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Ric Flair’s “Woo! Nation” #1 – Kurt Angle Interview (May 6, 2015)

WOOOO! Nation Podcast Ep. #1
Hosts: Ric Flair and Conrad Thompson
Guest: Kurt Angle
Release Date: May 6, 2015

DIRECT LINK TO LISTEN/DOWNLOAD

Recap by Mark Golden (@RealMarkGolden)

Main Topics Covered

3:31: Ric Flair Meets Kurt Angle
7:25: Kurt Angle: The Early Years
11:35: Working Heel
14:21: Ric Flair vs. Kurt Angle
19:40: Brock Lesnar
26:40: UFC
33:50: FOXCATCHER
36:30: Career Highlights
39:37: John Cena
43:00: Verne Gagne
44:50: Kurt Angle’s Bucket List
47:23: WrestleMania Moments
53:28: Conclusion

EPISODE SUMMARY (w/Timestamps)

0:00 – 3:29: Introduction and ads.

3:31 – Ric introduced Kurt Angle including all his accolades. Ric said Kurt is the most famous guy in Pittsburgh, not Bruno Sammartino. Ric and Kurt talked about when they first met at a Gold’s Gym in Memphis. At the time, Kurt was on the fence about whether to go to WCW or WWF. Ric gave him Vince McMahon’s phone number, and the rest was history. Kurt recalled that Ric told him that WCW takes stars, but WWF makes stars, and that WCW wouldn’t know what to do with Kurt. Ric said Kurt was fresh off his Olympic Gold Medal win, and while there were a lot of World Class athletes, there was never a Gold Medalist.

7:25: Ric said Kurt caught on to the professional wrestling business faster than almost anyone with an amateur background, second only to Jack Briscoe. Ric put Kurt over as one of the three best wrestlers in the world. Ric said he had matches with so many amateur wrestlers that just never got it. Kurt said he didn’t watch pro wrestling growing up, but he knew the big names like Bruno, Flair, and Hogan. He said he didn’t watch it until he was about to start training for WWF. They talked about Kurt’s professional training, by Dory Funk. Kurt said he only trained with Dory for a few months. Kurt felt it wasn’t enough, but he was able to get some of the basics and fundamentals down. Kurt said he benefited by working his first year with wrestlers such as Chris Benoit, Triple H, Chris Jericho, The Rock, and The Undertaker, so he learned a lot from all of them. Ric said he too was lucky to start at a good time, with such greats as Wahoo McDaniel, Dusty Rhodes, Ray Stevens, Nick Bockwinkel, the Briscos, and the Funks. Ric said when he was starting, he learned a lot by listening to what they all had to say. Ric said if Ray Stevens told him something, he didn’t tell anyone about it, he worked on it and retained it. He said today’s wrestlers will ask for advice, get the advice, and then ask someone else, and that doesn’t work for The Nature Boy.

11:35: Ric put over Kurt for having some of the best matches he’s ever seen in a relatively short period of time. Ric mentioned a match Kurt had with Undertaker in Tokyo, Japan that went 40 minutes, and said it was one of the best matches he’s ever seen. Kurt said he seemed to have pretty good chemistry with most everyone he worked. Kurt said he remembered that match and really liked it and wished it had been on TV. Kurt said when he was starting, he watched tapes of Ric Flair and Arn Anderson matches, and learned a lot from watching them control the matches and calling it in the ring. Kurt learned it was more important to make your opponent look good, than to make yourself look good, especially as a heel. Ric said when he wrestled, he preferred working heel, because he felt he had a limited offensive repertoire, but promoters always wanted him to be a babyface.

14:21: Flair and Angle reminisced about a match they had on Raw: Flair said he arrived at the building, and was informed by Pat Patterson that he was having an 18-minute match with Kurt Angle. Flair thought it was a rib, especially since Michael Hayes usually called him ahead of time to give him a heads up on what he was doing at the next show. Ric said Kurt never blows up so Flair called a spot for Angle to give him a Belly-to-Belly on the floor, just so he could lay there and catch his breath. Ric talked about believing at one point that Kurt’s Anklelock was a shoot, and was surprised when other wrestlers started using it.

19:40: Conrad Thompson plugged KurtAngleBrand.com, and asked Kurt about the impromptu amateur match with Brock Lesnar that happened years ago. Kurt said it started when someone asked Brock how he would fare against Angle. Brock said he thought Kurt was too small, so Kurt confronted him and challenged him because Kurt had defeated guys in the past who were Brock’s size. Brock declined. Then, one day prior to Raw, Brock was in the ring throwing Big Show around. Kurt was stunned at what he saw,but came to the ring, told Big Show to get out. Show obliged, and Kurt and Brock went at it. Kurt said Brock is not only stronger than anyone he met, but also the most athletic, but lacked the wrestling technique. Kurt said the match was tight. They went for 15 minutes. Kurt took him down twice, because of his ring positioning. Kurt said he wouldn’t want to do that again. Kurt said he really likes the way they book Brock today, because he is as much of an animal as the way he’s being showcased. Ric said he worked with Brock in the past. He said he’s unbelievably strong, tossed Flair around like he weighed 20 lbs, but never hurt him. Kurt said Brock knows how to work, and has only gotten better. Ric told the story from the night he had to work with Brock, because Steve Austin no showed. Austin told Ric the night before that he wouldn’t be at Raw. Ric shows up at the building, and Vince asked him if he had his gear. This was when Ric was storyline co-owner of WWF. Ric, Kurt, and Conrad were laughing at this story.

