One of the most anticipated moments during WrestleMania 33 weekend on April 2 will be the induction of Olympic gold medalist and former world champion Kurt Angle into the 2017 class of the WWE Hall of Fame.
While it's been over 10 years since Angle wrestled his last match for WWE, the six-time world champion has generated a genuine buzz surrounding his return. The hope from many fans now is to see the company bring him back for one last in-ring run.
In a recent interview promoting the new AngleStrong addiction recovery app, Angle spoke to Ring Rust Radio about his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, his thoughts on Brock Lesnar and Goldberg's recent return.
In January, WWE announced that Angle would be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, which came as a surprise to many fans who were hoping for an in-ring return first. While Angle still should wrestle again—and even fight for a world championship—the honor of going into the Hall of Fame will at least make for a memorable WrestleMania weekend.
"I was surprised and I was very honored. I was surprised because I wasn't done wrestling yet," Angle, 48, said. "Usually you get inducted into the Hall of Fame when you're done wrestling. When WWE called me, it was Triple H about a month-and-a-half ago. We talked the year prior, and he said he was going to do something with me and to just give him some time, and when they will come up with it, they will give me a call.
"When I did get the call, I was thinking I was getting a call to wrestle, but they presented the Hall of Fame to me. I was elated and I know I don't much time left for wrestling and I am transitioning, so it was OK," Angle continued. "I was all right doing it, but I did bring up the fact that am I going to be able to wrestle again and basically, I was shot down and told, 'Let's get you to the Hall of Fame and we will talk after that.' There are no plans for me wrestling. There are rumors about it, but I haven't heard anything about it. Most likely I will wrestle again, but we haven’t talked about it yet."
One of the wrestlers who helped make Angle's career so memorable was Brock Lesnar. The two former collegiate wrestlers had several run-ins during their time in WWE together, and Angle has always acknowledged how much those moments meant to him.
When asked about Lesnar and what kind of athlete he is, Angle spoke honestly about the former NCAA, UFC and WWE champion.
"Brock is the greatest athlete I've ever gotten in the ring with," Angle said. "He can be the best at whatever he wants to be. He was an NCAA champion, a UFC champion and he was one cut away from making an NFL team and without ever playing a game in his life.
"The Minnesota Vikings wanted him to go to NFL Europe for a year and come back. They were going to do a deal with him, and he would've been a 10-time All-Pro—there's no doubt about it," Angle continued. "I know his capabilities, and he has that kind of potential. To show that kind of versatility, not many people can do that. Brock is a special athlete not because he is so big and strong, but because he's such a great damn athlete and one of the best I ever got in the ring with."
Another part-time Superstar making waves in WWE again after a long time away is Goldberg. Not only does Angle respect the former WCW champion, but he also looks at the 50-year-old's return as a potential template for his own if WWE brings him back for one last in-ring run.
"Goldberg's a great wrestler, and in his prime, he was the man, especially for WCW," Angle stated. "I don't think his WWE career ended the way he wanted it to, but he is an incredible athlete and he has done a lot of pro wrestling. It's nice to see somebody of his stature and somebody that hasn't been there in 14 years to go in there and get a great spot. It does give me a lot of hope.”
While it was exciting news to hear when WWE announced Kurt Angle as a member of the 2017 Hall of Fame class, most wrestling fans would like to see him back inside a wrestling ring competing against the top stars the company has to offer.
Angle and WWE didn't end their relationship on great terms in 2006, but time heals wounds. As seen with Sting, Ultimate Warrior and even Goldberg, relationships can be mended and company officials will do what's best for business most of the time.
Even if Angle never wrestles another WWE match, his legacy is already cemented. At the 2017 Hall of Fame ceremony, Angle will get the induction he deserves.
For more wrestling talk, listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot topics or catch the latest episode in the player above (some language NSFW).