Kurt Angle to Be Inducted into WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2017

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2017

ORANGE, CA - MAY 08:  Wrestler Kurt Angle arrives at the Lions Gate Premiere of 'See No Evil' at the Century Stadium Promenade 25 on May 8, 2006 in Orange, California.  (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
Michael Buckner/Getty Images

WWE announced Monday that Kurt Angle will join the 2017 Hall of Fame class.

"[Angle's] accomplishments both in the Olympics and WWE were extraordinary," Triple H said in a statement, per WWE.com's Bobby Melok. "He was one of the most gifted athletes to ever enter the ring, and we are honored to welcome him into the WWE Hall of Fame."

Angle tweeted about the news:

A number of decorated amateur wrestlers have gone on to wrestle in WWE, but few have tasted the success Angle has.

A gold medalist in freestyle wrestling at the 1996 Summer Olympics, Angle made his televised debut at the 1999 Survivor Series with a win over Shawn Stasiak.

Over the next few years, he established himself as one of the best in-ring technicians in the world. He has held the World Heavyweight Championship on one occasion and is a four-time WWE champion.

Angle was granted his release from WWE in 2006 and quickly signed with TNA, where he immediately became one of the company's biggest stars. A six-time TNA world champion, Angle was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2014:

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Angle's induction into WWE's Hall of Fame will be well-earned. His feud with Brock Lesnar in 2003 was one of WWE's best of the 2000s, and he helped carry the flag for the SmackDown brand when WWE split up its two flagship programs.

Monday's announcement will lead many to wonder whether an in-ring return to WWE is on the horizon for Angle.

In a March interview with The World According to Wrestling (via Nick Paglino of WrestleZone.com), the 48-year-old said he'd be open to wrestling in WWE again at some point down the road:

Well, for one, I don't want to go back right now. Two, between 2008 and 2013, I got four DUIs. As a publicly traded company, it doesn't matter if you're Kurt Angle, Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Undertaker, when you get involved in that kind of trouble consistently, that's the last thing they need. So when I did try and go back a year and a half ago, I think they were thinking "Let's see how he pans out, let's see if he can stay clean, let's see if he got his shit together" so I think that's part of it. I don't blame them for that. I actually knew ahead of time that they were most likely going to say no. And I knew it was because of my own actions. But being clean now for three years and abiding by what I have to, I know that there will come a time where I will go back.

The 2017 Royal Rumble is a little less than two weeks away, so WWE may opt to have Angle be a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble match Jan. 29. Almost every year, the company has a legend come back to make an appearance.

Despite his age, Angle likely has enough left in the tank to put on a few more classic matches before he hangs up his wrestling boots for good.