Like most sports these days, professional wrestlers have a life in the business after their in-ring careers are over. Former competitors have transitioned to backstage producer roles for decades, and upon the launch of the WWE Performance Center in 2013, dozens of coaching and advising roles opened up for ex-wrestlers. WWE's current backstage team is largely made up of talent from yesteryear including Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Bobby Roode, Abyss, Molly Holly, Steve Corino, Fit Finlay, and dozens more. Some stars like Matt Bloom and Michael Hayes embraced producing roles once they were ready to retire from the ring while others like Tyson Kidd and Jason Jordan were more or less forced into those positions following career-ending injuries.
For WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle, producing was a byproduct of both. After returning to the company in 2017, Kurt Angle was elected into the WWE Hall of Fame and became an on-screen authority figure shortly after. It was long professed that Angle would eventually wrestle for WWE again, but that return match wouldn't come for many months. By the time he was active again, Angle's health gave him roughly just one year of part-time matches. He would retire after losing to Baron Corbin at WWE WrestleMania 35 and become a backstage producer for the next year before being released in April 2020.
Kurt Angle's Frustration With WWE Producer Job
The Olympic Gold Medalist wanted to compete.
"I'd rather wrestle, but that wasn't going to happen," Kurt Angle said on his Kurt Angle Show podcast, reflecting on his time as a WWE producer. "I wasn't that into my job. I was a producer. I was killing time. I knew that if they were going to do cuts, I would be the first one let go because they were paying me a lot of money, more money than other producers. I knew that if they were going to do cuts and they were going to let go of someone, I'd be the first. I didn't put much into it, I really didn't. I should have been a lot more passionate about it."
Angle's retirement is largely panned by fans, as many felt his career did not end on the high note it could have. Much of that was due to his retirement match itself, as many, including Angle himself, pushed for John Cena to be his final opponent. In the years since, Angle has briefly flirted with wrestling once more but has always come back to the conclusion that his body cannot do it anymore.