Following Kurt Angle's career can be a bit frustrating.
Between the Olympic Gold Medalist's own sometimes contradictory or confusing statements and the rumor mill that is the wrestling internet, it's hard to tell if he's retiring or taking time off, who he did or didn't talk to about a comeback and more.
There is pretty constant interest among fans for a return of the TNA Hall of Famer to WWE, however. So any chance to hear him expound at length on the topic is worth investigating.
Recently, Angle sat down with The World According To Wrestling podcast to talk about a wide range of issues, including some candid comments about why he left WWE, what's kept a reunion from happening and how he thinks a return he believes is inevitable will go down.
A good sign for people hoping to hear "Medal" again on Raw and/or pulling for Kurt to stay sober is the ownership he's taking about his exit, and why he wasn't re-signed in the past couple of years:
There are a lot of reasons [for his 2006 exit]. The main reason was the work schedule. I was probably on the road over 300 days a year. I was getting injured quite a bit. I did have a problem with painkillers. When they brought me into ECW, I felt like it was a demotion. Even though it wasn't. I don't think they planned it to be. They didn't mean to, but they set that company up to fail. And I felt like I was part of it.
...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.
Angle says he doesn't want to return to WWE now. In other interviews, he's talked about leaving TNA (originally described as a break from pro wrestling) as a way to not be contracted to one company so he has flexibility to work independent shows like his recent UR Fight date while investigating acting or even mixed martial arts options.
On the subject of working for Vince McMahon again ("I know that there will come a time where I will go back," he says), Angle has some ideas for how it could go...
For me to go back and, if I do go back I'd love to be able to wrestle, but I know I can't do it full time. I'm 47 years-old. And that's why those guys [Chad Gable & Jason Jordan] would be perfect as my team, like a Team Angle, because they could do the wrestling for me until the big one comes. So it would be kind of cool to have that. I'm not going to say those guys are going to be my guys, but they're almost ready to come up - if not they are ready. I've watched them wrestle and they're really good. It would be really cool to have a new Team Angle. I could do the big matches; the Summerslams and the Wrestlemanias. I think that would be a good mix. And it would also give them a great rub, a rub that they need. We'll see if we do something like that, I don't know if it's on the cards, but you never know.
You can listen to the entire interview via the embedded Soundcloud player below, or download TWAW on iTunes. Angle also goes into greater detail about drug addiction in the business, differences in how injuries are handled now as opposed to in the past, Shane McMahon, the WWE Hall of Fame and more.
Are you on, or hoping for a comeback from, Team Angle?