During the second episode of his new podcast, The Kurt Angle Show, Kurt Angle looked back on the pay as an amateur wrestler and turning down WWE’s contract offer in 1996 only to sign two years later.
“My agent told me not to sign a WWE contract, but I don’t think he understood what pro wrestling was all about. I don’t think he had any interest in it, so he didn’t watch it. The terms of the contract was a half-million dollars a year for 10 years. That’s guaranteed and you make more if you work more. I never had money so this was like a God send.
My family, we were laborers so we never had money. This was the first time it was looking me in the eye and I was like, I have to do this. It was really difficult to pass up. Seeing that type of money at the time when I never had money was incredible. I was overwhelmed. You’re not making hardly any money (amateur). At that time USA Wrestling was paying a stipend for the number one man on the Olympic team of $1,000 a month. It was pretty bad back then.
Now there’s money involved. They make a lot more money. When I won the Gold in the Olympics in ‘96, I made $35,000. That was from the Olympic Committee. That was my prize for winning a gold medal. Now I heard rumors that it’s up to $500,00 to win, some say it was $250,000. I had to fundraise. I didn’t have a lot of money. I wasn’t coaching anymore. My full-time job was training so I had to go out and fundraise. I had to do this to take care of my costs of traveling and food. It was a really hard time to be an amateur athlete, an Olympic athlete back then. I had a hard time making ends meet, but we worked it out. My family, we were a team and we made sure I made just enough to take care of the bills.”
H/T to WrestlingNews.co