Spoken word tours of the UK from wrestling legends are becoming more and more frequent and the continuing presence of them in the market place suggests there is a huge appetite from British fans for these events. The latest was courtesy of Triple M Promotions who brought over former WWE and current TNA star Kurt Angle over for the Golden Truth Tour.
Manchester saw the final night of a six date tour. There was an impressive turnout at the Hotel Football, with fans attending from all around the North West. This was my first taste of a Triple M show and it was clear that they are trying to set themselves apart from the pack. Well organized, with a professional MC on hand, there were competitions, auctions and raffles going on throughout the evening which succeeded in making the whole package seem like an event.
Photographs and autographs were taken care of before the main show (again, with a well organized set up) and after a stirring video package of many of Angle’s championship wins it was time for the man himself to hit the stage.
The “interview” segment of the show was more of a word association game as the interviewer threw out some random names to set up some Angle anecdotes. After this had finished, the microphones were thrown out to the audience for their questions. Some of the highlights were;
* Kurt talked about his Hair Vs Hair feud with Edge and how the reason it came about was because Kurt was losing his hair and that Vince wanted to get rid of it. He says, however, that Edge was not let in on that until the very last moment and had been ribbed on the day of the show that it was his own hair that was for the chop. The image of a crying Edge in the rafters had the audience roaring.
* Kurt told a rather disgusting anecdote/rib about Rikishi “not wiping” his arse before a match between the two.
* He told about getting on the wrong side of Chyna by bumping her car on his first meeting. Chyna did not know who he was and when he told her she responded “I don’t know who the f**k a Kurt Angle is”.
* When asked about Mae Young, Angle put her over hugely and told some funny tales including one about her French kissing Edge and one where, in preparation for being Dudley Bombed through a table she filled her panties with sardines.
* He talked about the pressures of doing a kissing scene with Stephanie McMahon and how seconds before the shoot Vince, who he hadn’t seen all day, turned up and sat front and centre “like he was watching a porno”. He said that Steph told him it was the worst kiss she’d ever received but Angle said it was difficult to engineer much passion when her father was sat on the front row looking like he had an erection!
* Kurt said he had modelled himself on Bret Hart and that would have been his dream WrestleMania match. He proposed to Bret that they fight at Mania (the time line suggested this was a couple of years before Bret did return to “fight” Vince) but that Bret didn’t want to do it as he felt the two could not have done justice to it, despite Kurt’s willingness to do all the bumping.
* Kurt said that Chris Benoit was the best he ever got in the ring with. He put over their 2003 Royal Rumble match and said that if you watch that match it’s so different from the kick/punch routine most matches are today. He says in thirty minutes only one punch is thrown.
* When asked about NXT, Kurt said that it was the smartest thing the WWE had done and he put over Finn Balor, Chad Gable and Jason Jordan. His one reservation about the project was that if that is all the WWE does, with the same trainers training everyone, in a couple of decades time all it will produce is the same style of wrestlers. He put over the need to continued to get talent from the likes of Ring Of Honor and also that he wished WWE were not no sniffy when it came to TNA talent.
* He said that despite all his matches (and he claimed never to have had a bad one!) his favourite moment was the Milk-A-Mania skit with Steve Austin.
* Kurt wouldn’t name the “worst” wrestler he ever fought but did admit that it was very difficult to do anything with The Big Show as he was so large.
* Kurt talked about his No Way Out 2006 match with The Undertaker and wanted to finally put some stories to rest about the idea that Angle was at one point to end The Streak. He said that Taker was beginning to feel that his Mania matches just existed to put another notch on The Streak and that he desperately wanted a Mania “moment”, a moment that he thought Angle would deliver. As World Champion at the time, Angle said that he knew Vince didn’t want to take the belt off him and that there was no way Taker would lose at Mania. Taker said that he would go to Vince, and was even willing to lose at Mania to get the match but that Vince shot it down immediately. It was never mentioned again.
* Kurt said that UK fans were the best in the world.
* He said Naked Mideon was the worst “gimmick” he’d ever seen.
* Kurt said that he had been 100% clean and sober for two and a half years and said that one of the reasons he has remained with TNA for so long is how well Dixie Carter has looked after him in his troubled times.
* When asked what one match he would like to bow out with, he said it would be Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania. He said he appreciated all that TNA had done for him, but he would love to go out “the right way” with at least one last WWE match.
* Kurt talked about the Brand Split and said it was a great time. He said that the writers would spend all week writing Raw but forget to write anything for Smackdown. This meant that they could just go out there and wrestle. He said he was disappointed to be drafted to Raw but jumped at the opportunity to go back to Smackdown when Batista got injured and had to vacate the title. He said that HHH and HBK refused to do it, as they saw SD as the lesser show. He said that the same remains true today.
* Angle admitted he was shocked and unhappy to be sent to ECW and said that he knew Vince’s idea’s for ECW would never last. Vince apparently sold it to him on the basis that it would be “smaller crowds and less money” but that Vince always made it up to him when the PPV cheques came in. He says that to this day he has no idea why Vince “sent” him to ECW.
* Finally he said that the reason he had to leave WWE was that he simply couldn’t take the full time schedule of “300 dates a year” and the WWE refused to let him go part-time. He says that Vince wanted him to be his workhorse and he simply couldn’t manage it. He reeled off how the likes of Rock, Austin and Lesnar could only stomach so much and said that whether you love or hate John Cena you had to respect the work that he put in.
Although the evening was perhaps short on earth-shattering revelations, there is no doubting the entertainment value. Kurt Angle was fantastic with the fans at the meet and greet and he was a very entertaining speaker with lots of great stories to tell.