Kurt Angle’s intensity was unmatched, and his technical wrestling skills were unparalleled. Possessing an unprecedented competitive streak that fueled him to become a 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist, Angle dominated the amateur ranks before emerging as one of the most successful WWE Superstars of all time.
Starting his athletic career as a football and wrestling star in his hometown of Pittsburgh, he soon became one of the top amateur wrestlers in the U.S., winning a pair of NCAA titles at Clarion University. But Angle truly captured national attention in 1996 when he won the 220-pound freestyle wrestling competition at the Olympic Games in Atlanta with a broken neck.
Four years after earning Olympic gold, Angle entered WWE and immediately became one of the most competitive individuals to set foot in the squared circle. Just weeks after his debut, Angle, who preached the virtues of his three I’s (Intensity, Integrity and Intelligence), won the European Championship.
Shortly thereafter, he captured the Intercontinental Championship and was crowned King of the Ring in 2000. With momentum propelling the red, white and blue–clad grappler to new heights, he defeated The Rock at No Mercy to win his first of four WWE Championships.
During his tenure in WWE, The Wrestling Machine tussled with the greatest Superstars of The Attitude Era, including “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, The Undertaker, Triple H, Big Show and even John Cena in The Cenation Leader’s debut.
Angle departed WWE in 2006, but his seven years as a Superstar raised the level of competitiveness for the entire roster and gave the WWE Universe some of the greatest bouts of all time. His three I’s made him an easy selection for the WWE Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017 and a full-time role in WWE as Raw General Manager.
He also returned to competition in such memorable matches as when he took Roman Reigns’ place alongside Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins in an epic 5-on-3 Handicap Match at WWE TLC, when he captained Team Raw to victory in the Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match at Survivor Series 2017 and when he teamed with newly-signed Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 34 against Triple H & Stephanie McMahon.
The Olympic Hero’s last stand as a WWE Superstar came at WrestleMania 35 where he was defeated by Baron Corbin in what was billed as Angle’s Farewell Match. As WWE fans watched on with tears in their eyes, Angle said goodbye to the ring, leaving it behind as one of the best to ever step through its ropes.