Kurt Angle the ‘Attitude Era’
We’ve never met but I’m a huge fan. My name is Josh and I’ve been following your career since you debuted with WWE© back in 1999.
I remember back then thinking your character as one of the most brilliant innovations of the whole Attitude Era. There you were, a guy who would have been one of the biggest heroes of the 1980s getting over as one of the biggest heels in wrestling playing virtually that same character.
You absolutely played it to perfection and you backed it up in the ring. Your matches were amongst the best of the era. Whether it was your battles with The Rock, Shawn Michaels, Eddie Guerrero, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho, Edge, Rey Misterio, Brock Lesnar or Chris Benoit, your match was more often than not the match of the night, match of the week, match of the month, and maybe even match of the year.
I remember when you finally got to main event WrestleMania© at the 19th installment against Brock Lesnar. It wasn’t as much fun or exciting as it should have been because we all knew what condition you were at the time. You had just re-injured your neck – the same neck you broke winning the Gold Medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. I remember watching that match fearing the worst. One wrong bump and….well….that could have been it. Thankfully it wasn’t.
But I couldn’t shake the feeling from that point on that you were one bump away from being seriously crippled or worse. Sometimes the matches were so much fun that I could forget, such as your series with John Cena, who was rapidly becoming the biggest thing in wrestling in no small part due to having had the chance to work with you.
But then you’d always find yourself on the shelf again. And it seemed sometimes like you were injured as much as you were healthy.
It never seemed to impact your performance in the ring. You always gave it 110% but that was just as big a concern as anything else.
Finally, amidst rumours of painkiller addiction and mounting injuries you left WWE© for TNA back in 2006 and being a big fan of course I tuned it. How could I not? Any wrestling fan needed to see Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe. And it delivered.
Of course it did. Your matches always do.
You continued in TNA battling an increasingly lesser and more obscure class of opponent. I’ll admit seeing you do a moonsault off the cage for the first time in WWE against Chris Benoit was one of the best moments in WWE history for me. Seeing you do it against some guy whose name I don’t quite recall at a random TNA event was significantly less so.
Not because the move was any less spectacular, but because I knew what it could do to you. Putting yourself at that kind of risk in TV matches against guys who probably couldn’t draw a dime without you isn’t what your fans want Kurt.
Not your real ones.
We’ve heard about the extent of your injuries. We’ve seen the fluctuations in your appearance. We’ve read the news stories of alcohol abuse. Heard about the arrests.
Your fans care about you Kurt. I should know. I’m one of them.
When I saw that you were scratched from Sunday’s Lockdown PPV card due to another injury. I found myself wondering how long you could last in this business. How many more injuries could you take? What would you have to turn to in order to cope with the pain?
I don’t want you to end up like so many before you, Kurt. I want your story to have a happy ending. Not for a former Olympic gold medalist to become another statistic in the wrestling business.
I recently heard a rumour that there was an offer on the table for you to return to WWE© – not as a worker – but as a trainer at their facility to Florida working with the NXT crew. Along with this deal would come induction into the WWE Hall of Fame and a fitting end to a great career.
Take the deal Kurt. You deserve a fitting end to your career. You’re one of the greatest of all time.
There’s so much you could teach the new generation of wrestlers but we need you here to do it.