Recently, we had the chance to catch-up with world-renowned professional wrestler Kurt Angle to talk about TNA Impact Wrestling, training for the London Olympic games (as a Freestyle Wrestler) and his career in Sports Entertainment.
“You can never learn enough in this sport”
S] How long have you been in the UK now? Have you had much time to relax?
K] “No, no, not at all. I’ve been doing media for the last two days straight. I’ve just had enough time in-between to get some training in and that’s about it.”
S] In terms of your training for the Olympics, how much time is that taking out of your schedule? is it very hectic and intense?
K] “Yes, very intense. I’ve been going for about nine weeks now, I’m to the point where I’m getting to exactly where I want to be now. I know how much time I have for training – how many months and I got the training schedule specifically the way I want to do it. It’s going perfectly.”
S] Is it more intense than your usual regime for wrestling? Are you still pushing yourself even after all your experiences over the years?
K] “Yeah, actually more so. I’m doing it ’til I go to the peak, training until I can’t train any more. It’s one of those things where my body quits before my mind. But that’s where I’ve got to push through it. That’s how it goes. When you get tired, you need to push through that to be the best and that’s when your mind needs to be working the rest of the way and know that you can keep going if if your body doesn’t want to. Your mind is saying: ‘You’re not tired yet, you’re not tired enough to stop’. It’s a very mental thing and it’s something I slowly ease into, I just don’t jump on it right away. I had to get my body prepared to do that.”
S] How do you feel about your place in the organisation at the moment?
K] “I love my position in the company, I’m pretty much the top guy, and they treat me very well. They’re the ones who gave me the blessing of trying out for the Olympics and I’ve got all the time in the world to train, there’s never really time away from home besides for some TV and pay-per-views that I’ve taken since I decided to train. They’ve been very gracious with me to give me the time I need.”
S] What about now, in terms of your experience, are you still learning stuff about yourself and the way you that you conduct yourself?
K] “Well, the thing I can say about this sport is that you can never learn enough. I could tell you that I’m still not at my best. I seem to learn every year. Professional wrestling isn’t just a form of sport, it’s a kind of art and there’s a psychology to it that you learn. It’s just about moods, it’s about how you structure matches and how you portray that match and every year, I’ve got a little more clever about them and how I put them together and how I perform for the fans. Like I said, I compete and improve every year. Though I can say that most of the guys on the roster have been at it longer than me and for a main eventer, I’m relatively young although I’ve performed for the last eleven or twelve years. I’m still learning and for me, it’s a lot of fun.”
S] How are you looking towards the evolution of your character in TNA (recently re-branded as Impact Wrestling)? What’s next for you?
K] “It’s a story in itself, you know one thing about the title chase is that it’s not about the title, it’s not like you have to have any storyline surrounding it, like the frequent one that I have been involved in with Jeff Jarrett, my wife Karen and myself which has been very real and easy to portray because it was a real-life situation. The title run doesn’t really need much more of a storyline than the title itself. I’m looking forward to getting back into that hunt because it’s been a while. I haven’t been a champion in almost three years. So it will be nice to be in the title chase again and just go for it.”
S] In a recent interview with a British newspaper, you said you’d never return to the WWE. Do you look back positively on that and what did you learn from that experience?
K] “Well, I had the time of my life back then. My first five years there were a blast. I mean we did work hard and I was on the road quite a bit. I did many things that took a lot of roles in that company, you know, not just being one of the top guys but an ambassador, doing charity work, being the head of the SmackDown campaign, working with Make A Wish, doing so many different charity events and anything else that WWE needed me to do. It was very brutal as far as my schedule, because I was on the road over 300 days a year. That took a toll on my body. After six-and-a-half years I just knew I had to get out. I was really burned and I just got through a painkiller addiction as well and just wanted to get out and get away and rejuvinate my career. TNA was the perfect fit for me.”
S] What kind of things are driving you forward at the moment?
K] “For once, it’s my faith in God and I know what my purpose is, to be the best at what I do. The fans keep me going because they have given me a certain amount of respect. They look at me from a whole different level as far as being one of the top guys and expecting great quality-level matches. When I go out there, and a lot of times when I go to different countries, I walk out there and get a standing ovation. It’s an appreciation thing, so it makes me want to work a lot harder for them and give them a great match for being so loyal to me. Whenever I’ve doubted my life, when it’s gone bad, they’ve always supported me and always let me know that they have my back. For me, it’s working hard for the fans and trying to please them.”
S] I think a lot of people are interested in what you’re going to do post your wrestling career. Would you ever consider taking a management role or building your own company?
K] “I’ve just signed another three-year deal with TNA, it’s more of a part-time basis which will consist of TV and pay-per-views. I think after those three years I’ll probably take a management role, more of an office personnel, maybe do something with creative or maybe teaching some of the wrestlers. I believe that after those three years I’ll probably still go to some of the top pay-per-views and still wrestle but it will be very, very part time.”
I’ll be more of an ambassador for the company. I think I will stay in TNA. A lot people want me to go back to WWE and retire at WrestleMania but the company in TNA has treated me very well and I lean towards loyalty with them. I’d like to continue doing movies and try broaden my career in that aspect. That would be great and I want Angle Foods to be my top priority but I think movies will be second. Obviously TNA will be in the top three because as a company, it’s treated me really well and has been really fair with me and shown me that they value me as a wrestler, as well as a person, so I want to contribute to them as much as I can.”
S] How are you fitting Angle Foods and North Shore Pictures into your schedule right now? And what are your plans to keep them going over the rest of the year? Will you be producing another film? And how will Angle Foods play into your schedule too?
K] “Angle Foods; that I will always be working on, whether I’m on the road or at home. I go down to my headquarters – I get there at least twice a week, sometimes it’s once a week and other times it’s three or four, as for my production company [North Shore] we are going to do a movie this summer but I also have two films coming up but i can’t really tell you what they are yet.”
For more information visit the official Impact Wrestling website.
TNA Impact Wrestling will tour the UK in 2012.