Pro wrestling legend and incoming WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle participated in a Reddit AMA over the weekend, and he recalled some amazing stories - from the time he talked Vince McMahon into letting him main event WrestleMania with a severely injured neck, to The Undertaker suggesting Angle be the one to break his WrestleMania streak.
The Undertaker offered to lose to Kurt Angle at WrestleMania
“Undertaker did go to me in January of  and said, "Listen, I think we should talk to Vince. I know you're champion. I know they don't want to go with me as champion, so I'm willing to lose if we have to. I never had that Wrestlemania match that I wanted and I know that I can have it with you."
He encouraged me to talk with Vince. It was never thought of. Vince never thought of it. As a matter of fact, Vince shot it down right away! But it was an idea Undertaker had. It wasn't an idea I had. It wasn't an idea Vince was thinking of doing. Vince McMahon didn't want it and it was an idea that got shot down. That conversation was very quick, very brief. (laughs)
Fortunately, Undertaker did have those Wrestlemania Moment matches afterward, so I was really happy for him that he had that.”
Angle on suplexing Shane McMahon through a pane of plexiglass
“We were told earlier in the day, "Listen, don't go near the glass! No pyro tonight. No fireworks because this is sugar glass. It will break. It will crack. It will ruin the whole gimmick of the match!"
When we were wrestling and I went to throw Shane in and he didn't go through it, I thought, "Man, that is some hard sugar glass!" (laughs)
Unfortunately, they called the magic, the stunt guy, I guess that's the term they used for the stuff he put together for matches and he gets the equipment. He ultimately ordered the wrong glass or they sent the wrong glass. They said it was sugar glass but it was actually plexiglass.
If I had known that, we never would have went through it.
Shane had multiple, you know, fifty, sixty stitches. He got cut up pretty well. We both ended up in the hospital that night. It was the most brutal match I ever had been in.
Unfortunately for Shane, I didn't know what to do. The second time I threw him through the glass, he wouldn't go through and I literally threw him face first. Had I known that was plexiglass, I never would have done that to him!”
Angle on the “You Suck” chant
“The thing is, they were chanting Angle when I was starting to get over. Even though I was a heel, fans started liking the Kurt Angle character. And then Edge came in and they turned me really, deep heel and Edge came up with the idea of, "Hey, why don't I tell everybody to chant, 'You suck!' instead of 'Angle?'"
And they did it. And because I was heel for probably five to seven years when I was there, it was perfect. When I was a babyface, it was even better because we all knew how good I was. I mean, shit, you know, there were writers saying, "Gosh dang, Kurt Angle is only in the second year of his wrestling and he's the best in the business!"
I knew how good I was. So the issue of, "You suck!" never really bothered me. I just kind of took it as a compliment as a babyface because the chants actually got louder!
… There was a different aura about my, "You suck!" chants versus Cena's, "Cena sucks!" chant. I also think it's because I did lose a lot more than John. But John was a babyface. When I was a babyface, I rarely ever lost. But I was a heel a lot of times, so it was okay for me to bite the bullet here and there, so I wasn't one of those guys that was one of those undefeated type of wrestlers. I was more, you know, fans looked at me like, "This is going to be a five-star match because Kurt Angle is wrestling and we don't care who wins," you know?
With John, it was, "God, he makes me sick because he always wins!"
Angle on talking Vince McMahon into letting him main event WrestleMania XIX
“What happened was I hurt my neck at No Way Out a month before Wrestlemania [XIX] wrestling Brock. I backed out of Mania, unfortunately.
So, Vince McMahon asked me, "Hey, can you do a thirty-second match on Smackdown so we can get that title off of you?"
I believe he was going to go with Brock versus Benoit. So he said, "We'll do that the week before Mania. You will just have to take one bump, the F-5, and go ahead and get your surgery."
