Jim Ross discusses Kurt Angle winning the WWE title

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Jim Ross discusses Kurt Angle winning the WWE title

In the episode of SmackDown on March 26, Kurt Angle appeared to challenge AJ Styles but was defeated by them through disqualification due to Randy Orton's intervention against Styles. On April 7, at WrestleMania 35, Angle was defeated by Baron Corbin in his retirement match.

The following evening, on Raw, the Olympic hero celebrates his retirement from wrestling by performing his Angle Slam against Corbin himself but is subsequently brutally attacked by Lars Sullivan, who made his debut on the main roster.

Despite the retirement, Angle still remained in WWE in the role of producer. On April 15, 2020, however, Angle was fired along with other athletes and backstage members due to economic causes related to COVID-19. In the May 27 episode of NXT, Angle made an appearance as a special referee in the Fight Pit match between Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher which the latter won.

On the May 29 episode of SmackDown, Angle appeared backstage to promote Matt Riddle's upcoming debut. In a recent edition of Grilling JR, Jim Ross discussed Kurt Angle winning the WWE title from The Rock at No Mercy 2000.

Jim Ross on Kurt Angle

“He’s a world-class guy. You don’t win gold medals through luck, you win it on skill and talent and determination. Kurt Angle had a hell of a year. Sometimes, because he was such a perfectionist, it might have been too much too soon because he still had some issues he had to deal with.

He wrestled hurt, he wouldn’t tell people when he was hurt, and we knew he had a bad neck from the Olympics. He’s special. He’s Secretariat, man. He’s a thoroughbred that wins races. He came to us from Pittsburgh – all the attributes you could ever want from an amateur – but when he came in, I’m not sure Jerry McDevitt didn’t have something to do with recruiting Kurt the first time to get in the wrestling business and WWE.

Jerry is I think the best attorney in America and he had that Pittsburgh connection because he lived there and practised law there, but it didn’t work out and they didn’t close the deal. I was not involved in that deal" - Jim Ross said.

“Then, after that, we made another run because I felt like we hadn’t played our best cards and we needed to get this guy. We needed this Olympic gold medalist from Pittsburgh, so we opened back up the conversations, and all of a sudden, boom, we get him signed.

His TV broadcasting work is not what Kurt wanted. Kurt did not read a teleprompter as well as he wrestled. So, he saw that may not be the best fit for him and there was big money to potentially be made by coming to WWE and just being great.

How do you guarantee somebody is gonna be great? Because he’s a goddamn Olympian. That’s what he’s used to doing. There’s no other way. How do you not see this guy as money? So, we brought him in, and between Tom Prichard and Dory Funk Jr., they trained him up, and he absorbed everything.

He was a great student, without question. And he wanted to be good…….he loved to be coached, he loved to be challenged. He’s like [Brock] Lesnar – he wanted to win every drill. It was a fun time to start to see these guys develop and evolve. That year we’re talking about with Kurt, has it ever really been duplicated since?” - he added.