Kurt Angle made his World Wrestling Entertainment debut at the tail end of 1999 at Survivor Series. From 2000 to 2015 – on Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s yearly rankings of the 500 best professional wrestlers – he never finished lower than 48th, was in the top 25 14 times, the top ten nine times, the top five five times, the top three four times, the top two three times, and was #1 overall in his second full year in 2001. He’s been a World Champion for WWE, Total Nonstop Action, and New Japan Pro Wrestling. He won a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics with a broken FREAKIN neck! There’s nothing left for Kurt Angle to do except get in one last run in WWE before taking his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame.
That’s especially impressive when you consider that Kurt Angle missed so much time while dealing with serious injuries, recovering from surgeries, and battling addiction over those 16 years. Many fans also forget that Kurt was only in the WWE for six years and nine months. That’s a shorter run than Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, CM Punk, or Batista’s FIRST stint in WWE for some comparisons. While he left a lasting impression over a short period of time, it would be nice for him to get in one final run in the company he started his career with.
Kurt is praised by critics, beloved by fans, and respected by his peers as well as the legends who came before him.
Kurt, by his own admission, isn’t as physically talented as he once was, but he isn’t retired and still performs for independent promotions.
He isn’t as good as he once was, but he doesn’t have to be. His presence + nostalgia + the energy of the fans could lead to some really fun segments and matches. Angle has stated that he would like to come back and work a limited schedule where he would work the major events like Summerslam and WrestleMania, while also aligning himself with American Alpha, who Kurt called “really good”. The appreciation seems to be mutual, because Jason Jordan called Kurt Angle “a huge inspiration”, so that could be a mutually beneficial teaming as long as the younger talents aren’t overshadowed.
I can envision a future storyline where Brock Lesnar destroys his former mentor Kurt Angle, and Chad Gable tries to step up to defend him, only to go down swinging against the overpowering Brock, leading to an enraged Jason Jordan taking Brock to his limit, creating a new star.
In the short term, I think a good reintroduction to the WWE Universe for Kurt Angle would be a WrestleMania feud with the America-hating Rusev. WrestleMania takes place in Orlando this year, a city that Kurt Angle wrestled the majority of his career in. Win, lose, or draw, the energy would be electric.