Kurt Angle recently took part in a Q & A session over at Pro Wrestling Junkies and discussed a number of topics, including the disappointments he has been dealing with about his retirement match.
Angle had mentioned that while he doesn’t think it’s the worst retirement match of all time, he does wish Corbin was at a higher level with his in-ring abilities so they could have a bigger match. He also said he was supposed to work with Jason Jordan, but Jordan’s neck injury forced the change in opponent.
“I didn’t really get who I wanted,” Angle said. “I was in a program with Jason Jordan. We were supposed to work that up to WrestleMania but he ended up hurting his neck, and they replaced him with Baron. [Vince McMahon] didn’t know that I wanted to retire. I wanted to retire because I wasn’t the same anymore. My body was getting really arthritic from not working. It didn’t go as I hoped. I told Vince I wanted to wrestle John Cena because I started his career and I wanted him to end mine – it just made sense to me. He told me no and that I was getting Baron Corbin.
“He said that if wanted Cena, I’d have to wait until next year, but I didn’t want to go another year,” Angle continued. “Baron is a great athlete and a great worker, but where he was at the time might not be at the level where Hall Of Famers would feel totally comfortable with. He was great to work with; I didn’t have a problem with that. I had a little bit of a problem retiring with him. I don’t want to put him down because he’s good, but I wanted to go with John Cena because it just made sense. I don’t want to say I had the worst retirement match, but wrestling Baron wasn’t exactly my dream match. Back then, he just wasn’t there.”
Angle then went on to talk about how things went for him as he broke into the business, and stated that WWE’s strategy to “push” people generally goes in phases where the wrestler will get a bunch of wins, then take some losses before going back on a winning streak. He said that strategy allows fans to get used to seeing that wrestler in those situations, and when their time comes, the fans are ready for it. He referenced Roman Reigns being forced straight to the the top, saying it is the reason fans have rejected him the way they have.
“When I won the title the first time, I was only there for about 10 months,” Angle said. “When I first started, I was on a big winning streak and won a bunch of matches. I won King Of The Ring, Intercontinental Title, European Title, but then I started having a bunch of losses. I was wrestling Undertaker and that was a squash match, Big Show was a squash match. Then I think I was in a triple threat with Rock and HHH that I didn’t win. I hadn’t won a match in five months, so it kind of hit me out of nowhere when Vince called me four days before the pay-per-view to tell me he’s putting the title on me.
“It was one of those things where it goes in phases,” Angle added. “You start low and work your way to the mid-card, you win some matches, and then you lose some, then you win some and get to the main event level, and then you’re going to lose some matches again. It’s not like a meteoric rise to the top. You go up a little bit, then down a bit, then back up a little, then down. It’s so the fans can get used to you and get used to seeing you in that situation. The example today, whether you like him or not, he’s a ring general, and the guy is incredible – Roman Reigns. The problem with him is Vince just took him from zero to hero and the fans were confused, wondering, ‘Who this guy is?’ The thought was just like, ‘Who’s this guy and what’s he doing here? He must be Vince’s guy, and if that’s the case, I don’t like him.’ This heel turn has been a long time coming.”
Angle recently said that an appearance with AEW would more than likely be off the table, but he did have high praise for Chris Jericho during the Q & A, saying he admires the way Jericho can still go in the ring.
“If I was going to wrestle anyone, I’d love to wrestle Cena,” Angle said. “I’ve also been watching Chris Jericho, and wow! He’s still so good. I’m so jealous of that son of a gun. He’s my age, and how he’s still able to go at this level like he’s doing right now, especially after 25-30 years in the ring, he’s phenomenal. He might go down in history, this is me speaking, but he might go down as top 5 of all time. He’s still as good as he ever was. I wouldn’t mind having one more round with Jericho, but that’s not going to happen.”