Kurt Angle

Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle

Angle at a WWE Q&A in August 2005.
Ring name(s) Kurt Angle
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[1]
Billed height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)[2]
Billed weight 240 lb (110 kg)[2]
Born December 9, 1968 (1968-12-09) (age 42)
Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, United States
Resides Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Billed from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States[2]
Trained by Dave Schultz
Dory Funk, Jr.[3]
Tom Prichard[3]
Debut October 15, 1998

Kurt Steven Angle (born December 9, 1968 in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania) is an American professional wrestler, amateur wrestler, and 1996 Olympic gold medalist. He is currently under contract with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, where he is a former five-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion. He is also known for his time in the World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment (WWF/E).

Angle was involved in amateur wrestling during both high school and college. In college at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, he won numerous accolades, including being a two-time National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I champion. After graduating, he won a gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the 1995 World Wrestling Championships. Angle then competed in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, where he won a gold medal in heavyweight freestyle wrestling. Kurt Angle is also one of only four people in the world to complete the Grand Slam in amateur wrestling which is the junior nationals, the NCAAs, the World Championships and the Olympics. He is also one of only four Americans to win the Krasnoyarsk. He was named the greatest shoot wrestler and one of the top 15 college wrestlers of all time by USA Wrestling.

Initially turning down an offer to join the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), Angle signed a multi-year contract with the company in 1998. His first big push in the company was in February 2000, when he held both the European Championship and the Intercontinental Championship at the same time. A few months later he won the King of the Ring tournament. Not long after, Angle began pursuing the WWF Championship. He continued to be a part of main event matches until August 2006, when Angle was granted a release from his contract. Throughout his tenure in the company, he was a six-time world champion (four-time WWF/E Champion, World Heavyweight Champion and WCW Champion), he also held the United States Championship, Intercontinental Championship, European Championship, Hardcore Championship and WWE Tag Team Champion once each. In addition, he was the winner of the King of the Ring tournament in 2000, the tenth Triple Crown Champion, and the fifth Grand Slam Champion. In addition, he is one of two wrestlers (Edge being the other) to have held every currently active male championship in the WWE.

After leaving WWE, Angle joined Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), where he became the second wrestler in TNA to win TNA's Triple Crown and the first man to hold all three TNA championships simultaneously. While in TNA, his real-life wife Karen began accompanying him to the ring and playing a part in his on-screen storylines. Angle has also made appearances for New Japan Pro Wrestling as well as Inoki Genome Federation, where he held their version of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. In addition, he is a five-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion, the second Triple Crown winner in TNA history—being the only one to hold all the required titles at once (while also holding the IWGP Title, making him a quadruple champion for a brief time).

Angle is the only wrestler in history to be a Triple Crown winner in both WWE and TNA. He is the first man to have held the WWE Championship, the World Heavyweight Championship, the WCW Championship, and the TNA World Heavyweight Championship in his career. Angle is also a two time King of the Mountain winner, winning at the 2007 and 2009 Slammiversary PPV event, making him the only wrestler to have been both King of the Ring (WWE) and King of the Mountain (TNA). Between WWE, TNA, and Japan, Angle has won 18 total championships. In 2010 the Wrestling Observer Newsletter named Angle the Wrestler of the Decade of the 2000s.[4]


Amateur wrestling career

Medal record
Men's freestyle wrestling
Competitor for the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold 1996 Atlanta 100 kg
World Championships
Gold 1995 Atlanta 100 kg
World Cup
Bronze 1992 Moscow, Russia 100 kg
Silver 1995 Chattanooga, US 100 kg

Angle started amateur wrestling at the age of six.[5] He attended Mt. Lebanon High School,[6] where he won varsity letters in football and wrestling and was an All-State linebacker.[6][7][8] He went undefeated on the freshman wrestling team at Mt. Lebanon High and qualified for the state wrestling tournament his sophomore year.[6] Angle also placed third in the state wrestling tournament as a junior and was the 1987 Pennsylvania State Wrestling Champion as a senior.

Upon graduating from high school, Angle attended the Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where he continued to wrestle at an amateur level.[9] He was a two-time National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I champion,[10] national runner-up in 1991, and a three-time NCAA Division I All-American. In addition, Angle was the 1987 USA Junior Freestyle champion, a two-time USA Senior Freestyle champion, and the 1988 USA International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles Junior World Freestyle champion.[11]

After graduating from college, Angle continued to wrestle. In 1995, he won a gold medal at the World Championships in Atlanta, Georgia.[10] Following this victory, Angle began preparing for the 1996 Summer Olympics under Dave Schultz at the Pennsylvanian Foxcatcher Club,[12] training between eight and ten hours a day.[13] In January 1996, not long after Angle began training at the club, Schultz was murdered by John Eleuthère du Pont, the sponsor of Schultz's team of Olympic prospectives.[14][15][16] As a result, Angle quit Eleuthère du Pont's team, searched for new sponsors, and joined the Dave Schultz Wrestling Club in Schultz's memory.[17]

Angle faced further hardships while taking part in the 1996 Olympic Trials, when he suffered a severe neck injury, fracturing two of his cervical vertebrae,[18] herniating two discs, and pulling four muscles. Nonetheless, Angle won the trials and then spent the subsequent five months resting and rehabilitating. By the Olympics, Angle was able to compete, albeit with several pain-reducing injections in his neck.[10] In the fall of 2006, Angle stated that he temporarily became addicted to the analgesic Vicodin after injuring his neck.[19] He won his gold medal in the heavyweight (90–100 kg; 198–220 lb) weight class despite his injury,[11] defeating the Iranian Abbas Jadidi by officials' decision after the competitors wrestled to an eight minute, one-one draw. The bout saw Jadidi earn a point after two minutes and 46 seconds by turning Angle, and Angle earning a point of his own with a takedown after three minutes and eleven seconds. The officials' decision was protested by Jadidi.[20]

Shortly after his victory, Angle turned down a contract with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).[11][21] In the same year, he became a marketing representative for Protos Foods, the manufacturers of OSTRIM, an ostrich meat based foodstuff.[14][21]

Professional wrestling career

Extreme Championship Wrestling (1996)

On October 26, 1996, Angle was convinced by Shane Douglas to attend the taping of an Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) event named High Incident.[11] He provided guest commentary during a match between Taz and Little Guido, but left the building after Raven "crucified" The Sandman by attaching him to a cross using barbed wire.[22] Angle, shocked by the controversial imagery and afraid that his career prospects would be damaged if he was associated with the incident, threatened to sue ECW owner Paul Heyman if he was shown on television in the same broadcast as the stunt.[11]

In 1997, following the incident, Angle worked for a year as a sportscaster on Pittsburgh's local Fox affiliate WPGH-TV.[23][24] He also did a commercial for Pittsburgh-based pizza chain Pizza Outlet.

