To not have ever had WWE Hall Of Famer Kurt Angle in the professional wrestling industry would've been a shame, but according to Vince McMahon, that's almost what happened.
Angle signed with the WWE back in 1998 fresh off of an Olympic Gold Medal win for amateur wrestling. He went on an unbeaten streak for some time and went on to win the WWE Championship after two years with the company. Angle had a great run with the WWE that lasted nearly a decade, however, he was dealing with some personal demons and decided to walk away in 2006.
"The Olympic Hero" then signed with Global Force Wrestling (formerly known as TNA or Impact Wrestling) where he remained for ten years before beginning to work the independent circuit. He was then inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame this past April and named the new General Manger of Monday Night RAW as the replacement of fellow Hall Of Famer Mick Foley.
A WWE Network special, WWE 24 - Kurt Angle: Homecoming, recently aired on the WWE Network to celebrate Angle's return to the company. During the interview, Angle revealed the one thing that almost prevented him from ever signing with the WWE - the fact that he requested to Vince McMahon that he never wanted to lose a match (quotes via Wrestling Inc.):
"In 1996, after I won the gold medal, Vince McMahon said he'd like to meet with me. He threw a contract at me right away. It was a 10-year deal. It was more money than I ever saw in my lifetime at that time.
"I looked at the contract and stared back at Vince and said, 'Mr. McMahon, thank you for the offer. I hope you know I'm an Olympic gold medalist, so I could never lose.' I didn't hear from Vince McMahon after that. I didn't get it. I didn't understand what this was.
"As a kid, I was taught by my brothers and coaches, 'don't watch that stuff. It's fake. You're real.' So I never did."
McMahon then discussed the plans he laid out to Angle for his character and how he'd be hated by the WWE Universe upon his arrival. Angle doubted that the fans would welcome an Olympic hero with such a sour welcome, but to his surprise McMahon turned out to be right:
"I said, 'look, you're this hero. At the same time, when we bring you into WWE, you're going to be a heel, so to speak, because you're so good. You've accomplished so much. You're above the business.
"'I'm a real wrestler.'" McMahon continued, "and I said, 'what's going to happen is people are really going to boo the hell out of you.' 'Oh no, Vince, that's not going to happen.'"
"I doubted Vince McMahon the whole time. I doubted him from Day One. I said, 'there's no way in hell they're going to boo me. There's no way in hell they're going to disrespect me. I'm an Olympic gold medalist.
"These people are going to love me.' And he said, 'no, they're going to be the opposite.' And he was right."
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