Now, I want you to also understand this would never happen today. Not with WWE's Wellness Policy, not with their drug policy. That kind of stuff back then, that's not happening anymore. If there's something wrong with anybody's neck and it's broken, WWE is not going to let you wrestle. So a lot of things have changed for the better.
I was over at my neighbors house about two days before that Smackdown match where I was supposed to drop the title to Brock, which was a week before Mania. A good friend of mine who has Down's Syndrome came up to me and said, "I heard that you are not wrestling!" He started crying. He said, "I heard you are not wrestling Brock at Wrestlemania," and he held up a DirectTV cover that had Brock and I facing off, and the kid made me cry.
At the moment, I literally called Vince right then. I said, "Listen, let me go at Mania. I can do this. Have Brock and I go out and do it. I'll drop the belt to Brock."
I wasn't supposed to lose the title to Brock. I was supposed to continue to be the champion, but because of my neck injury, I was going to drop it to Brock. I talked to Vince into having the match.”
Angle on the worst moment during his battle with addiction
“For me, the rock bottom was when my second wife Giovanna said to me, "Listen, I love you, but you have had 4 DUI's already. I love you but I can't stay with you. I can't live like this. You pass out every night at 7 o'clock and you don't spend any time with the kids." Then she said, "If you can't turn this around, we're leaving."
It took the courage from her because she didn't have to do that. She was living a pretty good life with me, but that wasn't fulfilling to her. She wanted me. She wanted the Kurt Angle that she knew. So I decided to check into rehab. That's where my rock bottom came.
Fortunately, I didn't get fired, either. I think anybody that had 4 DUI's, whether they got thrown out or not, shouldn't have a job. So for me, it wasn't rock bottom, but the way my wife made me feel at that time when I was in denial, I realized I couldn't go down this path anymore. I needed to change my life.”
Angle on why it took so long to come back to WWE
“They didn't want me. And I understood why. You know, when you screw up so many times, your reputation is destroyed. It doesn't matter how good you are or how much the fans want you back. If you're a publicly traded company, you're looking at Kurt Angle and saying, "Okay, he's been in a lot trouble with drugs. He's had four DUI's. He's out of control. We haven't had him in for eleven years. Is he really worth it? Will it have a negative effect on the business? Will he be a liability?" So I understood.
I've been trying to get back into the WWE for the last two or three years. But they wanted to see how I played out. You know, they wanted to know if Kurt Angle really is who he says he is right now. Is he a recovering addict? Is he really drug-free? Is his neck healthy?”
Angle’s first impression of John Cena
“At the beginning, I was told that this guy had it all. When I wrestled him, did I think he was going to be as big as he was? No. But I also didn't know that he had such an incredible business mind. Literally, three months in from when he started, he was meeting with Vince McMahon on different merchandise ideas.
He came up with that belt, the spinning belt. He just had, he was prepared. I have never seen anybody who came to the company be more prepared than John Cena. He was set from a wrestling standpoint, from a character standpoint, from a business standpoint, and when he started doing the rapper thing, he just took off. And rightfully so. He was one of the most prepared individuals I had ever seen.”
Angle on having some of his best matches with Chris Benoit lost to history
“My match with Chris Benoit [at Royal Rumble 2003]... the only reason why that's not my favorite match of all time is because it always has an asterisk next to it. Most of my best matches were with Chris Benoit! So, you're taking away all that history I had with him. I get it, but gosh dang! How are you ever going to place Kurt Angle in the history books as one of the best of all times but you can't really count Chris Benoit's matches?
That match in 2003, I never had a better match than that. I literally, when that match was over, I had Triple H, who probably knows more about the business than anyone I know, he walked up to me, he never does this, he walked up and he said, "Kurt," because he know I structured the match and that I put it together. I was only in the business at this point for only three-and-a-half years. I was very new to it, but I structured that thing and I put a lot of work behind it. And he said, "Kurt, you just raised the bar for all of us."
For him to say, "Listen, you just took the reins. You're the man and we all need to follow your example." I thought that was a huge compliment.”