World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment (1998–2006)

Debut and various rivalries (1998–2000)

In October 1998, Angle began a career in professional wrestling and signed an eight-year contract with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). He was assigned to the Power Pro Wrestling developmental territory in Memphis, Tennessee, where he began training. Angle's first appearance on WWF television was on the March 7, 1999 episode of Sunday Night Heat, where he took part in an angle with Tiger Ali Singh. This angle involved Singh paying him money to blow his nose on the American flag. Angle instead blew his nose on Singh's flag and fought him off. His first official WWF match was a dark match victory over Brian Christopher on April 11, 1999. In the following months, he wrestled in house shows and other dark matches in preparation for his televised debut.

Angle as the "Eurocontinental" Champion.

After several weeks of vignettes, Angle made his in-ring debut on November 14, 1999 at the Survivor Series, defeating Shawn Stasiak.[25] In his initial push, he remained undefeated for several weeks, eventually losing to the debuting Tazz at the Royal Rumble.[26] Angle's television character was an "American hero" gimmick based on his gold medal win at the 1996 Summer Olympics. In his promos, Angle presented himself as a role model and stressed the need to work hard to realize one's dreams, stressing the 3 Is, "Intensity, Integrity, and Intelligence". In his promos and ring entrances, Angle would always wear replicas of his gold medals around his neck. Despite standing for many principles that are associated with "good guy" wrestlers, Angle's character was arrogant, talked down to the audience, and behaved as if he thought he was better than the fans, leading to him quickly becoming a villain. Angle won both the European Championship and the Intercontinental Championship in February 2000,[26] billing himself as the "Eurocontinental Champion". He dropped both of his titles without ever conceding a fall in a two falls Triple Threat match with Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 2000. The match had been agreed to on Angle's behalf by his mentor, Bob Backlund.

Pursuit of the WWF Championship (2000–2001)

Throughout mid-2000, Angle and Edge and Christian ("Team ECK") feuded with Too Cool and Rikishi, with Angle defeating Rikishi in the finals of the King of the Ring tournament.[27] He went on to feud with Triple H after a love triangle between Angle, Triple H, and Triple H's wife Stephanie McMahon developed.[28] As a change to the intended storyline of Stephanie turning on her husband and going with Angle, he lost to Triple H at Unforgiven.[27] Following his feud with Triple H, Angle received another push and began pursuing the WWF Championship, defeating The Rock at No Mercy, after interference from Rikishi.[27] With his victory over the Rock, Angle became the first wrestler to have won both an Olympic Gold medal and the World title. Angle retained the WWF Championship for the rest of the year in matches with The Undertaker at Survivor Series and in a six way Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon.[29]

After beating Triple H at the Royal Rumble, Angle eventually lost the title to The Rock at No Way Out, he held the WWF Championship for four months. He then feuded with Chris Benoit, whom he defeated at WrestleMania X-Seven but lost to him at Backlash in an Ultimate Submission match; Benoit defeated Angle four falls to three in sudden-death overtime. Continuing the feud, Angle again defeated Benoit in a two out of three falls match at Judgment Day. Benoit pinned Angle after an Angle Slam in a "Pinfalls Only" fall, and then Angle made Benoit submit with the ankle lock in the "Submissions Only" fall. Angle won the third fall, a Ladder match, with the help of Edge and Christian.

The Invasion; Team Angle (2001–2002)

When World Championship Wrestling and ECW formed The Alliance and invaded the WWF in mid-2001 (dubbed as "The Invasion"), Angle became a face character and began a storyline where he joined forces with WWF Champion Steve Austin to repel them. At Invasion, Angle and Austin captained a team of five WWF superstars against five handpicked members of the Alliance. As part of the angle, Team WWF lost to Team Alliance when Austin turned on his team to join The Alliance. At the close of the match, Austin nailed Angle with a Stone Cold Stunner, causing him to get pinned by the other team.[30] After winning and losing the WCW Championship,[31][32] WCW United States Championship,[33][34] and the WWF Hardcore Championship in matches with Alliance members,[35] Angle was booked to defeat Austin in a SummerSlam rematch for his second WWF Championship at Unforgiven.[36] He dropped the title back to Austin on the October 8, 2001 episode of Raw when WWF Commissioner William Regal joined The Alliance and cost Angle the match.[37] As part of the storyline, Angle subsequently turned into a villain again and joined the Alliance himself; during a WrestleMania X-Seven rematch between Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon, he interfered seemingly to aid Vince but instead struck the members of team WWF with a steel chair.[38] Angle, however, ultimately returned to the WWF side by enabling The Rock to defeat Austin in a "Winner Takes All" match between the WWF and The Alliance at Survivor Series. He remained a villain by claiming sole responsibility for the destruction of The Alliance.[36]

After dropping the WCW United States Championship to Edge, the duo were booked into a lengthy feud. During this feud, Edge started the "you suck" chants every time Angle entered a WWE ring, usually in tune with Angle's entrance music.[39] The chants followed Angle throughout the rest of his WWE career. In the course of the feud, the naturally balding Angle lost a "hair versus hair" match to Edge at Judgment Day, and his head was shaved bald.[40] Angle has retained the shaved head since. Following the loss of his hair, Angle's storyline called for him to wear a wig and insult bald people,[41] leading to a feud with Hollywood Hogan, who stripped Angle of his wig.[42] Angle later scored a submission victory over Hogan at King of the Ring.[43]

