Former WWE Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist, Kurt Angle will be headlining the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame inductions. While it’s been over a decade since Angle stepped inside a WWE ring, his legendary WWE career has influenced an entire generation of emerging superstars.
Angle won six world titles in WWE between 1999 and 2006, having signed for the company after winning a gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
“Kurt Angle’s accomplishments both in the Olympics and WWE were extraordinary,” said WWE’s Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative Paul Levesque. “He was one of the most gifted athletes to ever enter the ring, and we are honoured to welcome him into the WWE Hall of Fame.”
The 48-year-old also won the King of the Ring tournament in 2000 and a host of other titles, including the Intercontinental and United States Championships, during his WWE tenure. Also read: Brock Lesnar makes appearance ahead of WWE Royal Rumble 2017
WWE even played a striking Hall of Fame announcement video featuring some of the biggest moments in Angle’s career, on Monday’s episode of Raw.
“I was shocked. I’ve been out of WWE for a long time and out of touch with them, so I didn’t really expect this,” Angle told ESPN.com. “It’s a huge honour. This is the only Hall of Fame that I’m not in and probably [the one] I want to be in the most. This is the one that means the most for me. I had a lot of fun entertaining the fans for seven years with WWE, and I’m glad that my hard work paid off.”
Asked to describe his relationship with WWE executives Vince McMahon and Paul “Triple H” Levesque over the past decade, Angle laughed before saying, “There wasn’t one.” But he went on to describe their breakup as mutual.
“It was one of those things where, when I left WWE, it wasn’t on bad terms,” Angle said. “It was just that I couldn’t do anything for them anymore because I was banged up and they couldn’t do anything more for me. I never felt ill will against them. It wasn’t like a nasty parting, it was just our time is up. You go your way, and I’ll go mine.”
The Rock also praised Angle on Twitter, writing: “Huge! Had some amazing title matches w/ this Olympic gold medalist. Congrats my friend. Truly one of the best men I’ve ever met. #WWEHOF.”
Mick Foley added: “@RealKurtAngle coming home to @WWE makes me happy! Well deserved! #ItsDamnTrue.”