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Kurt Angle Talks Early WWE Career With Steve Austin

Wednesday 12th, June 2013 / 10:07 Written by

Stone Cold Steve Austin Steve Austin has developed a knack for being a great interviewer, especially when he is talking to one of his friends podcast. Ironically his best interview may have come from his arguably best in-ring rival, Kurt Angle.

The Steve Austin podcast has quickly turned into one of the hottest pro wrestling talk shows online. Austin has developed a knack for being a great interviewer, especially when he is talking to one of his friends. That is why it should be no surprise that his recent interview with friend and former foe Kurt Angle is probably his best to date.

I don’t even know where to start with this interview. Kurt and Steve talking about Kurt’s amateur career and his Olympic history before he even got into pro wrestling was fascinating yet when they got into pro wrestling, this interview got even better.

Some of the highlights were Kurt telling Steve about his ECW experience, recalling his famous RAW cage match with Chris Benoit and how that impacted his career, and much more. However the part I found most fascinating was when Kurt talked about getting into the WWE. Kurt’s stories were great but hearing Steve react to them was even better. Here is just a little bit of the exchange when Steve asked Kurt about getting into the WWE.

Steve Austin: I read that you turned down the initial offer presented to you by the WWF. Were you too good to be a pro wrestler? What was your attitude?

Kurt Angle: (Laughs)

Steve: Hey, I want to know.

Kurt: I didn’t turn it down okay. First of all when I was approached Vince McMahon flew me up, I sat down with him, and me knowing nothing about the business I told Vince, he contract they offered me a contract, it was a ten-year deal, and it was a lot of money. I didn’t make any money as an amateur wrestler so here was this multi-million dollar deal thank God, and I said, “You know what? There is one thing though that I need to tell you Vince, or Mr. McMahon, I can’t lose.” (laughs)

Steve: (laughing) You can’t lose in pro wrestling? You are one crazy bastard, keep going.

Kurt: (laughing) So Vince I could tell he wanted to bust out laughing but he was trying to keep his face straight. I didn’t know anything about it, I believe Bruce Pritchard was in the room as well, and he said, “Well take the contract home, think about it but I can’t promise you you’re going to win every match,” and I took the contract home and I took it to my agent, Ralph Cindrich who happens to be a very successful NFL agent, he’s also Ben Roethlisberger’s agent, and at the time he took the contract from me and threw it in the garbage. He said, “You’re not doing this crap.” I literally never looked back, I went and I did a stint as a sportscaster for a year and did a lot of motivational speaking, I did a lot of clinics and camps for wrestling, and one night in late 98 I turn on RAW is War and I saw a character named Stone Cold Steve Austin and the stuff that you guys were doing…Steve I’m not doing this to put you over but you’re actually the reason I started. It wasn’t just you but at the time you were so hot and everybody, it was just the Stone Cold Steve Austin craze thing going on and I’m watching you wrestle and thinking, “Wow this guy is actually a really great athlete,” and on the mic he’s entertaining and funny and intense and I said, “You know what, it’d be really cool if I could do that,” and I remember at the time you guys had so many different wrestlers, great wrestlers like Triple H and The Rock and The Undertaker and Kane, a lot of great characters, even guys like Val Venis and Bob Holly, I mean everybody was over, it was the Attitude Era and I looked at my girlfriend at the time and said, “You know what? I think I’m going to call WWE, WWF at the time, I’m going to see if that contract still stands.” I called and Vince McMahon said, I’m sorry not Vince McMahon, Jim Ross I talked to him and I asked if the contract would still go as planned he said, “no.” He said, “At this point you’re going to have to come up and try out.” I said, “Well alright I’ll come up and try out.” Steve, when I went up the first day, my manager was there, I took three bumps in the ring and I can tell everybody that it was the hardest thing I ever did. Every bump killed me. I looked at my manager and said, “I don’t think I can do this.” I always tell everybody that I was an amateur wrestler, Olympic gold medalist in one of the toughest sports in the world I was a great football player, one of the toughest sports in the world, I got in that wrestling ring and after three bumps I literally said, “These pro wrestlers are either crazy or they’re the baddest m-fers in the world.” It doesn’t mean they could kick your ass, but they could take a beating more than any individual in this whole world.