In October 2002, Angle became the fifth WWE Grand Slam Championship winner when he won the WWE Tag Team Championship with Chris Benoit at No Mercy 2002. Their team was successful but problematic, as the two bickered constantly, with Benoit often fed up with Angle's over-the-top antics.[44] After dropping the title to Edge and Rey Mysterio on an edition of SmackDown!,[45] Angle won his third WWE Championship at Armageddon, defeating The Big Show, with the help of Brock Lesnar.[46] While still in his third reign, Angle began a new storyline when he gained the services of manager Paul Heyman and "Team Angle".[47]

Feuding with Lesnar and Guerrero (2003–2004)

Angle and Brock Lesnar after their WWE Championship title match at WrestleMania XIX

He then began feuding with Brock Lesnar, who had won the 2003 Royal Rumble match,[48] after Lesnar claimed to be the new top superstar on SmackDown!. Angle dropped the WWE Championship in the main event of WrestleMania XIX to Lesnar.[49]

On April 11, 2003, Angle underwent neck surgery performed by Dr. Hae-Dong Jho to repair nerve and spinal damage, calcium buildup, bone spurs, and intervertebral disc problems. Rather than have Dr. Jho remove the afflicted discs and fuse his vertebrae together, Angle opted for a less conventional surgery where Jho removed only the spurs and selected portions of the discs. The alternative surgery reduced Angle's rehabilitation time from one year to three months.[50] He returned as a face character in June. Shortly after returning, Angle defeated Lesnar and Big Show in a Triple Threat match at Vengeance to regain the WWE Championship. During this time, Lesnar seemed to become an ally to Angle. Lesnar, however, secretly worked with Vince McMahon on a plot against Angle, turning on him during a steel cage match between himself and McMahon in which Angle was the special guest referee, and stated that he never tolerated losing the belt to him at Vengeance.[51] After retaining the title in a singles bout at SummerSlam by making Brock Lesnar tap out to the ankle lock, he dropped the title to Lesnar in an Iron Man match on an episode of SmackDown!.[52][53] Angle then formed a five-man team to rival Lesnar's team at the Survivor Series, with Angle's team coming out victorious.[54]

Angle then got involved in a feud with Eddie Guerrero. Initially being a firm friend and ally to Eddie during the latter's feud with his nephew Chavo, Angle turned on him when it was announced that Guerrero, not Angle, was the number one contender for the WWE Championship, thus becoming a villain once again. At No Way Out, Guerrero defeated Lesnar to win the WWE Championship, and Angle won a match to become new number one contender. After losing to Guerrero at WrestleMania XX, Angle began to once again suffer from legitimate neck problems.[55] As a response, he was made the on-screen General Manager of SmackDown!,[56] with his absence from the ring attributed to injuries suffered after Big Show chokeslammed him off a ledge.[57] Angle continued his feud with Guerrero throughout 2004. He cost Guerrero the WWE championship against John "Bradshaw" Layfield in a Texas Bull Rope match at The Great American Bash by participating in the worked finish; Angle came down to the ring and showed a replay where JBL's shoulder hit the corner pad before Guerrero's hand.[58] Angle was later fired by Vince McMahon as General Manager in July 2004, after discovering that he was faking his handicapped status.[59]

In November 2004, Angle initiated the Kurt Angle Invitational, a worked weekly segment where "hometown heroes" (plants), challenged him to a match, with Angle promising to give his Olympic gold medal to the first person to last more than three minutes in the ring with him.[60] The Invitational was won by Eugene in July 2005 starting a new angle for both men.[61] As a result, Angle faced Eugene at SummerSlam, defeating him by making him tap out to the ankle lock.

On November 4, 2004, episode of SmackDown!, taped in St. Louis, Missouri, during an unscripted segment of Tough Enough, Angle challenged the finalists through a squat thrust competition.[62][63] Chris Nawrocki won the competition, and the prize Nawrocki won was a match against Angle.[64] Angle quickly took Nawrocki down, breaking his ribs, then made him tap out with a neck crank.[64] After Angle defeated Nawrocki, Angle challenged the other finalists.[64] Daniel Puder, an American professional mixed martial artist, accepted Angle's challenge.[64] Angle and Puder wrestled for position, with Angle taking Puder down, however, in the process, Puder locked Angle in a kimura lock.[63][64][65] With Puder on his back and Angle's arm locked in the kimura, Angle attempted a pin, one of two referees in the ring, Jim Korderas, quickly counted three to end the bout, despite the fact that Puder's shoulders weren't fully down on the mat, bridging up at two.[63][64][65] Puder later claimed he would have snapped Angle's arm, thus making Angle tap out on national television, if Korderas had not ended the match.[64] Dave Meltzer and Dave Scherer gave these following comments:

"It was real. If you don't follow fighting, Puder had Angle locked in the Kimura, or keylock as Tazz called it, although Tazz didn't let on the move was fully executed. Not only was Angle not getting out of the move, but most MMA fighters would have tapped already. Angle couldn't tap for obvious reasons. The ref counted a three even though Puder's shoulders weren't fully down, trying to end the thing, because the reality was Angle would have been in surgery had it gone a few seconds longer or had Puder not given up the hold." ― Dave Meltzer[63][65]
"As you would expect, Kurt Angle was less than happy backstage at Smackdown after almost being forced to tap out to Tough Enough contestant Daniel Puder. Downright ticked off would probably be the best way to describe his mood. The unscripted nature of the contest was the main reason that Angle was made to look so bad since Puder just reacted to the situation and could have forced Angle to submit had the referees not thought quickly and counted a pin that wasn’t there on Puder." ― Dave Scherer[63]

"The Wrestling Machine" and departure (2005–2006)

Kurt Angle after retaining his Olympic Gold Medal at SummerSlam (2005).

