WWE Hall Of Famer Kurt Angle: 'I Was The Best Wrestler In The Business For Ten Years'
Kurt Angle believes he was the best wrestler in in the world for a ten-year period but felt he had to hang up the boots last year because he didn't continue in the same vein any more.
Fresh from his Gold medal at the 1996 Olympic games, Angle made the switch from freestyle wrestling to the wonderful world of professional wrestling in WWE after initially turning down a deal on the table from Vince McMahon that same year.
Having had a change of heart in 1998, he would then go on to have the greatest rookie year in the history of the industry following on from his debut - capturing the first of six world titles in WWE back in 2000 when he beat The Rock at No Mercy.
The following year saw Angle enter his peak years and cement his legacy as one of the most gifted performers ever to step inside the squared circle.
"I picked up right away from day one," he told SPORTbible.
"As a matter of fact, on my tryout the first bump I ever took, by the end of the day they signed me to a deal. Shit, I caught on fast.
"From 2001 to 2011 I was on fire; I was the best wrestler in the business for ten years.
"I started when I was 31, I'd say around 41 or 42 was when I started seeing my level and status going down slowly. I was able to perform the way I wanted to until about 48."
Angle suffered a series of neck injuries in his career, well and truly pushing his body to the limit to put a show on for fans around the world.
Eventually, after a total of 21 championships across WWE and TNA, he made the decision to retire at Wrestlemania in a losing effort to Baron Corbin last year.
He added: "I wasn't supposed to retire but being inactive for a couple of years really set me back. I shortened my career because I thought I was ready to retire.
"It was my call. I didn't want to continue on because I couldn't perform the way I used to. I just knew my body couldn't do it anymore.
"He [Vince] was cool about it, he knew what I wanted."
The WWE Hall of Famer name-dropped Brock Lesnar, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, The Undertaker, John Cena, Randy Orton, AJ Style and Samoa Joe as some of his toughest opponents.
But as far as Angle is concerned, the very best match of his career came 17 years ago at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
"I do remember my match at the Royal Rumble with Chris Benoit for the world title in 2003," Angle explained.
"That was my best match ever I think. Chris Benoit was the real deal. He was probably the best in-ring performer, I wouldn't say overall talent but as far as an in-ring performer, [there was] nobody better."
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