Building loyal fans

TNA Impact Wrestling star Kurt Angle. Photo supplied.
TNA Impact Wrestling star Kurt Angle. Photo supplied.
Kurt Angle is a genuine legend of wrestling. The former Olympic gold medallist won every title going at WWE, and has won the lot at TNA. He talks to Hayden Meikle.


Q) Hi Kurt, what's up?

A) We just finished a live taping of TNA Impact here in Orlando. I've rushed to the phone and given you a call.

Orlando? Very nice.

A) Yeah, we do about 80% of our shows in Florida at the moment. I'm a family man so for me, I can bring the kids down to Disney World. It's a nice treat.

How many children do you have?

A) I have three, and one more coming in two months.

Do they enjoy watching Dad in action or do they cover their eyes?

A) I've had my daughter cry when Daddy gets beat up. But I've sat down and told them that it's fine, that what they're seeing is fake, even though it's not fake. You just tell them that it's all pretend, and it doesn't hurt. Meanwhile, it hurts like a son of a gun. My son, he's 6, and he knows every finish move from every wrestler. He's unbelievable. I think he might want to be a pro wrestler. I don't want him to be, but he's passionate about it.

Have you ever been to New Zealand?

A) I've been there once. I did a trip there for WWE. I can't quite remember when. Beautiful. I loved it. And I know you don't want to hear this, but I love Australia, too. I feel like both countries are real similar to the States. I don't know how you feel about that. But I like going to countries where I feel secure and comfortable.

Any chance you will come back here?

A) Oh, I hope so. I'd love to come back there with TNA.

People my age grew up watching WWF, now WWE. You guys, TNA, still seem the new kids on the block. How do you go about getting people to change channels?

A) It's hard, I'm not going to lie to you. WWE is a monster. It's hard to make a loyal WWE fan say, hey, I'm going to turn over to TNA because of Kurt Angle. But we have our own loyal fans. And we have fans who watch both. Are our ratings comparable?

No. But our product is getting better. Our roster is better than WWE's. We have a great mixture of talent.

No regrets about leaving WWE?

A) No. Impact Wrestling has treated me very well. They gave me time off when I needed it, and they paid me a lot of money to come here. Do I miss the Wrestlemania crowds and the Royal Rumble crowds?

Yes, I do. It was hard to walk away from that. I felt, for my family and for my health at the time, I had to seek a reduced schedule. I had a painkiller problem, and problems with my marriage, and I kind of took it out on Vince McMahon [WWE owner]. He was trying to make me the guy, before John Cena came along. I just didn't do the right things. I blame myself for that. You live and you learn, and I'm happy with TNA.


• TNA Impact Wrestling screens Saturdays at 10.30pm on The Box.



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