The latest episode of Jim Ross' podcast , The Ross Report, features the first part of his interview with Kurt Angle. The only Olympic Gold Medalist in pro wrestling history talked with JR for over an hour and spoke about his most recent knee surgery and how his recovery is going.
During the course of their discussion, which also included why Angle chose WWE over UFC at the start of his post-amateur career in the mid-90s, they delved into his contractual status with his current employer, TNA. Dixie Carter's company recently made Kurt their second Hall of Fame inductee, and he's performing an authority figure role on Impact Wrestling while rehabbing his knee.
Angle told Ross that his TNA contract expires on September 21st. The company offered him an extension which he declined to sign at this time. The five-time TNA World champion said that since his next pro wrestling contract will likely be his last, he is taking time to consider what that means for him and the company that signs him.
For a guy who has notoriously worked through injury and consistently puts his body on the line for big spots and moments, it's a sign of progress that he realizes that his in-ring career has an expiration date.
Now, though, with a return to the ring not in the cards until October at the earliest, it's clear that Angle is open to his next wrestling match not being with TNA.
Speculation about where he'll go next has been around since before his latest injury, an ACL tear in May. His first choice would probably be WWE. A man who focuses on his legacy as much as Angle knows the value of working for the largest company in sports entertainment, and the one that most fans think of when they think both "pro wrestling" and "Hall of Fame".
It's unclear if WWE would have him back, though. While Stephanie McMahon did leave the door open during an interview in his hometown last year, the company released him from his contract in 2006 due to health concerns. In the eight years since, he has had more injuries, surgeries and treatment for substance abuse following legal issues related to drugs and alcohol. WWE is also looking to cut costs these days, not add them. A deal with Vince McMahon may not be as lucrative as it would have been a year or so ago.
The other possibility is Jeff Jarrett's Global Force Wrestling (GFW). Jarrett and Angle have apparently made peace with any personal issues from Jeff marrying Kurt's ex-wife, but is working to get another promotion off the ground at age 45 what he wants to do with his time as an athletic performer running down?
According to the four-time WWE Champion, we'll know more come the fall.
What do you think, Cagesiders? Do you want Kurt Angle back in WWE? Should they sign him?