Kurt Angle Turned Down WWE’s Offer to Manage Matt Riddle

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Kurt Angle introduced Matt Riddle to SmackDown on Friday, formalizing an exciting new addition to the roster. And there is potential for more.

WWE originally planned for Angle to serve as Riddle’s manager in his call-up to the main roster.

“WWE offered me a job to manage Matt Riddle,” said Angle. “Unfortunately, I turned it down. I just have so much going with my business, Physically Fit Nutrition, and I need to make sure it succeeds before I do anything else.”

The Angle-Riddle pairing makes sense as both bring legitimacy and authenticity to pro wrestling with their history in high-level sports. Angle is a former Olympic gold medalist and Riddle was a success in the UFC despite having victories overturned after testing positive for marijuana.

The 51-year-old Angle is also not entirely ruling out a return to the ring. There are still plenty of opportunities for a healthy Angle to help build new stars, and the only complaint from last Wednesday’s outstanding Riddle-Timothy Thatcher NXT match was that Angle was the referee instead of the third man in the Fight Pit.

“I’m almost 100% I won’t wrestle again, but if I did, that’s the direction I would have went,” said Angle. “I imagine WWE was going to go with me managing Riddle and then, eventually, probably a match between the two of us.”

Limited by a body desperately in need of rest and recuperation, Angle last wrestled at WrestleMania 35 against Baron Corbin. But there are no certainties or guarantees in the business of professional wrestling, nor are there farewells. Angle was asked if, under the right circumstances, he would return to the ring.

“Right now, I can’t,” said Angle. “Could my mind be changed? Yes, for two reasons. I’m working on my business, and I’ve been doing a lot of rehab on my body, trying to get myself back to where I’m able to live a healthy lifestyle. I’d been so banged up—my neck, my back, and my neck—but I’m making improvements.

“If I get to the point where I feel I can do it, then I’ll probably do it. But right now, I have to focus on my body.”

Angle most recently worked for WWE backstage as a producer, but was among those released in April as the company cut costs amid the coronavirus crisis. The newfound freedom has provided him a chance to fully immerse in Physically Fit Nutrition.

“It was almost a blessing in disguise that WWE released me,” said Angle. “The business started picking up orders, and we’re at a point where I really need to be here.

“We have chicken snacks called Chxn Snx, and they will be a number one seller. This will not only be available on Amazon, but also in convenience stores, health food stores, groceries, and bulk stores like Costco and Sam’s Club.”

Angle generated considerable interest two weeks ago when he playfully announced on Instagram that he would be producing his own line of milk.

“Steve Austin has his own beer and Rock has his tequila, so I thought it was funny that I’d have my own milk,” said Angle. “Everyone thought I was serious, but the payoff is you can buy autographed ‘Angle’s Milk’ cartons on my website. But the interest is there, so maybe I can do more with it.”

Even away from WWE, Angle will not be off-screen for long. He is part of the upcoming “Rulon Gardner Won’t Die” documentary that details Gardner’s rise to Olympic gold medalist and subsequent fall.

“The story behind Rulon is incredible,” said Angle. “He was a good wrestler, but he kept finding ways to become great. To see him succeed the way he did and win a gold medal, beating Alexsandr Karelin, a guy that was unbeatable, that still blows my mind. They wrestled before and Rulon got annihilated. To wrestle Karelin again and beat him for the gold medal, that goes down in history as the greatest amateur wrestling moment ever in the Olympics.”

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.