When a WWE legend like Kurt Angle comes calling, turning him away is a thick-headed move.
Angle has too much to offer in and out of the ring for WWE to not seriously consider welcoming him back for a potential return to the company. Triple H reportedly doesn't agree.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required) (h/t WrestlingInc) Angle has inquired about potentially returning to WWE. Triple H apparently blew him off, leading Angle to then try to convince Vince McMahon. McMahon's response was that Triple H now makes decisions regarding talent.
That's a misguided reaction to Angle's interest in coming back to WWE. Angle's injuries and age will keep him from being a full-time wrestler, but there are a number of ways that an Angle return would be best for business.
Triple H may prefer building future stars to taking on novelty acts, but WWE can do both effectively.
No need to make Angle a headliner to the detriment of someone like Roman Reigns. No need to lean too much on the Olympian the way WCW leaned on an aging Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage years ago.
Through some combination of a handful of bouts, a few appearances, a video game deal, a Hall of Fame induction or a role as a manager, Angle can only increase interest in the product and help sell the WWE Network.
At 45 years old, he's certainly not in his prime anymore. WWE, though, brought back and featured a wrestler exactly the same age this year in Batista.
And Sting, who is 10 years older than Angle, is working with the company in a non-wrestling capacity, but WWE has gauged fan interest in seeing him compete. In an interview with Michael Cole, Triple H said "never say never" in regard to Sting possibly wrestling:
Why not then entertain the thought of a short farewell tour for Angle?
He's been far more productive in the ring than Sting recently. In the past year-plus, he's worked several matches that have earned high star ratings from Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t ProFightDB.com).
|Kurt Angle Recent High-Rated Matches|
|Event||Opponent||Star Rating out of 5|
|Slammiversary XI||AJ Styles||4|
|Bound for Glory 2013||Bobby Roode||3.75|
|TNA Impact-Oct. 31, 2013||Bobby Roode||4|
|TNA Impact-Jan. 23, 2014||Bobby Roode||3.75|
|Wrestling Observer Newsletter, ProFightDB.com|
After seeing Angle and Bobby Roode put on the best match of the Bound for Glory pay-per-view, and Angle and Styles outshine the main event (featuring Sting), WWE has to know that Angle has at least one more great match in him.
Injuries be damned—he and Roode put on a stellar showing earlier this year:
One might argue that Angle's time in TNA makes him less desirable. Angle has been a major part of the rival company for years, perhaps making him a pariah of sorts.
TNA isn't the wasteland that no one comes back from, though. Christian, Jeff Hardy and Rob Van Dam all left WWE for TNA but were later asked to come back.
Maybe it's his drug history that is scaring off Triple H and Co.
Talking to Jim Ross on The Ross Report, Angle said that he has been clean for a year. Besides, WWE took in Hardy from 2006 to 2009 after WWE released him in 2003 partly for "refusing to go into drug rehabilitation," per WWE.com.
WWE's choice to give Hardy a second chance resulted in a number of big moments, including a standout feud with CM Punk, which earned the Feud of the Year award from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
Angle and Daniel Bryan in a dream match at WrestleMania or a Cesaro vs. Angle showdown are the types of enticing bouts that will affect WWE's bottom line. The folks at Wrestle Reaction are the only ones who see the possibilities in a Rusev vs. Angle program:
The rarity of the "it" factor that Angle brings to the ring and his storied history in the business make him a commodity WWE can't just close the door on.
Even if WWE doesn't want to have him wrestle because of the injuries he's accumulated, why not have him do the kind of work that Ric Flair, Hogan and other legends do?
Let him stand in Reigns' corner should he face Lesnar at WrestleMania. Let him just show up to a Raw to address the crowd.
WWE has to be thinking of ways to profit from Angle's name. When you can bring aboard a member of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame, you do it. When you have a shot to use the only Olympic gold medalist in WWE history as a spokesman or special guest, you take it.
Dismiss telemarketers, not marquee wrestlers with credentials like Angle's.