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Kurt Angle speaks


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In an interview with the Miami Herald, Kurt Angle says he did not know he was being traded to RAW until the night before...


''I wasn't told until the night of the ECW pay-per-view,'' said Angle. ``Afterward Vince came to me, which meant I had 24 hours to be prepared to go to Raw. He told me I was going to stay there in New York and fly out to a different city. They were going to drive me into Rochester and put me in a hotel room under a different name. He kept it really secret. It was just amazing how secretive he was being about the trade.


``Vince doesn't tell anyone until the day of or the day before. I flew from New York to Syracuse and took a limo from Syracuse to Rochester. Funny thing is I ended up going into a convenience store to get something to drink.


'When I walked in, there was a fan saying, `Hey Angle, what are you doing? You're getting traded.' I said, 'No. I have an appearance up here. Then we're going up to Hershey. We have a show in Hershey tomorrow.' He's like, 'Yeah, right.' I said, `No. I'm serious.'


``Here is this guy two hours away from the city where we're in. He was going to the show that night, and I finally talked him into believing me. I thought, `Jeez. I better not get out of the limo again.'


``I went into the hotel, and they kept me there until 9:30 at night. They came and got me -- put me in Vince's office till five minutes to 11. None of the wrestlers from Raw knew. I came in with a cape over my head. Finally I was exposed right when I came out.''


''On SmackDown! the guys were a little more like a family,'' said Angle, who did it all on Thursday nights including a stint as General Manager. ``They helped each other out and wanted each other to excel. Everybody wanted everyone to make it to the main event level.


``On Raw there seems to be more of a competitive edge where guys are scraping, fighting and clawing their way to the top while they're trying to keep everyone else down. I think that has a lot to do with the individuals on Raw. I think it's more old school.


``I've always been on SmackDown! My job was to keep myself as one of the top guys but also make these young guys incredibly good so they can take it to the next level. The new guys were coming up. We would build them up and make them into superstars on SmackDown!. Then Raw would take them away from us. I kind of got a little ticked off about this.


``SmackDown! was doing better business and better ratings. All in one year they took [Chris] Benoit, Edge, Batista, [Chris] Jericho. They were taking everybody. It was like who you giving us? They gave us Big Show, and at the time he wasn't doing much on Raw. We didn't know it, but Big Show ended up being one of our home run hitters for us and ended up doing pretty good for us.


``At the time it didn't feel like a fair trade. SmackDown! had always held its ground with me there, Cena, Eddy Guerrero and Rey Mysterio. JBL has stepped it up. Brock Lesnar was there at the time. We were doing better in the ratings at the time and a little better business.


``But Raw had the bigger names with the Triple Hs, the Flairs, the HBKs, at the time the Kevin Nashes and everybody else. Whenever they would do an appearance either Rock, Stone Cold or Mick Foley. They would do it on Raw.


``So everybody would call us the B show, and it really ticked us off. We were proving that we weren't the B show by our performance. When you have Rey Mysterio versus Kurt Angle, I'm sorry to say, but I'd rather see that match than Triple H versus Batista. I'm just being honest with you from a fan's perspective. You're going to get a lot more action and a lot more excitement.


``Triple H and Batista are great wrestlers. They are going to put on a [heck] of a performance in the Hell in the Cell. But having special guys like Rey Mysterio on SmackDown!, there is nobody like him. He will wrestle anyone, and it's just an amazing performance just by the things he can do.


``So keeping Rey Mysterio on SmackDown, Eddy Guerrero, Benoit is there now, it will be a tremendous show.''


As Angle enters a new phase in his career, he is confident SmackDown! will thrive. The superstar, always looking to excel, now sets his sights on uncharted territory.


''Me being on Raw gives me a fresh beginning,'' said Angle. ``I need new guys to work with. What I need now is to get away from on SmackDown! with the neck injuries, where everybody remembers me as that. Now we're going to have a little different character on Raw. I'm going to get a fresh start and a new beginning.


``Hopefully Vince's plans are for me to carry that [world] title. It gives me an opportunity to prove to Vince that I've been injury free the last year. I no longer have to worry about my neck. Before he did, therefore he wouldn't give me anymore title shots.


``If I won the title, but God forbid if I got injured, what was I going to do? Forfeit it and put it up for grabs? That was the last thing Vince wanted to do, but now he's seen that I'm durable. I think now he's willing to take his chances on me and let me carry that title.


``I think that is why he put me on Raw. Put me up against the best like Triple H, who I consider the best in the business -- guys like Batista, who is a strong up-and-comer, and HBK. Going against guys who have made Raw what it is. Chris Jericho and even a guy like Christian should make things very interesting.''


One of the main goals for Angle is to perfect his image and how he wants the fans to perceive him. This means erasing the persona of his last program as a crazed predator after Booker T's wife Sharmel.


''I do want to tweak my character,'' said Angle. ``I didn't necessarily enjoy what I was doing the last couple of months. I didn't like the perverted things. It didn't work for me.


``Although a lot of people thought I was very good at it, I didn't really enjoy playing the part. What I really think I need to do is take that next step. It took nine years for Stone Cold Steve Austin to decide what worked for him. I've only been doing it five.


``So I'm trying to figure it out because Vince McMahon kind of put me in a corner as the Olympic gold medalist, semi-goofy and semi-gullible -- always the guy who makes an #@% out of himself.


``What I would like to do now is get rid of the red, white and blue to have a little more edge to me. It's not like I want to be like Stone Cold or Triple H. I just want to be the real me. I enjoy doing the funny stuff. I enjoy doing what Vince McMahon likes me to do, but I also enjoy being the top guy and making money for the company and for myself.''

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