As He Considers His Options for 2011 and Beyond
When it comes to tallying professional wrestling achievements, few stars past or present can tick off an incredible list like that attributed to Kurt Angle. Fourteen-time world champion in the biggest promotions in wrestling, including the WWE, WCW and now TNA. One of only two pro wrestlers to have held every currently available male championship in the WWE. The second wrestler to ever win TNA's Triple Crown and the first to hold all of TNA's championships simultaneously. In 2010, the Wrestling Observer newsletter named him the " Wrestler of the Decade of the 2000s," for obvious reasons.
And, oh yeah, he also has an Olympic Gold Medal for winning the heavyweight freestyle competition at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, and two NCAA Division I champion trophies in 1990 and 1992 wrestling out of Clarion University in Pennsylvania. For his prodigious achievements in the amateur ranks, USA Wrestling named him one of the top 15 college wrestlers of all time.
While Kurt Angle is understandably proud of those accomplishments, he is just as quick to shrug off their overall importance in his day-to-day approach to his profession. "I have won every title that exists in both amateur and pro wrestling," he says without any exaggeration. "But the only thing I want to achieve is to prove I am still the best, and being the best means having the best matches. Period."
It's this dedication to his craft that has helped him transcend most of his peers, and to dominate the in-ring storylines and main-event bouts for 13 years and counting.
Now, however, at 42, the legendary grappler is grappling with some interesting decisions on his future path, as he winds down his current contract with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. While he's not saying outright what the next move will be, Angle is too straightforward to dodge the question entirely.
"A lot of people ask me if I'm staying in TNA or going back to the WWE when my contract is up in August," he admits. "There have been rumors of me fighting in the UFC. I have been blessed with many options, but I have to do what is best for my family and me. I would like to stick with TNA, but I am leaving my options open for now."
He also mentions another pursuit -- acting -- that he's started to take seriously in the past two years with a few projects. "I have a few movies coming out in theaters this year, 'Dylan Dog: Dead of Night' on April 29 and 'Warrior' September 7," he says. "I also have 'Beyond The Mat' due out at the end of this year. I also did some independent movies, 'River of Darkness' that's out on DVD now and 'Death from Above' due out in the fall."
So will he ditch wrestling altogether for a ticket to Hollywood? "I like to keep my fans guessing," he parries.
Those fans shouldn't worry too much, however. Based on his high-velocity training regimen, it's a fair bet he's actually not planning to give up his athletic career anytime soon. Giving no quarter to the advancing years, it's still built for keeping up with his well-muscled competition.
"I now weight train my whole body in one day, doing five sets for each body part," he explains. "This has helped me recover better than doing different body parts each day. I'll weight train one hour on one day, and the next day do one hour of hard cardio, consisting of running on a level-7 incline and walking. Then I will repeat the sequence. I rarely take a day off from training."
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When pressed to pick a favorite, he can't -- Angle loves them all, including Caramel Nut Chocolate, Peanut Butter Crunch, Rocky Road Brownie, Chocolate Caramel Cookie Crunch, and the latest sensation, Peanut Butter & Jelly. "I mix it up so I don't ever get tired of the same one, they're all incredible tasting," he says.
"I believe it's the best protein bar on the market today," Angle adds.
That's especially high praise coming from someone who's jumping into the sports nutrition business himself, with the launch of Angle Foods LLC. "I created Angle Foods for athletes and anyone else that wants to improve their physique and live healthy," he says.
One new product that has him excited is Ultra Fiber DX. "It contains an eight-layer fiber matrix consisting of soluble and insoluble fibers created by doctors in Germany," Angle says. "It aids proper digestion and lowers insulin spikes, and helps lower your sugar level. In turn it will help you lose fat and gain muscle."
Ultra Fiber DX and most other Angle Foods products will all contain protein, the most essential nutrient for athletes, Angle explains. "That includes our Guiltbusters Pizza, which is my favorite. Our Barndad Biscottis are incredible as well." For more information, go to KurtAngleFoods.com
As for his plans later this year, we'll have to wait to see if he'll be making a grand re-entrance onto the WWE stage, sticking with the popular upstart TNA, plying his skills in the UFC, or taking another twist that not even seasoned professional wrestling scriptwriters would see coming. In any venue, however, you can expect his dedication to delivering the best show possible to his fans, and to the training that serves as his foundation for success.
"Pro wrestling is the most difficult sport to train for," he points out. "Learning the moves and bumping on the plywood takes a toll on your body, but the hardest part is the psychology of telling a story in your match. It is pretty incredible when you do it right."