In January 2005, Angle took part in the Royal Rumble, but was eliminated by Shawn Michaels, who had returned to the ring to eliminate in retaliation.[66] After mocking Michaels by defeating his former tag team partner, Marty Jannetty,[67] and attacking former manager, Sherri Martel,[68] Angle defeated Michaels in an interpromotional match at WrestleMania 21, which won Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) Match of the Year Award.[66] He continued to feud with Michaels upon being drafted from SmackDown! to Raw in the 2005 WWE Draft Lottery,[69] losing to Michaels at Vengeance.[70] Angle later challenged John Cena for the WWE Championship at Unforgiven, where Angle won the match by disqualification, thus not winning the title. Angle also challenged Cena again in a Triple Threat match along with Michaels at Taboo Tuesday, in a losing effort.

Angle returned to the SmackDown! brand in January 2006, where he was pushed to gain the vacant World Heavyweight Championship in a twenty man battle royal, turning face in the process for the first time since 2004.[71][72] He retained the title against Mark Henry at the Royal Rumble. Shortly after the match, The Undertaker made his return and challenged Angle for the title. Angle retained the title in a match with Undertaker at No Way Out[73] before dropping it to Rey Mysterio in a Triple Threat match, which also included Randy Orton, at WrestleMania 22.[74]

At Judgment Day, Angle was defeated by Mark Henry via countout. On May 29, 2006, Angle was drafted to the newly created ECW brand. It was during this time that he acquired the nickname "The Wrestling Machine,"[75] wearing a mouth guard and quickly squashing opponents. Upon coming to ECW, he issued an open challenge for One Night Stand, which was accepted by Orton.[76] Angle defeated Orton at One Night Stand,[77] later losing to him in a rematch at Vengeance. Angle appeared sporadically on WWE television throughout mid 2006. On August 25, 2006, Angle was granted an early release from his WWE contract because of health reasons.[78][79] Angle stated in the Kurt Angle: Champion documentary DVD that he asked for his release from WWE because Angle couldn't take time off and he was working hurt, severely on some occasions. He also states that when he quit, WWE lost their very top talent, as he was at the very top of the payroll.[80]

Japan (2007–2009)

On February 18, 2007, Angle made his debut in New Japan Pro Wrestling, teaming with former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Yuji Nagata to defeat fellow TNA wrestler Travis Tomko and fellow WWE alumnus Giant Bernard.[3]

Angle was booked to face Brock Lesnar in a champion versus champion match for the Inoki Genome Federation on June 29, 2007, and defeated him by submission for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship,[81] and he challenged him to an MMA fight.[82] On December 19, 2007, Angle defended the IWGP World Title successfully against Kendo Kashin.[83]

On January 4, 2008, Angle made his third successful IWGP World Championship defense when he defeated Yuji Nagata at the New Japan Pro Wrestling supershow Wrestle Kingdom II in Tokyo Dome by forcing Nagata to tap out to the ankle lock.[84] On February 17, 2008, Angle lost the IWGP title to Shinsuke Nakamura in a unification match, thus ending the IWGP championship controversy.[85] Kurt Angle is not recognized as an IWGP Heavyweight Champion by New Japan. He returned in August during the G1 Climax in two special tag matches A.J. Styles as his opponent with Shinsuke Nakamura and Masahiro Chono as Angle's partners and Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shinjiro Otani as Styles' partners. Angle's team won both matches.[86]

He returned on January 4, 2009, at Wrestle Kingdom III in Tokyo Dome in a special eight man tag match, where he, Kevin Nash, Chono, and Riki Chōshū faced G.B.H. (Giant Bernard, Karl Anderson, Takashi Iizuka and Tomohiro Ishii), with Angle getting the win for his team.[87] Angle then went on to defeat Bernard in a singles match at New Japan's ISM tour on February 15.[88] After Hiroshi Tanahashi retained the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Nakamura in the main event, Angle challenged him for the title, which Tanahashi accepted.[88] Tanahashi defeated Angle on April 5 at New Japan's Resolution '09 to retain the title.[89]

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2006–present)

Debut and World Championships (2006–2007)

Kurt and Karen Angle watching at ringside during Impact!

A few weeks after his WWE contract expired, Angle signed a contract with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). The new signing was viewed by some as a promotion not having concern for the health of a wrestler.[90] On September 24, 2006, during the closing segment of No Surrender, TNA President Dixie Carter announced that TNA Wrestling had signed Angle to a contract, with Jim Cornette introducing video footage of Angle training in a six-sided TNA ring.[91] On the December 28, 2006 episode of TNA Impact!, this was announced as the "Moment of the Year" for TNA.[92]

Angle made his TNA debut on October 19, confronting Samoa Joe after Joe refused to relinquish the NWA World Heavyweight Championship belt that, according to the storyline, he had stolen from Jeff Jarrett.[93] The two men ended up fighting while Jarrett took the title back.[93] Angle was then the special enforcer for the Title vs. Career match between Jarrett and Sting at Bound for Glory, but, as part of the worked finish, he took out referee Rudy Charles and assumed the referee's role for the rest of the match-up.[94] Angle's first match in TNA took place on the November 16 airing of Impact!, where he was booked to defeat Abyss with the ankle lock and be attacked after the match by Samoa Joe.[95] At Genesis, Angle defeated Samoa Joe, ending Joe's undefeated push.[94]

