In 1996, an established amateur wrestler named Kurt Angle entered the Olympics. Defying expectations and overcoming a severe neck injury, he managed to win a gold medal. 21 years later, Angle is still overcoming obstacles, showcasing his determination to be the absolute best that he can be.
This past Monday, WWE aired a documentary about Kurt Angle on the WWE Network. The video highlighted his early life and first run in WWE, before taking an incredibly emotional turn. His tumultuous history with painkillers, the personal tragedies that impact his life, these were just a few of the examples that were brought to the forefront. The dark path he had traveled still impacted Angle’s view of himself, a point which was made clear several times throughout the Network special.
“I used to be a role-model twenty years ago….now I’m a recovering addict”- Kurt Angle
As a lifelong fan of the Olympic Gold medalist, seeing him appear so vulnerable was a very enlightening experience. Oftentimes we as fans can undervalue the work that superstars put into their craft. Both the emotional and physical wear and tear on talents is a great burden to bear, and yet every show they flip the switch and go about business as usual. Angle is the personification of pushing past the limits of the body and mind, but unfortunately, the scars from his lengthy career continue to plague him.
While this documentary certainly had a somber tone, there were a number of things to reminisce about. Fans who grew up watching Angle were given highlights of his previous work, including historic bouts against Brock Lesnar, Shawn Michaels, and even the iconic Undertaker. His comedic skills were displayed as well, with moments such as “Sexy Kurt” and the infamous milk truck reminding us just how talented Angle was and still is to this day.
On a more personal level, we as fans got to experience how Angle interacts with his family. As a father of five children, he has transitioned from a mindset where the career came first to placing his family as the main priority. Taking a backseat to your life’s work is never easy, yet Angle fully understands where he’s needed most.
At the end of the day, this WWE: 24 special was much more than a simple documentary. It showcased the high and lows of a man who gave it all to this business, and despite all of the pain he’d gone through, Angle was still able to take pride in his accomplishments. Those around him also recognize his contributions to the industry, hence his recent induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. The historic moment tied the entire documentary together, presenting the second chance given to Angle. By making the most out of this opportunity, he can ensure that the good moments in his life far outweigh the bad in the eyes of the fans.
Mentally and physically rejuvenated, the Olympic Gold Medalist seems poised for one final run in WWE. He’ll have to continue to convince those around him that he can handle the pressure, but Angle has always been one to defy expectations. One day soon, Angle will be breaking ankles and creating memories all around the world, before setting off into the sunset, finally able to reflect on a great career and a truly heartwarming return to his true home in sports entertainment. Oh it’s true, it’s damn true.