WWE Hall Of Famer and WWE Monday Night RAW General Manager Kurt Angle recently appeared on Chris Jericho’s Talk Is Jericho podcast, where he discussed some of his greatest opponents and his “top three.” The Olympic gold medalist had high praises for some of his most famous rivals: Shawn Michaels, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit.
“I’m sorry, but he has got to be in the top three of all time,” Angle said of Benoit. “I mean, you can’t deny that. Even Bret Hart will tell you that.” Angle added that the things Benoit did in 2007 are inexcusable, but in the ring he was “possibly the greatest of all time.”
Angle says another one of the best in-ring performers ever was ‘Latino Heat,” and says Eddie Guerrero would have been the #1 performer in the business if not for his health issues. Angle discussed Guerrero’s car accident on New Year’s Day in 1999 and the effect that had on his career.
“I think Eddie was in his prime in WCW and the reason I say that is because he got in a car accident,” Angle said. “That car accident did two things for him. It really inhibited what he could do after that. In other words, he had limits. He could still do a lot, but not like he used to. I used to watch him in WCW and be like, ‘wow, this kid’s incredible.’ But he almost couldn’t walk again after that accident, so yeah, Eddie was banged up when I wrestled him.”
“As good as he was in 2004, 2005, he had to be 10-times better back then,” Angle recalled. “That’s mind-blowing. I mean, he could have been the absolute greatest of all time because when I wrestled him, he was still in that top three we were talking about, so Eddie had it all. He was so entertaining, but he also had all the technique. He was such a great wrestler and he got it. He got finishes. He knew how to structure them.”
Angle and Guerrero got into a real-life backstage fight after some professional differences boiled over. The story goes that Guerrero attempted a double-leg take down on the Olympic gold medalist, but Angle defended it with a front face lock and they were quickly pulled apart. Angle recalled that after Guerrero had confronted him several times, Angle shoved him away from him to see what Guerrero would do.
“He didn’t do anything, so I shoved him again and he double-legs me. I mean, you could’ve sucker punched me, but he double-legs me,” he recalled. “And I’m like, ‘he did not just try to double-leg an Olympic gold medalist, so I laid the hips into him and then I started choking him out nice and slow.”
Angle said he wanted to make amends with Guerrero right away, but Guerrero told him he “wasn’t ready to be sorry,” which made Angle want to “kick his butt.” They almost got into it again in the locker room, but Angle says JBL pulled them apart. He says the next week Guerrero apologized to him, and they were “like brothers.”
The other wrestler Kurt lists in his top three favorite in-ring performers is Shawn Michaels. “I’m not going to lie to you, I wish I would have wrestled Ric Flair in his prime and Bret Hart in his prime,” Angle said. “I did [wrestle Shawn Michaels], so I have to say Shawn Michaels is the best.” Kurt recalled that he and Michaels didn’t rehearse anything for their acclaimed WrestleMania 21 match, because “yeah, [Michaels] is that good.”
You can listen to Chris Jericho’s entire podcast with Kurt Angle at PodcastOne.com.