Steve: There’s nothing like slamming into that mat and it’s just a total come to Jesus meeting with reality. Whatever you think about that business it all changes as soon as you hit that mat Mister and you either learn to love bumping or you kind of just don’t really get in the business because it just goes part and parcel with the business. What I broke in in Chris Adams school I mean basically the school was learning how to take a bump! I barely learned how to wrestle at all they covered the basics but it was all all about slapping that mat, a karate-type fall, protect your back because as you know if you want to take that flat back landing, when you start landing in stages and whip the rest of your body down…that’s when everything gets discombobulated and that’s when the injuries start piling up. So you go in, you do your tryout, you take those three bumps, you think, “Oh holy sh*t what have I gotten myself into,” what was your mindset then?

Kurt: I was going to quit but my manager talked me into staying.

Steve: (laughs) You hadn’t even started yet!

Kurt: (laughs) I’m telling you it was the hardest thing I ever did in my life. I stayed and within four days I had my first match. I didn’t know what I was doing, it was against Tom Pritchard, he called the whole thing, and I just followed him. It came to me relatively easy even though I look back and it was hard as heck because here I was and I will admit to everyone that I didn’t know what I was doing when I started on TV. When I started on TV, I mean I worked my way up the ranks faster than anyone that I’ve ever seen, I was wrestling you and The Rock within my first year and I didnt know a thing about wrestling.

Steve: I can vouch for you you didn’t know a thing. I’m kidding you. When you broke in the business, on record in any interview I’ve ever done I say on the record, “No one has ever picked up the business of professional wrestling as fast as Kurt Angle.” I mean it was absolutely incredible how you were able to come in and adapt. Obviously your wrestling background helps with all of the wrestling but amateur wrestling and pro wrestling, throw in the psychology, and than the work aspect and you’ve got to lose that mark aspect from when you first came into that contract and said “I’m not going to lose”, there’s just so much that goes into it but Jesus. You were like a duck to water.

Kurt: The thing I did when I started was that I watched the top guys. I watched you. I watched Triple H. I watched The Rock. I watched Undertaker. I watched whether it had to do with promos or it had to do with wrestling…with you it was both because people don’t know this, you’re so underrated as a wrestler because your character was so damn strong that people don’t know how good you were. You were in the ring, you were the best improviser I ever wrestled and that means we didn’t have to plan anything backstage, you could lead me through a match and I didn’t have to think about anything because all I had to do was listen to you. I can’t say that about every wrestler. I think Triple H was pretty good at it, Taker was pretty good at it, but you were the best. There were guys that needed to call everything back, in the back and I’m not going to say who they were but with you it was so easy because all I had to do was go out there and listen to you and you made me look good so everybody thought that I was better than I really was. I did catch on, but from listening to you and working with you and watching you. I did the same thing in amateur wrestling. I studied tapes. I kept watching you and watching the top guys and studying you and seeing what to do, not only from a wrestling aspect, but from an entertaining aspect, and it got a lot easier when I turned my instincts off from amateur wrestling. I started learning something new which was the art of pro wrestling. The psychology is so hard, everyone thinks you just go out there and do a bunch of stunts. If that’s what you do you’re never going to get over.

Great stuff there from both guys! Kurt has told some of those stories before but I never quite heard the one where he told Vince he refused to job. You really need to listen to the entire podcast and hear Steve’s reactions to this to really comprehend how entertaining this conversation was. I’d highly suggest you check it out…and every other one he has ever done. They are all fantastic!

Steve Austin’s podcast page

Stone Cold Steve Austin: The Bottom Line on the Most Popular Superstar of All Time

TNA Wrestling: Kurt Angle – Champion

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