It has been fairly common knowledge among the Internet Wrestling Community that Kurt Angle's contract with TNA Wrestling ends this month. The IWC also knows that he has said he won't be pursuing any more wrestling right away, but that a return to TNA or WWE is definitely not out of the question. But its been over a decade and a half since Angle hung up the headpiece and began wrestling as a professional, and the beating he's taken along the way means he can't have many good years left. Sting should serve as a warning to anyone who has been putting off one last chance for a run toward WrestleMania.
Is there any chance that Angle's desire to take time off is just a work, and that he could end up being a surprise entrant in this year's Royal Rumble Match? It would certainly be an amazing moment for the WWE Universe, and a complete game-changer for the Rumble Match.
While there's no reason to believe Angle is planning a WWE return in less than a week, the WWE loves to remind us that "anything can happen." In that spirit, Kurt Angle will be the 11th subject in a series of Royal Rumble Résumé articles in which we take a look at some of the biggest names in WWE, how they have fared at the Rumble in the past, and make predictions for how they will (or would) do this year. Prior subjects include John Cena, The Rock, Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Triple H and The Big Show.
For each WWE superstar, we will take a look at both their experience in the Rumble Match and in other matches at the Rumble PPV.
Kurt Angle's 'other' matches at Royal Rumble
Of the eight contests that Kurt Angle has been a part of at the Royal Rumble event, five of them have been singles matches. He appeared in 2000 in a losing effort to Tazz, but would only compete for world titles after that. He successfully defended the WWF/WWE Championship in 2001 and 2003 against Chris Benoit and Triple H respectively. In 2005, he failed to take the WWE Title from JBL in a Triple Threat Match, but successfully defended the World Heavyweight Championship the next year against Mark Henry in his final Rumble appearance.
Overall, Angle is 3-2 in singles matches at the Royal Rumble, but he never lost a belt at the January PPV, and the only title match he lost was a Triple Threat.
Royal Rumble Match entry number
Despite his reputation as a pure athlete, Angle was never given an incredibly long Rumble Match showing in any of his three attempts. He never entered later than #19, with an average pull of #21 or #22.
In 2002 he entered at 26, while in 2005 he entered at 20 after losing the Triple Threat Match earlier in the night.
Length of stay and elimination order
Always entering so late, he didn't have much of a chance for a long entry time. He averaged just over 15 minutes.
He was the runner up in his first attempt, and lasted until the final four in his next attempt. He was eliminated 14th overall after being in the match just 37 seconds in 2005.
Angle eliminated a total of four men in his three Rumbles, but what a foursome: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Kane, Bill Goldberg and Shawn Michaels.
The three living legends that were able to prevent Angle from headlining WrestleMania include Triple H, Big Show, and Shawn Michaels. Again, not a shabby list.
While it seems likely that Kurt Angle will return to WWE before he retires for good, all indications are that it won't be in 2016. If, however, he does make a return, you can expect him to enter late and eliminate one or two major players. He'd likely put in a good 15-20 minutes, make it to the final four, and then get tossed by Roman Reigns or Brock Lesnar.
Royal Rumble 2016 will air live on the WWE Network on January 24.