Kurt Angle truly is among the best professional wrestlers to ever get in the ring, he’s often underrated when it comes to the all-time greats, but his combination of intensity integrity and intelligence are wise in the upper echelon of professional wrestling with the Olympian finally making his return to WWE.
Kurt Stephan Angle was born on December 9th, 1968 in Mt. Lebanon Township, Pennsylvania, United States. He grew up with five siblings; well, his father, unfortunately, was killed in a construction accident when Angle was just 16.
Kurt was an athlete from the very beginning, by the age of 7 he was already taking up amateur wrestling. When he was in high school, Kurt earned accolades in both football and wrestling undefeated on the freshman wrestling team and would eventually become the Pennsylvania State Wrestling Champion in 1987.
Amateur wrestling career
After he had graduated from high school, he would attend the Clarion University of Pennsylvania and continued to wrestle. He became a two-time NCAA Division 1 champion national runner-up in 1991 and three-time NCAA division-1 all-American, just to name a few of his accomplishments
He would keep racking up the championship wins, and after graduating from college, he began training for the Olympics. However, just before the 1996 Olympic Trials, Kurt would break his neck pretty bad. Angle didn’t want to give up on his Olympic ambitions though, so, instead of pulling out, he had his doctor pump its neck full of numbing agents because he was competing at the Olympic level he couldn’t take any painkillers so the best he could do was numb his neck to the point he couldn’t feel a thing. With his broken neck and all Kurt would win a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics in the heavyweight division.
Professional wrestling career
After his big win, Kurt was offered a contract by WWF which he turned down. He wouldn’t enter the world of professional wrestling until 1998 when he competed in a battle royal in National Wrestling Alliance. Following that, Kurt Angle signed a multi-year contract with WWF and was sent to power Pro Wrestling to begin training. As many sources have said, Kurt Angle picked up professional wrestling like nobody else with his amateur wrestling background and pure athleticism he became an adept pro wrestler in just a few months.
Kurt trained from October 1998 to March 1999, when he made his first appearance for WWF when he did a segment with Tiger Singh. His first WWF match would be a Darth match against Brian Christopher in April of 1999. He would continue training and work in PPW for most of the year, even winning a championship during that time; until he was finally called up in November of 1999 at Survivor Series, where he defeated Shawn Stasiak
Angle would rack up the wins from the start while donning his American Hero gimmick which was inspired by his Olympic endeavors. However, Angle wasn’t really liked by fans when he first debuts. He was actually booed quite heavily, so, WWF decided to turn him heel instead. Angle would quickly win the European and Intercontinental Championships in February of 2000 but lost them both at Wrestlemania 2000.
Next, he would align with Edge and Christian to form team ECK before feuding with Triple H after a love triangle form between them and Stephanie McMahon but ultimately lost. However, he followed that up with another push which put him up against The Rock and no mercy where he won the WWF Championship. He would retain the title on multiple occasions, against the likes of the Undertaker and Triple H before finally losing it back to The Rock after 126 days
Next, he feuded with Chris Benoit, with the two training wins over one another, before Angle ultimately came out victorious. As part of the invasion angle, Kurt aligned with Stone Cold Steve Austin as part of team WWF; however, Austin returned to his team and hit Kurt with the stunner.
Over the next little while, Angle would win notably when the WCW Championship WCW United States Championship and the WWF Hardcore Championship. He would also feud with Stone Cold over the WWF Championship; helped The Rock defeat Austin out of the Alliance after turning heel and feuded with Edge. During which, he lost a hair-versus-hair match. In October of 2002, Kurt would become the fifth WWE grand slam champion after winning the WWE tag team belts with Chris Benoit. After dropping those titles, Kurt Angle wins his third WWE Championship from the Big Show. This led immediately to his feud with Brock Lesnar, who had won the Royal Rumble and Angle would drop the title to him at WrestleMania 19, which was followed by time off to heal injuries
Speaking of injuries, Kurt has broken his neck four times during his professional wrestling career. He had it surgically repaired twice but simply let it heal the other times. It’s also worth mentioning that throughout his career, Kurt struggled with addiction. Agle says that at one point in his career, he was taking 65 Vicodin pills a day nearly 2,000 a month to deal with pain. For reference, the recommended dosage is just two tablets every six hours
Kurt struggles with drug addiction after he left WWE as well, but after a long hard battle, he finally got clean and still heirs to this day. If you want to know more about his battle with drugs, we recommend listening to him on the stone-cold podcast, where he shows how much this man suffered and endured to keep performing for the fans.
Back to wrestling, when he returned a few months later, Angle would regain the WWE Championship after beating Brock Lesnar and Big Show in a triple threat match. Lesnar would seemingly become an ally to Kurt following this but eventually turned on him with the help of Mr. McMahon. Angle would retain the belt at SummerSlam against Brock but eventually lost it on Smackdown. After that Angle had a feud with Eddie Guerrero. Angle become the number one contender for Eddie’s newly won WWE Championship and competed against him at WrestleMania 20, but lost. He once again broke his neck during that match. So, instead of being written off completely, he would serve as a Smackdown general manager for a few months.
By 2005, Angle came back in the ring, competing and began feuding with Shawn Michaels. He would go on to defeat HBK at WrestleMania 21 in an amazing match the one the PWI match of the year award. After a comical feud with Eugene and a failed attempt at John Cena’s WWE Championship, Kurt would return to SmackDown 2006 to win a battle royal for the World Heavyweight Championship. He controversially retained against the Undertaker and went on to WrestleMania 22 as champion but shockingly dropped the title to Rey Mysterio in a triple threat match also involving Randy Orton
As 2006 went on, Angle would begin appearing less frequently on TV, until he finally requested his release on August 25th. He says that he was simply too hurt to wrestle and needed time off, which wasn’t being given to him. So, WWE agreed and let Angle go after his last match in ECW with Sabu.
