Hello again! I’m Pumi . Puroresu commentator in Thailand! First I want to say thanks to all of wrestling fans who commented my previous work (Kikutaro’s Interview). This time I give you an interview with Olympic Gold Medalist, Kurt Angle! I interviewed him 8 months ago in Thailand. It’s all about Puroresu and his opinions from his life experiences.
Many thanks to DDS for giving me a chance to post an article on the site. Enjoy!
Hello Kurt. This is not the first time you’ve been to Thailand. What do you think about it?
I’m sorry! I can’t remember anything about Thailand because, as a pro wrestler, I have to go to different countries for a very short time. But I won’t forget it again! I’m so sorry.
That’s Okay. Let’s start with the first question. In your book you wrote about your first year in wrestling when you had a 2-14 record and cried after every match. What was your inspiration for coming back from that and becoming one of the best wrestlers in the world?
I always talked to my family. I have brothers and sisters. My brother Eric was a successful wrestler and I could never get to his level. So, when I had a problem, I didn’t really look to anybody else except my family for inspiration. I wanted to be like my brother so I trained longer and harder.
I felt good and I looked better after I achieved more trophies. My family inspired me to become who I am. The best thing for me was that I was the youngest brother, everybody loved me more, and always taught me wrestling. I learned a lot from my brothers and sisters. I believe if my older brother had been the youngest, he would have become an Olympic Gold medalist too!
But you know what? At first I didn’t like wrestling because I hated one-on-one sports. I preferred team sports. I didn’t like when everything depended just on me. This is my biggest fear, and this fear became an asset. Every match I had I was always afraid, but when I’m afraid I’m able to turn that fear into success and anytime I was really afraid, the best would come out of me. For example, in my final match in the 1996 Olympics I was very afraid of my opponent. I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but I felt like the more fearful I became – the better I became.
You are a pro wrestler and an Olympic Gold Medalist. What would you say to someone thinking about becoming a pro wrestler?
I really believe if you want to become a pro wrestler, it has to be about passion. It’s about getting into some other sports, whether it is wrestling or Muay Thai or others. A lot of pro wrestlers come from different sports. They come from Football, Basketball, Boxing, etc.; they have an athletic background. I know everybody can’t become a pro wrestler, but if you have an athletic background it can help you in the future. I think you have to do some organized sports and get into competition. Make a name for yourself by winning a gold medal, a collegiate medal, or a national title. Use that athletic ability and cross into pro wrestling. In Asia, the best wrestling organization are in Japan. If you want to be a good wrestler, you better go to Japan because wrestling is different from, say, Kick Boxing. Pro Wrestling has it’s own techniques and you have to learn them. Wrestling is also about charisma. You need to get into the audience heads and make them love you. It’s also about psychology and making the fans happy. So, the best thing for kids is letting them play sports.
You are the former champion in the US and Japan. What is the difference between Japanese wrestling and American wrestling?
I believe that Japanese style of wrestling is very brutal on your body. They go out there and think they have to make it real as much as possible. For example, when Japanese wrestlers do suplexes they don’t land on their back but on their head and they call it a ‘brainbuster.’ It’s very real. I was the IWGP champion for a while. I wrestled many great wrestlers like Yuji Nagata, Kendo Kashin, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura. They are the best in the world. When the match was over, I was really beat up. I felt a lot of pain, like my body was going to break. The Japanese style is about pride. They care about making it real more than their lives. I respect them very much.
American wrestling is different. It’s all business. We learned early that safety is first. When wrestling is all business it means we have to be on TV every week. So, Kurt Angle cannot be injured. The company has to take care of their top wrestlers and the wrestlers have to build a character on TV before they can become stars.
In Japan, I don’t think they really care about this as much. They do care, but I’m sure they can wrestle while their arm is broken. They don’t necessarily focus on safety like American wrestlers. For example, I used to wrestle in Korea. They have wrestling style similar to Japan and I got thrown right on the top of my head. I was injured for two months after that shot.
By the way, I always enjoy watching Japanese wrestling. I had the best match of my career there against Yuji Nagata. He is an awesome wrestler. Even though I was very hurt after that match, I’m so proud every time I watch it again on TV.
Do you have any issues with Nakamura?
No. I heard many rumors that said I had a problem with Nakamura in Japan. I respect him. This is “professional” wrestling. Maybe something was misunderstood from what I said in the interview after a match.
Yesterday you went to a charity event for orphans. Tell us about that?
I have children, so I really enjoy spending time with kids. They were very welcoming and had very good manners. I believe they need more help. The weather was very hot yesterday, but I was very happy. I loved this event, me going out there and giving out food. I saw their faces when they ran to me with excitement. They didn’t know who I was, they just knew I was celebrity, but I was happy to see their smiling faces. I want to tell people to care more about these children. They have very few chances in their lives. I believe they have potential to do something very special in the future and you never know, maybe I can come here again and take care of them. Orphans need love from someone and they don’t have parents to do this. So, I think it’s important for some celebrities to help these children because it is going to help the kids in the future.
My best memory in Thailand was yesterday at the event. One girl ran toward me and kissed me on the cheek. I was really happy, as I missed my children. Next time I come here I hope I have a chance to see them again.
Thanks for the interview.
Thank you, I hope to see you again.
Below, see Kurt Angle’s IWGP Heavyweight Title unification bout against Shinsuke Nakamura.