09th Oct2020

‘Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions: Kurt Angle’ Review (WWE Network)

by Chris Cummings

Steve Austin’s WWE interviews have, at times, been a mixed bag, but most of them have offered some unique insights and entertaining moments, especially those with Vince McMahon, Triple H, The Undertaker and this one, with Kurt Angle.

Angle has had one hell of a career, both as an Olympic wrestler and a pro-wrestler, and Steve Austin, in his humanistic and working-man manner, speaks with his former opponent and peer about that career, the ups and downs he’s experienced in his personal life, and all in-between. It’s a long, riveting interview that feels honest and open, but manages to keep things light enough at times so as not to be overly dark. Kurt talks with a matter of factness that goes a long way to making him appear likeable and changed from his years as a man struggling with so-called “demons”.

The interview goes into Kurt’s training and eventual successes at the Olympic Games in 1996, which are both interesting and, at times, shocking. We know all about him breaking his neck and winning a gold medal with that injury, but hearing about just how intense things were and the things he had to do in order to go out there and wrestle, are just incredible, and pretty scary to think about. Angle, through Austin’s questions and narration, then goes into his introduction to pro-wrestling, his personal opinions of ECW back when he was involved (for only one night) with the company as a guest, and his signing with the WWF. Kurt talks really candidly here, speaking about his initial views of professional wrestling, his signing with the WWF, and how he would become an Olympic hero that was, through Vince McMahon’s desire, turned into a heel. It was cool to hear about how Angle was vehemently against being a heel and didn’t think it would work. Until it did.

Angle’s stories of his first year in the WWF are fun, hearing him talk about his success in that first year and adapting to the way of life as a pro-wrestler, getting to know guys like The Undertaker, Triple H, Shane McMahon and Austin himself, and reminiscing about winning the King of the Ring in 2000, The European and Intercontinental Titles, and the WWF Championship. I liked that this interview tossed some clips in now and again too, showing Angle’s best bits along the journey of the story the interview told. Austin talks to Angle about his WWE career at length which eventually leads to his later days in the company. It’s interesting to hear the not always positive memories but still warm ones that Angle has of Eddie Guerrero, his friend and legendary performer who passed away in 2005. Austin then guides the conversation into Angle leaving WWE back in August of 2006 and the issues he was fighting at the time. Kurt again tells stories of how he was inebriated enough to be sending aggressive and threatening texts to Vince McMahon during this period. It would be almost humorous if it wasn’t concerning and sad to hear. Kurt was sure dealing with some heavy stuff for a while there.

Angle openly mentions his TNA run, which lasted for ten years, from 2006 until 2016. He says that he wishes that his TNA run had been in WWE, and while I understand his meaning here, I think his TNA run would perhaps not have worked in the WWE walls. It was during his TNA run that Angle would deal with major drug and alcohol problems, the breakdown of his first marriage to Karen Angle (now Karen Jarrett) and run-ins with law enforcement related to driving offenses. It was a frightening time as a fan of Angle, but for Kurt himself, too. He did, though, have some classic moments and matches there, with guys like Samoa Joe, but little is mentioned of that, sadly. The interview doesn’t spend too long on his TNA run before moving back to his return to WWE back in 2017. It is a shame to hear Kurt talk about his disappointment with his most recent run in WWE, how he wished to be a wrestler in the company but was instead placed on TV in a General Manager role. He also expressed his reluctance to retire when he did, and that he would have wished for it to have ended differently, and not against Baron Corbin at WrestleMania 35. He did say positive things about Corbin, though, which was classy.

It’s a top notch interview and Austin and Angle share stories and memories about their time on the road together as well as the stuff they did on television in 2001 when the two of them worked as heels together and did some classic angles backstage with Vince McMahon. The two even don cowboy hats and sing a little ditty, which was a fun flashback to the era they both helped make so great. One of the best Steve Austin interviews yet, this is a must-see for anyone who enjoys pro-wrestling, and certainly for anyone who has ever been a fan of the Olympic Gold Medalist. Oh it’s true. It’s damn true.

Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions: Kurt Angle, is available now on WWE Network.


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