In September of 2006, it was announced that Kurt Angle has signed with TNA and made his debut by confronting Samoa Joe. His first match to take place in November when he defeated Abyss and he went on to end Samoa Joe’s undefeated streak soon after. This was followed by a feud with Christian Cage, which had Angle eventually winning the new TNA World Heavyweight Championship. This was followed by a winner-take-all match with Samoa Joe, landing Angle both tag-team belts and the X Division Championship, making him a triple champion.
After returning from another neck injury, he feuds with AJ Styles, with AJ eventually coming out on top. From there, Kurt would dude with Jeff Jarrett, form the main Event Mafia consisting of former WCW stars and failed to recapture the TNA World Heavyweight Championship from AJ Styles on multiple occasions.
It’s worth noting that from 2007 to 2009, Kurt would also wrestle over in New Japan, where he most notably defeated Brock Lesnar for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. He would retain the title three times, before losing the Schinsky Nakamura in a title unification match.
In 2009, Angle would appear at the Wrestle Kingdom 3 and took part in an eight-man tag match. And would have his final match in Japan against Hiroshi Tata Hoshi and a losing effort for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Over the next few years, He continued working as a top star in TNA. He had notable feuds against Mr. Anderson Dixie Carter and Jeff Hardy, winning multiple championships during this time as well. He would bring back the Main Event Mafia in 2012, for a while too, before taking time off to get a handle on his drug problems through rehab.
When he came back, he feuded with Bobby Roode before eventually becoming TNA’s executive director of wrestling operations. He would continue serving in this role until his contract with TNA expired in late 2014. He reportedly reached out to WWE at this time hoping to land even a part-time wrestling contract or a full-time gig in a similar type of management role, but WWE reportedly turned him down on both fronts. Because of that angle decided to stay with TNA, once again returning to in-ring action, Angle would win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship for a record-breaking 6th time from Bobby Lashley and would retain it on multiple occasions against Lashley, Eric Young, Rockstar Spud and Austin Aries, before finally losing to Ethan Carter the 3rd.
Soon after, Kurt announced that he was done with TNA and announced his farewell tour, which included matches against crew Galloway’s, Matt Hardy, Bobby Roode and his final match with Bobby Lashley. Following his departure from Impact Wrestling Kerr would begin working on the independent circuit. He notably competed against then lost to Rey Mysterio, defeated Cody Rhodes and WCPW and defeated Alberto Alphatron in WCPW as well. Most recently, Kurt Angle is officially inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by John Cena, where he gave an awesome speech before being named the General Manager of by Vince McMahon after WrestleMania 33.
Angle has shown enthusiasm in seeking an acting career after his retirement from wrestling. He made his first film appearance in 2008, as a racist prison deputy in the short film “Chains.” In 2009, he appeared as a serial killer Brad Mayfield in the movie, “End Game.” On a third-season episode of “Pros vs. Joes,” he teamed-up with Kendall Gill and Jimmy Smith against the Joes. Angle also appeared in “Car Wreck Vanish” episode of Criss Angel Mindfreak. He depicted a non-speaking Russian MMA champion Koba in the 2011 film “Warrior,” and starred in the movie “River of Darkness” as town sheriff Will Logan
On the Right After Wrestling program on Sirius Satellite Radio, Angle revealed he would become a part-time wrestler after his contract expired in 2011 to focus on Angle Foods and his acting career. In the 2013 film Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies, he plays himself as both a human and a zombie. Angle also had a small role in the 2014 cult-film Sharknado 2: The Second One and in the 2014 romantic-comedy film Not Cool. He appeared in the film The Last Witch Hunter. He also made a cameo appearance in the movie Pain and Gain in which he brawls against Dwayne Johnson’s character in a prison fight. Angle appeared on an episode of Duck Dynasty in February 2016.
Angle has been married twice; his first marriage was to Karen Smedley. The two wedded on December 19, 1998, and had two children together, a daughter, Kyra Angle (born December 2, 2002) and a son, Kody Angle (born October 26, 2006). Smedley filed for divorce from Kurt, reportedly in September 2008. Two years later, it was reported that he was engaged to model and actress, Giovanna Yannotti, with whom he has a daughter named Giuliana Marie Angle (born: January 22, 2011). Angle and Yannotti finally wedded on 20 July 2012 and welcomed their second child together, a daughter, Sophia Laine Angle on December 31, 2012. Their third daughter named Nikoletta Sky Angle, was born on 5 November 2016.
Angle is a Christian and a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is a Republican and supported Marco Rubio in the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries.
In 2008, Angle was chosen to be featured on the cover for metal band Emmure’s 2nd album “The Respect Issue” where he is pictured on the front and back covers for the record as well as in the inlay. Angle also promoted the album by wearing an Emmure shirt during fights broadcast on Impact!.
In July 2015, Angle was supposed to make an appearance at London Comic Con in England, but his management team tweeted that Angle underwent emergency surgery to remove fluid buildup on his spinal cord after all of his extremities went numb. A week before this emergency, he had surgery to remove a benign tumor from his neck.
Angle is a supporter of Scottish football club Rangers F.C. and has also signed up as a life member of fans group Rangers First.
As of 2017, Kurt Angle has an estimated net worth of $20 million. Kurt Angle owns a mansion in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania and also in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
The United States, where he currently lives with his family.