LaBar: Kurt Angle preparing for WWE return
Kurt Angle could be on his way home to WWE.
On Jim Ross' podcast, Angle revealed that his TNA contract expires Sept. 21. Angle went on to say he expects the next deal he signs to be the final one of his career.
He won't say it, but Angle's only expectation is to sign with WWE.
He left WWE and debuted with TNA in 2006. The debut was one of the biggest surprises ever, especially involving TNA. To this point, TNA had nobody who was a shocking departure from WWE. The roster included names new to national television or ex-WWE guys from years past.
Angle's debut was his last significant accomplishment with TNA.
After that, everything else was minor league. His time in TNA doesn't measure up to his WWE tenure.
It's not a reflection of his talent. It's a reflection of his employer.
At first, it was an escape for Angle working in a company with a new work rate, new opponents, new audience and new health policy.
Respect for his abilities has never been forgotten. The audience has only been distracted by stories of his Twitter being hacked and his overall health condition. He debuted with TNA with the intent to help build a viable company to compete with WWE. After a while, we all realized it was a niche alternative at best.
It's a great example of a big fish in a small pond.
I have no doubt Angle wants to be back in WWE as soon as he's contractually able. Does WWE want him?
The situation wasn't clean when he left WWE. Angle's health played a part in his departure and will forever be a subject of conversation during his career.
If his contract expires in September, Royal Rumble is the ideal return for Angle in WWE. The company loves to bring in surprises to the 30-man match, and it launches the lucrative road to WrestleMania.
Rusev and Daniel Bryan make the most sense as opponents for Angle.
If the Russian sympathizer gimmick continues with positive momentum, the Olympic hero return to WWE would fit in storyline and make for an exciting in-ring match against Rusev.
Bryan is the best bell-to-bell performer today. Angle's work against Bryan would be spectacular — a guaranteed bow to wrap up his career.
If Angle can remain healthy, there is no reason for him not to return to WWE. The reality is: He would be the only reason WWE would ever invest in the TNA tape library. That way they could acquire the tapes for an Angle biography on a WWE Network special.
Vince McMahon has allowed a lot of water under bridges in the history of business. He doesn't stand in the way of money to be made. Angle still offers some profit to the company.
If he never goes back to WWE, Angle's legacy will never recover. The Angle fan club and Angle himself will have to live with that. There will be so much “what if” talk if he never goes back to the big leagues.
Angle will never admit it in his podcast appearances or Twitter rants, but the truth is obvious. Big league pay doesn't equate to big league residency.
Angle must return to WWE to conclude his legacy. It's true, it's damn true.
Justin LaBar is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7949 or firstname.lastname@example.org.