At Final Resolution, Angle was booked to defeat Samoa Joe in a thirty minute Iron Man match 3–2 to earn a shot at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship at Against All Odds,[96] which he lost to Christian Cage after interference from Tomko and Scott Steiner.[97] This led to a feud between Angle and Steiner, with Angle pinning Steiner at Destination X.[98] After Angle defeated Steiner, he was picked to lead a team of four other wrestlers against a team of Christian Cage's choice in a Lethal Lockdown match at April's Lockdown. Angle chose Samoa Joe, Rhino, Sting, and Jeff Jarrett for Team Angle, while Cage chose A.J. Styles, Scott Steiner, Tomko, and Abyss. The man who gained the winning pinfall would become the number one contender to Christian Cage's NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Team Angle was victorious after Jeff Jarrett hit Abyss with a gimmicked guitar full of thumbtacks and allowed Sting to score the pin.[99] Cage was set to defend the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Sting and Angle in a triple threat match at Sacrifice.[100] The day of the PPV, the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), the owners of the NWA World Heavyweight and the NWA World Tag Team Championships, stripped Cage of the title and Team 3D of the tag team title.[101] NWA Executive Director Robert K. Trobich stated the reason was that Cage refused to defend the NWA Title at NWA live events.[101] At the PPV event, Cage, still holding the physical NWA Championship belt, defended what was billed as the "World Heavyweight Championship" against Angle and Sting. Angle was the victor of said contest by making Sting submit, who had technically just pinned Cage, and was announced as the new "World Heavyweight Champion".[102] The Impact! following the event, Angle came to the ring with a new championship belt, and announced he was the new "TNA World Heavyweight Champion".[103] Afterward, Cage and Sting came to the ring and the three began to argue over who was the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion. Due to the controversial finish to their match at Sacrifice, the title was declared vacant by Cornette. A tournament was held for the title which culminated in a King of the Mountain match at Slammiversary on June 17, 2007.[103] At the event, Angle became the TNA World Heavyweight Champion by defeating Cage, Samoa Joe, A.J. Styles, and Chris Harris.[104] He then attacked Joe after denying a request for a handshake, reigniting their feud.

At Victory Road, newly-crowned X Division Champion Samoa Joe teamed with Kurt Angle to face TNA Tag Team Champions Team 3D, with the stipulation that if a wrestler pinned the other opponent, he won his championship.[105] As part of the planned outcome of the match, Joe pinned Brother Ray of Team 3D to win both tag team belts, which he held by himself.[105] On the following episode of Impact!, Joe (now holding the X Division and Tag Team Championships, with Angle holding the TNA and (IGF recognized) IWGP Heavyweight Championships) challenged Angle to a match at Hard Justice where it was winner take all.[106] While illustrating how he would take away everything important in Angle's life, Joe brought Angle's wife Karen into the fray, as she demanded a divorce.[107] During the match, however, Karen turned on Joe and aided her husband.[108] As part of his next push, Angle won, gaining all the championships and becoming the second Triple Crown champion in TNA and the first to hold all three titles at the same time. Including the IWGP Title, this made Angle a quadruple champion.[108] Angle, however, dropped both the X Division and Tag Team Titles to Jay Lethal and Team Pacman, respectively, at No Surrender. At Bound for Glory, Angle lost the TNA World Title to Sting, but won it back on the October 25 edition of Impact!.

The Angle Alliance (2007–2008)

Angle holding IGF's version of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and the TNA World Heavyweight Championship

Angle then joined forces with A.J. Styles and Tomko as The Angle Alliance at Turning Point against Samoa Joe, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall. Styles had planned for Christian's Coalition and The Angle Alliance to team up together, but Christian Cage demanded to be the leader of The Angle Alliance after Cage denied Angle's request of being his "lackey". At Final Resolution, Angle successfully defended the TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Cage due to interference from Styles and again at Against All Odds with help from Tomko. At Lockdown, Angle lost the TNA World Heavyweight Championship to Samoa Joe after being pinned.

The Main Event Mafia (2008–2009)

After suffering a neck injury, Angle was out of action. In the storyline, he returned to Impact! to ask his estranged wife Karen to reunite with him, but she declined his offer. Later that night, after Styles suffered a beating at the hands of Team 3D, Booker T, and Tomko, Angle added to the mugging by hitting Styles with a steel chair. At Slammiversery, Angle lost to Styles, being pinned after interference from Karen. At Victory Road, Angle and Team 3D won a six-man tag team Full Metal Mayhem match defeating the team of Christian Cage, Rhino, and Styles. At Hard Justice, Angle once again lost to Styles – this time in a Last Man Standing match. The feud continued on the next edition of Impact!, with Styles winning Angle's gold medal in a mock amateur wrestling match. The next week Angle challenged Styles to a ladder match for the Olympic Gold Medal. As they both stood on the top of the ladder, the arena went dark and Jeff Jarrett's music played. When the lights turned on, Styles had a guitar and performed an Acoustic Equalizer on Angle to win the match.

Kurt Angle in TNA

Angle began a feud with Jarrett after No Surrender when Jarrett hit Angle with his guitar, a match that involved him, Christian Cage and Samoa Joe for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. On the October 2 edition of Impact, Mick Foley announced that he would be the special enforcer for Angle's match with Jarrett at Bound for Glory IV. Angle lost to Jarrett in this match, being pinned after taking the mandible claw from Foley and a guitar shot and Stroke from Jarrett. He started attacking other superstars backstage in order to get a rematch against Jarrett. On the first HD Impact!, Angle, Booker T, Kevin Nash, and Sting started a new stable of legends called The Main Event Mafia. Scott Steiner joined the group the following week. Angle then defeated Abyss at Turning Point in a Falls Count Anywhere match. After weeks of torturing Jeff Jarrett to give him a rematch, Jarrett said that if Angle could defeat Rhino at the second Final Resolution of 2008, with Mick Foley as the Special Enforcer, he would grant it. Angle defeated Rhino to earn a rematch with Jarrett at Genesis after Al Snow made a surprise appearance and distracted Foley for Angle to cheat. At Sacrifice, Angle lost his leadership of the Mafia to Sting because of their match's stipulation. On June 21 at Slammiversary, Angle won (so he wouldn't leave TNA) the TNA World Heavyweight Championship for the third time in a King of the Mountain match with help from Samoa Joe. On the following edition of Impact!, Angle regained leadership of the Main Event Mafia after he and the rest of the Mafia, attacked Sting while introducing Joe as their newest member. At No Surrender Angle lost his championship to A.J. Styles in a five-way match which also included Matt Morgan, Sting, and Hernandez.[109]

Various feuds (2009–2010)

Angle in a match against Desmond Wolfe.