26:40: Conrad asked Kurt about UFC, and if it had been as hot in 1997 as it is now would Kurt have chosen a career in MMA instead of professional wrestling. Angle said, as much as he loves pro wrestling now, he would have. Kurt said he had met with Dana White twice. The first time was when he first left WWE. Dana wanted Kurt to completely stop wrestling, but Kurt had just signed with TNA, and wanted to commit to them for at least a year. They couldn’t meet in the middle. The second time was during all the drama with Karen and Jeff, and Angle contemplated leaving the business altogether. He talked with Dana, who wanted Kurt to be on the show Real Fighter. At the time, the show was going to start in four weeks, and Kurt didn’t think that was enough time to train and prepare. Ric said he spoke with Dana and a lot of the MMA guys and they all think the world of Kurt Angle, and look up to him as though he has already been or is UFC champion. The guys talked about their mutual acquaintance three time national champion TJ Jaworski, who Ric said he has partied with often. Ric talked about how he could never get Kurt to have a drink with him. Kurt said he couldn’t do it because he wouldn’t trust himself. Conrad said that was a good response.

33:50: Conrad brought up the movie Foxcatcher, and said a lot of people took issue with the film’s accuracy. Kurt thought the movie was great, but that there were things in the movie that didn’t occur, but that happens for dramatic effect. However, the important details were pretty realistic. Kurt said that as unforgivable as his actions were, there’s no denying that John DuPont made the team the best wrestlers in the world.

36:30: Conrad asked Kurt about his professional career highlights. He said his career was better in TNA, and he doesn’t regret working there. He said it makes you realize how hard it is to be in WWE, and doesn’t know how someone like John Cena does it, where he keeps going. He said he couldn’t have survived if he’d stayed in WWE. He said the John Cena wholesome All American face of the company should have been his, but it never happened that way. He said it was a better overall situation for him at TNA. He said if WWE had given him a reduced schedule, he would have stayed, but they only wanted him full time on the road. Kurt said TNA and Dixie took care of him, financially and otherwise, and basically saved his life.

39:37: Ric talked about the match when John Cena debuted against Kurt Angle. Ric said he talked with Cena about this, too, and put Cena over for standing toe to toe with Kurt, and that Cena didn’t blow up. Ric said he wasn’t crazy about John Cena’s early gimmick, but was impressed with him in the ring almost immediately. Ric talked about his biggest fear in the business was not getting hurt, but blowing up in the ring. He said he always worked on his conditioning and cardio. Doctors would ask him how he had a standing heart rate of 35. Ric said that was instilled in him from his days training with Verne Gagne.

43:00: They talked about Verne Gagne, Ric’s days training with him, how much he’s done for the business, and how Verne was Kurt Angle before there was a Kurt Angle.

44:50: Conrad asked Kurt if he has anything left on his career bucket list. Kurt said there’s nothing left that he feels he needs to accomplish. He said his career has been beyond rewarding. He said he experienced a lot. A lot of good things, and a lot of bad things, and he’s learned from all of them. He listed his matches against Shawn Michaels, Brock Lesnar and Eddie Guerrero at WrestleManias as highlight moments, as well as his matches against Samoa Joe and A.J. Styles in TNA, but his career highlight was his first World Title win against the Rock. He said it was special because he didn’t quite know what he was doing yet, but it meant that the company saw a lot in him, and the best was yet to come.

47:23: Conrad asked about Kurt Angle about his WrestleMania Moment. Kurt said his match with Shawn Michaels was the most special. It was mid-card. It wasn’t a main event. It wasn’t a title match. They didn’t even prepare for the match. They just went out there, and had the match of the night. It was so over that he said he got paid more for that match than any title match he had. Kurt said his only regret is that he never had a match with Ric Flair during his (Ric’s) prime. Ric said when he was on top, it was tough to follow the full cards he headlined, so that’s why he oftentimes went 30 minutes and bladed. Kurt said no one could ever compare to the career of Ric Flair. Ric said he feels fortunate to have as many friends as he does, and he’s glad that Angle is one of them.

53:28: Ric and Conrad wrapped up by continuing to put Kurt over as easily one of the best of all time. They referenced Kurt talked about how Kurt should have been in the John Cena position. Flair said it wasn’t that he couldn’t do it, but Kurt always had a bad neck that has resulted in surgeries, and has affected his career. Conrad congratulated Ric on his first show, and they signed off.

OVERALL REVIEW & SCORE

Rating: 9.5. Very good show. Rare, in-depth conversation with Kurt Angle. They covered a lot of ground, but could have talked for hours. Ric talks over Kurt a little, but the shows get better with time, and Flair is always a great storyteller. Conrad is an excellent co-host, and has a nice voice for radio or television. He and Ric compliment each other well. Their dynamic is almost that of a Play-by-Play man (Conrad) and Color Commentator (Ric).

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