a contract. I was picking everything up very quickly. Not that I understood psychology or anything, but I was getting the technique down properly. And so they offer me a deal that wasn't a very good deal. It was $75,000 a year and I took it and I just told Jim Ross: ‘I'm gonna turn this into a million dollars my first year that I wrestle’. And he looked at me like I was crazy, but I just I had the confidence in myself that I would do really well."
You can watch the full Kurt Angle interview below:
Kurt Angle did just what he promised and became one of the most popular and admired wrestlers within his first year in the company. Angle would go on to be a Grand Slam Champion, WWE Hall of Famer and straight up legend.
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