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Kurt Angle is retiring after the one year contract he's signed but not announced yet, won't say who it's with

It's been a little while since we've heard anything from Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle on his pro wrestling future.

Over the course of the last year, we've had WWE not ruling out a return and Kurt openly asking for a return while every backstage report and dirt screen rumor indicated that there was no way he'd ever pass a physical to work for Vince McMahon again.

An interview posted today over at says that his TNA contract officially expired a few days back, and continues into a wide-ranging discussion of his career and what might be next for Angle.  While he claims that his next deal is in place, and that it will be his last in pro wrestling, he doesn't sound like someone who's at peace with it - despite his insistence to the contrary.

Here are some highlights (and some thoughts from us), but be sure to click over to Alternative Nation for the whole interview.

On his next injury rehabilitation and next contract:

I can't really say who I'm going with yet or what company I'm going to sign with. I am going to sign, but I'm going to just sign for 1 year, and that's that. I think I'm pretty much done, I'm just going to have the best year I can have. Hopefully it'll be my best year, then I'm going to retire.

I don't plan on doing anything until January, so pretty much my contract will expire, and the next one will start in January. My knee has a lot to do with it, with my rehabilitation I won't be cleared to wrestle until January.

...the agreement has been made; it's just that our attorneys have to complete all of the bullcrap that goes with it. Both sides have agreed to it, we're just waiting for the attorneys to dot the I's, and cross the T's.

On his standing with WWE:

The only person that I really spoke my piece with, that I had a lot to do with in the past, and the problems I had and the way I left the company, I was able to speak my piece with Vince, and I'm happy with that. As long as Vince and I don't have any issues, I'm okay with that. What I found out is that Triple H is pretty much running the show now. I didn't know that, I really believed that Vince would always run the show until the day he died, but now they're in a position as a publicly traded company where you're not only answering to Vince and Triple H, you're also answering to the shareholders.

So there's a lot of decisions they have to make not just for themselves, but for the people that are invested in the company. So it's a publicly traded company, and there's people they have to answer to, but I know when I was there, Vince McMahon never had to answer to anyone. He made the final decision regardless, even when they started as a public company. Now things are a little tougher for them to make chancy decisions. The most important thing is that I got to speak to Vince, and speak my piece with him, and I'm happy with that.

Not only does this run counter to Triple H's version of the company's decision making structure, but it also sounds a bit like the power players at WWE are passing the buck of responsibility for not bringing Kurt back into the fold (or Angle is hearing it that way).  The interviewer does not directly address rumors that he tried to go over Hunter's head by going to Vince, but you could read Angle's answer as a defense of those actions.  Either way, this doesn't sound to me like someone who'll be appearing at Royal Rumble next January.

On TNA's future:

Wherever I go, it is going to start in January, but I will be doing some stuff for TNA. I will not be at Bound For Glory due to contractual disputes.

I don't think it's an issue of a network not wanting them, I think it's an issue of where they want to go, where they will be best promoted, where they can expand more worldwide and internationally, with a network that is domestic. I believe that they have a few different offers on the table, they are just trying to be very discreet about which one they want to go with that will be the best fit for them.

TNA signed a deal with UTA to be their representative, and I think it was a great move. Before they just did the deals by themselves, and they needed someone to show them that they had more value, and that they should be a little more choosy about what they do. Not that Spike is a bad decision, but I think the promotion for TNA could be better. We've had a great run with Spike, and whether we continue with them or not, it's really about how the network can promote TNA, outside of just the TV show. the TV's we just did, Dixie Carter and ‘Big' John Gaburick sat the talent down and eased their minds a little bit, because I think a lot of the talent were a little bit confused and nervous regarding what was going on. I had a private sit down with Dixie, she reassured me of what was going on, and what her plans were. It was a good meeting, it was a very positive meeting. She just knows that the next deal that they sign really has to help benefit TNA, in every regard.

When it comes down to it, it is about money, and it is also about how you can get promoted on that network. I won't say that Spike did a bad job, but I will say that Spike could have done better. If it is going to be Spike, and I don't know, because Dixie really wouldn't say who it was, they're going to have to do a better job. I know that that's where TNA is right now. They're in a period where they're budgeting because they don't have the money from the network to pay for the TV shows. I believe Panda Energy is funding the show right now, so yes, we're going to have to do TV tapings in the same city 2 or 3 days at a time until we get to the point where we can go live again, and that will be when the TV deal is done.

He switches between referring to TNA as "they" and "we", which could be an indicator of his future, or could just be a product of having been with the company for nearly a decade.  His critique of Spike is noteworthy (and I didn't include it here, but he has similar criticisms about Eric Bischoff's use of him as a producer), but his claim that they'll go back to live episodes with a new contract seems pretty pie in the sky.

On Global Force Wrestling:

I think Jeff knows what he's doing, I think he has enough experience to start another promotion. I've never had a problem with Jeff from a business perspective, I think that he can do it. I think it's going to be that much harder because you already have WWE and TNA, and they're both obviously here to stay, at least for the next few years. I think that if anybody can do it, it's Jeff Jarrett.

All this reads to me like he'll be back with TNA...what's your take, Cagesiders?  There's lots more in the full interview at Alternative Nation.

Do you believe his next contract will be his last, or do you still expect him to "come home" to WWE at some point, even if (or especially) not as an active wrestler?

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