After defeating Morgan at Bound for Glory,[110] Angle came out on the following edition of Impact! and put over the younger talent of the company thus turning face. Afterward, he was assaulted by the debuting Desmond Wolfe,[111] who defeated him via knockout in a street fight the following week.[112] At Turning Point Angle defeated Wolfe in a rematch.[113] The following month at Final Resolution Angle faced Wolfe in a "Three Degrees of Pain" two out of three falls match. Wolfe managed to gain the first fall by pinning Angle following the Tower of London, but Angle forced him to tap out with the ankle lock to win the second fall. In the final fall, which could only be won by escaping the Six Sides of Steel, Angle managed to escape first and won the match.[114] On the January 4, 2010, live, three hour, Monday night edition of Impact! Angle received a shot at A.J. Styles' World Heavyweight Championship, but was defeated in the main event of the show.[115] Two weeks later at Genesis Angle received one last shot at the World Heavyweight Title, but was once again defeated by Styles, who turned heel with the help of Ric Flair and nailed him with the title belt. As a result, Angle was barred from challenging for the belt as long as Styles is the title holder.[116] Due to the circumstances surrounding the loss, Hulk Hogan gave Angle another shot at Styles and the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on the January 21 edition of Impact!, but this time he lost the match after referee Earl Hebner, who was later revealed to have been paid off by Flair, called for the bell in an incident similar to the Montreal Screwjob. Angle responded to the incident by spitting in Hogan's face, threatening to quit TNA and go back to WWE.[117] Angle apologized to Hogan, after being saved by him from Scott Hall and Syxx-Pac.[118] At Against All Odds Angle took part in the 8 Card Stud Tournament to crown a new number one contender, but was defeated in the first round by Mr. Anderson, after Anderson used Angle's dog tags to bust him open.[118] On the following edition of Impact! Angle promised to make Anderson suffer for disrespecting the U.S. soldiers, but was in the end once again laid out by him, effectively starting a feud between the two.[119] At Destination X Angle defeated Anderson in a rematch.[120] Angle and Anderson were booked in a rubber match inside a steel cage at Lockdown.[121] On the April 5 edition of Impact! Anderson defeated Angle in a ladder match to win possession of the key to the cage door.[122] At Lockdown, Angle defeated Anderson in a steel cage match and afterwards announced that he would now be taking some time off from wrestling.[123]

Rankings climb (2010)

Angle returned on the May 20 edition of Impact! and was ranked number two by the Championship Committee in the inaugural top 10 rankings for a World Heavyweight title shot. Angle, however, decided to take his name out of the running for a title shot and vowed to fight his way through the top 10 and earn his spot at the top of the company.[124] At Slammiversary VIII Angle started his climb back to the top by defeating Kazarian, who was ranked number ten.[125] Angle continued his climb, defeating Desmond Wolfe, who was ranked number nine prior to the match, on the June 24 edition of Impact!, and D'Angelo Dinero, ranked number eight, at Victory Road.[126][127] Prior to his match with Dinero, Angle announced that should he lose on his way to the top of the rankings, he would retire from professional wrestling[128] On the July 22 edition of Impact! Angle defeated number seven ranked Hernandez and followed that up three weeks later by defeating number six ranked A.J. Styles.[129][130] On the August 19 edition of Impact! the TNA World Heavyweight Championship was vacated and instead of continuing his climb, Angle was entered into an eight man tournament for the title, defeating X Division Champion Douglas Williams in his first round match.[131] At No Surrender Angle first wrestled Jeff Hardy to a twenty minute time limit draw, after which Eric Bischoff ordered a five minute extra time. After that and a second five minute extra time also ended in draws, it was ruled that, due to a cut, Angle wouldn't be allowed to continue the match, ending the match in a no contest.[132] After wrestling a draw on the September 16 edition of Impact!, it was announced that both Angle and Hardy would advance to the finals at Bound for Glory, where they would compete with Mr. Anderson in a three–way match.[133]

Feud with Jeff Jarrett (2010–2011)

Angle and Jeff Jarrett at Slammiversary IX.

At Bound for Glory Angle was defeated by Hardy, when he turned heel and pinned Anderson, after an interference from Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, who then went on to form an alliance named Immortal, with Hardy, Abyss and Jeff Jarrett.[134] On the following edition of Impact! Angle came out to make his retirement speech, after his failed attempt to win the World Heavyweight Champion, but was interrupted by Jarrett, who announced that he had made a deal with Hogan and Bischoff in order to end Angle's career at Bound for Glory, before attacking him, when he was restrained by TNA's security officers Gunner and Murphy.[135] The following week Angle returned, trying to get his hands on Bischoff and Ric Flair, before being stopped by TNA's security officers.[136] Angle returned three weeks later on the November 11 edition of Impact!, saving Samoa Joe from Jeff Jarrett, Gunner and Murphy.[137] After not appearing again for two weeks, Angle made another return on the December 2 edition of Impact!, saving Samoa Joe from Jeff Jarrett and Abyss.[138] On the January 6, 2011, edition of Impact! Angle interrupted Jarrett's $100,000 Mixed Martial Arts Challenge and signed a contract to face him at Genesis in an MMA exhibition match, since he had promised not to wrestle again.[139] The match was thrown out in the third round after Jarrett blinded Angle. After the match Jarrett bloodied Angle, before announcing that he was ending his mixed martial arts career and promised that his wife, Karen Jarrett (formerly Karen Angle), would be joining the retirement party.[140] On the January 13 edition of Impact! Karen made her return and stopped Angle just as he was about to attack Jeff, telling him that she would not allow him to ruin their personal lives and promised to tell all about their divorce the following week.[141] The following week Karen slapped Kurt, providing a distraction which allowed Jeff to beat him down. At the end of the show Crimson saved Angle from a beating at the hands of Immortal and Fortune.[142] The following week Ric Flair reinstated Angle in order to place him and Crimson in a seven–on–two handicap match against Jarrett, James Storm, Robert Roode, Kazarian, Rob Terry, Gunner and Murphy. The match ended with Jarrett pinning Angle for the win. Afterwards, Angle was saved from another beatdown by the returning Scott Steiner.[143] The following week Fortune turned on Immortal and aligned themselves with Angle, Crimson and Steiner.[144] On February 13 at Against All Odds Jarrett defeated Angle in a singles match and as a result Angle was forced to walk Karen down the aisle, when she and Jarrett renewed their wedding vows on the March 3 edition of Impact!. After the match Angle hinted at a possible retirement by leaving his wrestling boots in the ring.[145] On March 3 Angle proceeded to destroy the wedding set with an axe and forced wedding guest, New York Jet Bart Scott to tap out with the ankle lock.[146] On April 17 at Lockdown, Jarrett defeated Angle in an "Ultra Male Rules" Two out of Three Falls steel cage match, with help from Karen.[147] On the May 12 edition of Impact!, Angle revealed Chyna as his backup in taking care of the Jarretts.[148] At Sacrifice, Angle and Chyna defeated the Jarretts in a mixed tag team match.[149] Later that same month, Angle signed a new three-year contract with TNA.[150] With Karen out of the picture, Angle defeated Jarrett on June 12 at Slammiversary IX in what was billed as the "final battle" between the two to retain his Olympic gold medal and become the number one contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.[151] However, on the following edition of Impact Wrestling, Jarrett challenged Angle to a Parking Lot Brawl and agreed to sign a contract that would force him to move to Mexico without Angle's children, should he lose the match. Angle ended up winning the fight after choking Jarrett with a shirt, forcing him to say "adiós".[152]

