TNA's recent tour of the UK gave Kurt Angle a ton of magazine exposure, which he exploited by continuing his efforts to lobby for a WWE return in the autumn after his contract with TNA expires, a campaign he started in late January.
The desire to return to WWE may strike some as odd, given his recent admission to the UK's Fighting Spirit Magazine that he was depressed and addicted to alcohol, prescription painkillers and Xanax for much of his run there, but he blames that on the dawning realisation soon after he won his Olympic Gold medal that he would never be able to match that amazing achievement whatever he did and sinking into a deep, long lasting depression:
"Spending my time in WWE didn’t do anything for me. Going to TNA to try and build this new company didn’t do it for me. And even having all those five-star matches meant noting to me. I didn’t enjoy any of it. I realized in rehab that I was taking drugs and drinking alcohol not because I needed it, but because I was depressed and wanted to hide the pain. But what pain do I really have, besides my neck? I can deal with that; physical pain is nothing to me. It’s the emotional pain. I put myself in that position. I’ve now realized that nothing I do is going to match my gold medal, and what I need is to enjoy what I do, and know that I’m very good at it."
Now thinking much more clearly, after undergoing WWE sponsored rehabilitation and being six months sober, he's refound his love for pro wrestling and wants to finish his career on a high note.
Although he thanked Dixie Carter for letting him keep his job while he went to rehab, he obviously realises that the shrinking company is unable to let him bow out in the manner he desires. Whatever loyalty he had to TNA seems to have been extinguished by the last two years of being downplayed in favour of other stars, as he voiced his frustrations with the past direction of his character to FSM:
"For the last two years, until I started my program with Bobby Roode, they didn’t do one thing with me. I didn’t have a storyline. I didn’t have a title run. I was just treading water. I was waiting for something to happen, and nothing happened. Then I got vocal, and nothing happened. It’s good that we have new people in, both in creative and in talent relations."
He also criticised TNA for failing to utilise Samoa Joe the right way for the past four years and implored him to go somewhere else if his push doesn't improve, which is something he'd likely have held his tongue about in the past in public.
Perhaps upping the ante of the high stakes poker game being played between the two sides, Angle was rumoured to be telling people at the recent Arnold Classic that his return to WWE was a done deal and he would be back in their fold come September, which is likely news to Stephanie McMahon and the rest of her family.
Although there is believed to be some interest on WWE's part for Angle's services, they realise how unlikely he would be to ever pass their stringent physicals due to his serious neck problems and thus he would have to be used in a non-wrestling capacity like a trainer at their performance centre or a road agent. However, that doesn't seem to be the role Angle craves given all his talk about wanting a few more five star matches with the likes of Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Triple H and Brock Lesnar before he hangs his boots up.
We'll see how this plays out in the coming months, Cagesiders, but given how tightly Janice Carter is clutching her purse strings nowadays, then a WWE return may indeed be inevitable for Kurt Angle, just probably not the way he pictures it.