TNA wrestler Kurt Angle appeared on ESPNews’s SportsCenter program on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the International Olympic Committee’s decision to drop wrestling from the Olympics starting in 2020. The following are highlights (via Pwtorch.com) from the five-minute interview with Angle, who was introduced as an Olympic gold medalist formerly of WWE and now currently with “Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling.”
– Angle said he “didn’t think it was possible” for the IOC to drop wrestling for the Olympics. “I just can’t believe they would do that right now,” he added, stressing his shock over the decision.
– Angle said he thinks the wrestling community, both professional and amateur, need to “fight back” against the decision prior to the IOC’s final decision later this year.
– Angle claimed that amateur wrestling is as popular as it has been since 1980. He backed up his claim by saying MMA has “jumpstarted” interest in wrestling at the high school and college levels because the athletes see opportunities to compete professionally.
Angle cited Bellator – TNA’s co-partner with Spike TV – and UFC as avenues to compete in MMA after wrestling. “A lot of kids see MMA or want to become a pro wrestler after seeing me make the transition,” Angle said.
– Angle stressed that wrestling being dropped from the Olympics could hurt the sport’s progress in the U.S. “Main reason is kids always want to go after the gold,” Angle said. “Now, I don’t know where things are going to go.”
Angle said wrestling’s potential has been “built up so much” that it would be “a shame” if the incentive to strive for Olympics gold is removed.