The Only Olympic Gold Medalist in WWE History
Kurt Steven Angle was born on December 9th, 1968 in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania. He is one of the hardest working men to have ever stepped foot inside a ring. Long before he came our way, Angle was an amateur wrestler. I’m talking back in school days. Kurt won numerous accolades for himself and his college, Clarion University in PA, becoming a two-time NCAA Division I Champion. After graduating, Angle went on to a win a gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the 1995 World Wrestling Championships. A year later, Kurt won a Gold Medal in Heavyweight Freestyle Wrestling at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
A resume like that could not possibly be ignored. Anyone who ran a wrestling show wanted Kurt Angle to be on it. Vince McMahon tried to sign Angle right off the Olympics, but Kurt had a lot of people in his ear, all telling him that Vince and the WWE would tarnish his legacy as an Olympic hero. I mean, come on, the guy won a Gold Medal in ’96 with a broken neck. He was convinced that would have been for nothing if he became a Professional Wrestler. Then, as Angle tells it, he was flipping through the channels and he stumbled upon Monday Night Raw. Something about it caught his attention and he kept on watching, week after week; until it finally became clear; he regretted turning down the contract McMahon offered him.
At the same time, he credits that decision with turning him into the sort of Professional Wrestler he became. His initial contract would have given him the world with the stroke of a pen. That wouldn’t have ended well. Instead, he went back to Vince and got a new contract. This time, it would require a lot more work for Angle to get on WWE Television. Angle had to wrestle dark matches for months on end, while also traveling to the training camp he was working out of.
I’m sure any of his fans know how Kurt picked up the business of Sports Entertainment faster than anyone had before him.
Kurt Angle’s first televised story for WWE began in March 1999. By February 2000, the Master of the Angle Slam was carrying both the Intercontinental and European Titles. Four months after that, he won the King of the Ring tournament. Then, in October 2000, Angle won his first WWE Championship. Let’s count those off. In a little over a year, Kurt managed to win the King of the Ring, the IC Championship, the European Championship, and the WWE Championship. If the WWE had “Rookie of the Year” Slammy awards, I imagine Angle would’ve taken one home.
I remember the moment Angle really began to pop for me. He was in a program with the Rock during the Invasion storyline. It was WWE vs. ECW & WCW. However, due to the fact that the majority of the big stars in WCW had some fat ass guaranteed pay contracts, they decided to sit this storyline out. That left the WCW without any marquis names to go up against the WWE wrestlers, and a bunch of the familiars started jumping ship. The two biggest defections came through Stone Cold Steve Austin, and the Rock.
This left guys like Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle to protect the home front. Chris Jericho went up against the Rock in a fantastic feud, but they had even bigger plans for Angle. He was to be the mole. He was sent, deep cover, into the rank and file of the WCW and ECW army. This led to the Survivor Series 2001, where the Winner Takes All elimination tag match took place. It was The Rock (who came back home to team WWE), Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, Kane, and Big Show vs. Team Alliance (WCW/ECW): Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Booker T, and Shane McMahon.
On the Raw before the event, Vince promised a member of Team Alliance would defect over to team WWE. It turned out to be Kurt, which was the plan all along. McMahon needed somebody on the other side that he could trust, and he had that in the Olympic Gold Medalist.
During his tenure with Vince and the WWE, Kurt won a total of 11 Championships, including the previously mentioned IC and European Titles, as well as the Hardcore Championship, the Tag Team Championships, and four WWE Championships. He had a highly decorated career in the company, and then he went over to the only competition in town: TNA.
Even there, he continues to shine. He was the second Grand Slam Champion in the history of the company, and he’s held the TNA Championship a record six times. It doesn’t matter what company he goes to, he’ll always be entertaining. He is sure to remembered as one of the greatest in history.
Oh, it’s true.
IT’S DAMN TRUE!