Regaining the World Heavyweight Championship (2011)

With his feud with Jarrett behind him, Angle aligned himself with Sting to feud with the rest of Immortal, including the group's newest member, TNA World Heavyweight Champion Mr. Anderson.[153] On the July 14 edition of Impact Wrestling, Angle helped Sting regain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship from Anderson.[154] On August 7 at Hardcore Justice, Angle turned heel and defeated Sting, after hitting him with a chair he snatched away from Hulk Hogan, to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship for the record-breaking fifth time.[155] On the following edition of Impact Wrestling, Angle explained that he did not agree with Sting, who, using the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, wanted to hand the promotion back to Dixie Carter, as he had found out that she had lied to him about not knowing of the relationship between Karen and Jeff Jarrett. When Sting confronted Angle, he was attacked by Hogan, which led to Angle revealing that Hogan had been the one who had exposed Carter's lie to him. Angle also revealed that his goal was now to ruin Carter's youth movement in TNA by eliminating the younger wrestlers one-by-one and started by attacking Bound for Glory Series leader Crimson after the main event.[156] Angle made his first televised title defense on the September 1 edition of Impact Wrestling, defeating Sting in a rematch, following interference from special enforcer Hulk Hogan and the rest of Immortal.[157] The following week, Angle's title match with Mr. Anderson ended in a disqualification, following interference from Immortal, which led to a three-way match between Angle, Anderson and Sting on September 11 at No Surrender, where Angle managed to retain the title, following interference from Hogan.[158][159] On October 16 at Bound for Glory, Angle successfully defended the title against Bobby Roode.[160] On the following edition of Impact Wrestling, Angle lost the TNA World Heavyweight Championship to Roode's tag team partner, James Storm.[161][162] Angle returned on the November 17 edition of Impact Wrestling, attacking James Storm and revealing himself as the man who had attacked and bloodied him also the previous week, costing him his match with Bobby Roode for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.[163]

Personal life

Angle attended Clarion University of Pennsylvania, graduating with a degree in education in 1993.[164] In his later life, Angle got a Clarion University Golden Eagle, wearing a singlet, tattooed on his upper back.[citation needed]

Angle has four older brothers (one of whom, Eric, is also a wrestler) and a sister, Le'Anne, who died in 2003. His father, Dave, a crane operator,[165] was killed in a construction accident when Angle was sixteen, and Angle dedicated both his career and his autobiography It's True, It's True to him as a result. Angle claimed in an interview that, following the death of his father, he regarded his wrestling coach, David Schultz, as a paternal figure. While training Angle, Schultz was murdered in January 1996 by John Eleuthère du Pont, the sponsor of Schultz's team of Olympic prospectives.[14][15][16]

Angle being helped by his ex-wife Karen, with their daughter Kyra watching at ringside.

He married Karen Smedley[166] on December 19, 1998,[167] and the couple have a daughter, Kyra, who was born on December 2, 2002.[citation needed] They also have a son, Kody, who was born on October 26, 2006.[citation needed]In August 2007, Karen debuted in TNA as Angle's regular valet.[citation needed]In September 2008, it was reported that Karen had filed for divorce from Kurt.[168] He is now engaged to actress Giovanna Yannotti.[169] On September 30, 2010, Yannotti announced that the couple was expecting their first child.[170] On January 22, 2011, Yannotti gave birth to a daughter named Giuliana Marie Angle.[171]

In 2008, Angle was selected to be featured on the cover for metal band Emmure's second album The Respect Issue where he is depicted on the front and back covers for the record as well as in the inlay. Angle also further promoted the album by wearing an Emmure shirt during fights broadcasted on TNA Impact!.[172]

In 2009, It was reported that TNA co-founder Jeff Jarrett was romantically linked to Karen Angle, beginning while Karen and Angle were separated.[173] This resulted in TNA president Dixie Carter, placing Jeff Jarrett on leave of absence.[174][175][176][177] The situation was revealed in July 2009 when a caller claiming to be a former TNA employee called in on The Bubba the Love Sponge Show.[178][179] Dixie Carter commented on the situation on Impact, stating "a personal situation that affected the company and it put all of us in a very difficult position." She said Jeff was placed "on leave as both a talent and in his capacity with the company and I'd like to leave it at that." In December 2009, Jarrett returned to TNA. He would marry Karen on August 21, 2010.[180]

