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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Kurt Angle Interview On Between The Ropes

Courtesy of Adam Wilcox:

Between The Ropes
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
ESPN Florida AM 1080 and AM 1060
Simulcast online at BetweenTheRopes.com

TNA World Champion Kurt Angle joined Brian Fritz and Vito DeNucci on the March 18th edition of Between The Ropes to discuss the inaugural live Impact broadcast next week, an upcoming fight against Randy Couture this year, and much more.

Fritz began the interview by asking Angle about TNA’s first live Impact taping coming up on March 27th. Kurt feels that show is the company’s biggest milestone since the signing of himself and Booker T and spoke about Spike TV’s dedication to the TNA product. “Spike has given us two hours, which is very rare for that program to give anybody two hours … They saw a lot of stars on our program and thought they weren’t getting enough exposure, so Spike said, ‘You know what? We need to go two hours with this show. This show’s starting to build and we’re starting to get really good ratings.’ So now they’re putting all the money and the time into TNA and they’re getting a lot out of it.” Angle says the wrestlers are looking forward to March 27th and pointed out an important difference between a live atmosphere and a taped one. “When you do have a tape, you know that you can flub up a little bit and it can be edited. Raw is War, that’s live, and they go straight-up and the pressure’s on ‘em. Same thing’s going to happen here in TNA, and we’re going to do this once and see how it goes, and I think it’s going to go real well, and we can continue to do it in the future.”

DeNucci mentioned the common complaints among fans, wrestlers, and journalists regarding the all-to-frequent gimmick bouts and constant match interference which seem to dominate TNA PPVs and television shows. Angle agrees that these things must be toned down and insisted the company is addressing those issues. “It’s been talked about. The ref bumps, also unclean finishes, run-ins, that kind of stuff has all been talked about. We’re going to tighten that up, not have so many interruptions, have those clean finishes even if a heel goes over on a babyface. We’re working on all that stuff, that stuff is definitely going to be cleaned up.” Kurt went on to say that TNA is looking to move toward a more serious, MMA-type of atmosphere beginning at Lockdown. “(Samoa Joe) isn’t going to be on TV for the next three weeks because he’s training for our match. We’re going to have an MMA-style match at the Pay-Per-View and this is the beginning of what TNA is going to start doing.” The Olympian noted his “open training camp” which will air on this Thursday’s Impact, stating that he legitimately knocked out one of his training partners during the segment.

Angle referred to the Big Show-Floyd Mayweather WrestleMania showdown as a “clown match” due to the size differential between both men and feels that many TNA supporters will be on hand for WWE’s premier event of the year. “When they have their Pay-Per-View down in Orlando, a lot of fans are going to be chanting, ’TNA!’ That’s our territory.” The gold medalist believes that his Lockdown match with Samoa Joe will outperform the Mayweather-Show clash and said TNA’s goal is to compete with WWE by placing emphasis on in-ring ability.

It’s no secret that Angle has entertained the idea of stepping into a mixed martial arts arena at some point in the near future. Kurt addressed his desire to become involved in the MMA world and said he has spoken with each fighting organization. “I’ve been very adamant and serious about doing it. But when it comes down to it, they will not give me the numbers I want. And I’m not asking for astronomical figures, but I have asked for a seven-figure deal, because if I’m going to do it, I know it’s going to be a big draw.” The TNA Titleholder claimed that he turned down stock offers in some MMA companies, saying that he prefers money to stocks and PPV buy-rate percentages.

Kurt dropped a bombshell by stating that he has signed with an MMA promotion to fight Randy Couture later in the year. “Finally, I find an organization - and I can’t tell you who it is right now - but I signed, we’re both signed on to do it, me and Randy Couture. It’s probably going to happen in late-summer, early-fall. I’m starting my training this week coming up.” Angle assured everyone that he will be ready for the Couture fight when it occurs and said TNA has approved this endeavor.

Angle appeared to strongly indicate the possibility of Bobby Lashley debuting in TNA very soon and spoke highly of the former ECW Champion‘s in-ring skills. “(Laughs) Well, let’s just say … I’m not going to say anything, but be ready for anything - be ready for a big surprise … Let’s just say that I’m real excited about the direction that Bobby Lashley is going … I know Bobby Lashley’s first love is pro wrestling, so there’s a good chance he will come back to wrestling and it will not, will not, will not be with WWE.”

To hear this interview in its entirety - including further discussion with Kurt Angle regarding TNA creative, his thoughts on the current state of WWE, Ric Flair being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and why Kurt turned down a lucrative offer from Dana White to fight in the UFC - visit the show online at http://www.BetweenTheRopes.com, where you can also become a site member and access hundreds of previous BTR broadcasts and interviews. Join Brian Fritz, Vito DeNucci, and Dickerman for Between The Ropes every Tuesday night from 6:00-8:00 PM ET on ESPN Florida AM 1080 and AM 1060 and worldwide on BetweenTheRopes.com.