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Kurt Angle has been through it all, from winning an Olympic gold medal to WWE championship to the lows of addiction and the dangers that the hindrance brings.
That’s why Engle decided to start telling his story now.
“There have been many upheavals in my life and I want to help others,” Angle said in a recent interview with Fox News Digital. “I’ve had addiction issues and been in recovery for the last nine years, and in rehab they told me to tell your story, and I was pretty candid about my story. And I wanted this documentary to come out to help somebody.” . Anyone who is in trouble. Anyone who deals with addiction. Anyone who tries to overcome obstacles… It’s more about redemption and overcoming.”
Biography: WWE Legends follows Angle’s life from childhood as a high school wrestler to his days as an Olympian and WWE star to his career. struggling with painkillers. His episode airs Sunday on A&E at 8:00 pm ET.
Angle won the gold medal for Team USA at 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and worked hard to get to this point. Dealing with a broken neck, he eventually beat Iran’s Abbas Jadidi to win on points for gold in the men’s 100kg freestyle.
It was one of 44 gold medals the United States brought home in 1996. Angle won the competition just days after a pipe bomb was detonated at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park, killing two and injuring over 100 people.
“I hope it was a moment of pride for everyone,” Angle said of winning gold at the time. “It was the proudest moment of my life, besides having children and getting married. You know, you are never guaranteed any success in life, and when you win an Olympic gold medal, you are the best in the whole world. And it sends a message to everyone that you are very special, that you stand out.
“I think it was at this time that the explosion happened and people needed something to be happy about. And you know, Kerry Strug dismounted, landed perfectly, and won the USA Gymnastics team. It was a great moment, my moment was great. there were many great moments at the 1996 Olympics that the US should have been very proud of.”
After some skepticism about joining the professional wrestling ranks, Angle signed with the WWE (then known as the World Wrestling Federation) in 1998 and began training a little differently than he was used to. Angle told Fox News Digital that he trained for about eight months before he debuted.
Angle’s trick was an Olympic hero’s trick. He was a milk-drinking athlete who made it clear to everyone in the audience how much hard work he put into his craft – even with a “fucking broken neck”. He began touting the three selves that made him so successful in life: “Intensity, Honesty, and Intelligence.”
Angle said it was Vince McMahon’s idea of the three selves after hearing it on a TV show.
“He thought it was perfect for me to be an Olympic gold medalist. He wanted me to be such a clear Olympian who would preach the three “I” and motivate the fans. And in fact, he knew it was going to backfire,” Angle told Fox News Digital. “He pretended to push me like a baby face, knowing that the fans would shit on me because I was so neat, it was like, give me a break, this guy can’t be that good.
“It worked really well and it made me whole. Even if I preached the three selves, I would still cheat and win. It also gave me a lot of warmth.”
Angle joined WWE in the throes of the company’s so-called Monday Night Wars with World Championship Wrestling. He said he talked to Pro wrestling icon Ric Flair about joining a rival company, and “The Nature Boy” led him astray.
“I met Ric Flair before I signed with WWE and I was like, ‘Hey Rick, do you think I should go to WWE or WCW?’ Rick was in WCW at the time. He said, “Don’t come to WCW. They will destroy you. They will crush you. Go to WWE because Vince McMahon will take care of you.” And he was absolutely right. That’s what Vince McMahon did, he took care of me.”
Angle speaks enthusiastically of McMahon in the episode. He told Fox News Digital he was “sad” to hear about it. McMahon’s resignation due to misconduct accusations.
“I feel sad because Vince was the Achilles heel of WWE. He made it happen. If it wasn’t for Vince, WWE wouldn’t exist,” Angle said. “I’m not saying he’s perfect. He didn’t do everything perfectly. He made very few mistakes from a business standpoint.”
Angle went on to become a four-time WWE Champion, the 2000 King of the Ring winner, and had incredible feuds. with John Cena, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, Brock Lesnar and Eddie Guerrero, just to name a few. He also had several iconic WWE moments, including taking out a milk truck and spraying superstars in the WWE ring with it.
But several neck injuries have taken their toll on the WWE superstar.
Angle wrote on his website that he became addicted to painkillers in 2003 after being prescribed them when he broke his neck. At the height of his addiction, he admitted to taking 65 Vicodins a day. He wrote that the pain of losing his sister to a drug overdose also added to his pain.
By mid-2006, he was released by WWE. He would wrestle Total Nonstop Action for about 10 years and become a six-time heavyweight champion with that company. Between 2007 and 2013, he was arrested several times, and the last time he decided to go to a rehabilitation center.
Angle told Fox News Digital that his family – his wife Giovanna and their children – helped him break the painkiller cycle.
“It all came down to this: my wife was going to leave me if I didn’t go to rehab. And she is everything to me, like my children,” he said. “And knowing that I can [lose] It was more important to me to get rid of the addiction, stay clean and be with my wife and kids than to continue being addicted.”
As WWE fans tuned into the episode on Sunday night, Angle said he hoped his story could inspire others.
“I want them to know that this documentary is about overcoming everything – all the obstacles, addictions, traumas, deaths of family members, personal things in your life. It’s about redeeming and restoring your reputation after you’ve lost it,” he said. “And I want everyone to know that this is possible. Even at the worst moment in your life, you can still come out of it and come out radiant.”