In April 2011, Angle revealed that he was planning a comeback to amateur wrestling for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.[181][182]

Substance abuse allegations

Wellness Policy violation

On March 6, 2007, Sports Illustrated reported that Angle's name was found in the client database of a Florida wellness center suspected of being a front for distributing performance-enhancing drugs.[183] The magazine alleged Angle had received prescriptions for trenbolone (which is not approved for human use by the FDA) and nandrolone, both anabolic steroids. Angle responded on his official website: "I did not improperly receive prescriptions. It is well documented that in my career I have broken vertebrae in my neck on five occasions and each time the course of treatment was under the care and supervision of my doctors. Any attempt to link me to the athletes in the current news accounts who may have improperly sought performance-enhancing drugs is without foundation."[184]

Approximately two weeks later on March 19, 2007, Sports Illustrated posted on its website another article in its continuing series investigating a steroid and HGH ring used by a number of professional athletes in several sports. That article mentioned that 10 other professional wrestlers were implicated to have received performance-enhancing drugs from the same drug ring including four WWE wrestlers and Eddie Guerrero.[185] Kurt never failed a drug test for pain pills. He did, however, fail a steroid test under WWE's Wellness Policy because his prescription for Deca-Durabolin had expired.[186]

Driving under the influence charges

Angle was arrested at his home by Moon Township, Pennsylvania police on September 28, 2007 on a charge of driving under the influence after being reported by a woman who claimed that he almost hit her while leaving a local restaurant. Officials said Angle failed a field sobriety test but refused a blood test. Angle was charged with driving under the influence and careless driving,[187] but he denies the charges.[188] On September 9, 2008, Angle was cleared of all charges pertaining to his DUI arrest.[189]

On March 25, 2011, Angle was arrested in Grand Forks, North Dakota and charged with "being in control of a motor vehicle while intoxicated", after failing a field sobriety test.[190][191][192] Angle later pled guilty to the charges and was on April 20 sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation, a chemical dependency evaluation, a $250 fine, $225 in court fees, and a ten day suspended jail sentence.[193][194]

Angle was arrested on September 4, 2011 by Virginia State Troopers for allegedly driving under the influence. Angle was placed in Warren County Jail, before posting $2,000 bail and being released in the early morning.[195][196] State police revealed that Angle's initial breath test at the scene, where he was stopped by police showed a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.091 percent, which was above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.[197] The test was later ruled not admissable and when a second test, taken at the police station, showed a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.06, the DUI charge was dropped. Angle was still charged with reckless driving.[198] On November 8, Angle entered a plea of No Contest and was sentenced to a fine of $1,500.[199]

2009 arrest

On August 15, 2009, Pittsburgh-based NBC affiliate WPXI reported that Angle had been arrested. His girlfriend stated that she had filed a protection from abuse (PFA) order and that he was stalking her in the Robinson Township area. Angle was charged with "driving while operating privilege is suspended, prohibited acts-possession, harassment and prohibited acts". Hygetropin, a human growth hormone, was found in his car; Angle maintained that he had a prescription for the drug.[200] On September 15 a District Court Judge dropped the harassment, suspended license, and drug charges against Angle. On November 9, 2009 the PFA charges were dropped after he and former girlfriend Trenesha Biggers reached an agreement to avoid contact with each other.[201]

Acting career

Kurt Angle's signature.

In regards to his future, Angle has expressed interest on several occasions in pursuing an acting career after retirement from professional wrestling.[20] In the spring of 2008, Angle made his film debut in the short film Chains. He played a racist prison deputy, credited as The Deputy.[202]

In the fall of 2008, Angle played the role of maniacal serial killer Brad Mayfield in the movie End Game. In addition, on an episode of Pros vs. Joes season three, he was teamed up with Jimmy Smith and Kendall Gill against the Joes.

Angle made an appearance on Criss Angel Mindfreak, during the segment "Car Wreck Vanish." He also made an appearance in the 2011 film Warrior as the Russian mixed-martial arts champion, Koba. Kurt stars alongside Kevin Nash, Sam Nicotero, Bill Laing, Mary Rutledge, and Bill Hinzman in the movie River of Darkness, directed by Bruce Koehler.[203] In the movie, he portrayed the town sheriff, Will Logan.[204] On the Right After Wrestling program on Sirius Satellite Radio channel 98, Angle told hosts Arda Ocal and Jimmy Korderas that he would become a part time wrestler after his contract expires in 2011 to focus on Angle Foods and his acting career.[205]


  • 2009: End Game – as Brad Mayfield
  • 2009: Chain's – as The Deputy (Short Film)
  • 2010: Death from Above – as Thule [206]
  • 2010: Devil Dogs – as Steve Stagger (pre-Production)
  • 2010: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night – as Wolfgang (2010)
  • 2010: River of Darkness – as Sheriff Will Logan (2010)
  • 2010: Beyond the Mat – as Coach Kamen[207]
  • 2011: Warrior – as Koba (2011)


In wrestling

Angle applies an ankle lock on Shawn Michaels
Angle appearing at a house show with Daivari (right)
Angle performing a moonsault on Jeff Jarrett at Bound for Glory IV
  • Nicknames
    • "The American Hero" (WWF / NJPW)
    • "The Most Celebrated Real Athlete in WWF History" (WWF)
    • "The Olympic Gold Medalist" (WWF/E / TNA)
    • "The Olympic Hero" (WWF)
    • "Your Olympic Hero" (WWF)[213]
    • "The Wrestling Machine" (WWE)
    • "The Godfather of The Main Event Mafia" (TNA)

Championships and accomplishments

Amateur wrestling

Professional wrestling

1 ^ Angle's first reign is no longer recognized by TNA.[241]
2 ^ Won during the Invasion storyline.

Lucha de Apuesta record

Wager Winner Loser Location Date Notes
Hair Edge Kurt Angle Nashville, Tennessee 02002-05-19 May 19, 2002 Hair vs. Hair match at Judgment Day[40]


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