Welcome to another week of Outside the Ring.  This week’s top story is Kurt Angle’s response to rumors that he was inebriated on a flight this past week.  While news of a wrestler possibly drunk or high while traveling isn’t the most abnormal story out there, Angle has had a number of very public embarrassments dealing with drugs and alcohol in the last several years.  All of which led to a lengthy stint in rehab.  Many fans, OTR included, hoped that he could ultimately live a healthy life, and extend his already amazing career.

Yet, hoping that Angle stays sober to extend his career is selfish.  Truthfully, Kurt Angle should stay clean for his wife, his children, and himself.  So many of his contemporaries have passed away because of similar demons, Angle truly is blessed to have a second chance at life.  What would be more disappointing: Angle never wrestling again, or Angle dying young?   

It was therefore disappointing to read that Angle was seemingly on something during his flight.  Fortunately, Angle is contesting the dirt-sheet rumor, stating that he is still sober, and people are simply trying to capitalize on catching him in a bad situation.  Here is Angle’s statement on the matter, via his Twitter feed:

“Rumors are the root of evil. The truth will endure. Here is the truth!...

I'm excited to say I'm coming up on my one-year anniversary of being clean and sober. I'm very humbled. God has truly blessed me. It's been a difficult but exciting road to living alcohol/drug free. Then some heartless individuals want to create rumors of me 'passed out' on a plane. Wow! I guess you can't take a nap on a plan when you're a recovering addict. But it only makes me want to stay clean even more!!!” (PW Torch)    

If we take Angle at his word, it’s great news to hear that he hasn’t begun using again.  Despite a couple of odd posts on Twitter, Kurt Angle is generally loved in the wrestling community.  The man is unquestionably one of the most gifted athletes to ever enter the squared circle.  His passion and persistence in being the best is unrivaled.  He won a gold medal at the Olympics while wrestling with a broken neck for Christ-sake.  Even though we often refer to Brock Lesnar as so, Kurt Angle is THE beast.  

Although Kurt Angle is a beast in nearly everything he attempts, defeating addiction has to be the most difficult battle of his life.  It’s bound to be a battle that he struggles with for the remainder of his life, and there are sure to be a number of slip ups and defeats.  But for his and his family’s sake, we hope that the best Kurt Angle shows up for this battle.  He’s a great wrestler, perhaps one of the all time best, he needs to be an even better person going forward.

With talk of his addiction out of the way, Kurt Angle made even more news this week when he visited Jim Ross’s podcast.  During the interview, Angle noted that his current contract with TNA ends in September, and while they’ve made a decent offer, he has yet to extend with the company.  He reasons that while TNA has treated him well, his next contract is likely to be his last, and he wants to explore all options. (Wrestling Inc)

Reading between the lines is pretty easy here: Kurt Angle wants to see if he can earn a bigger paycheck for his last contract before retirement.  And the only company in town likely to offer more money than TNA is WWE.  Really, there isn’t anyone else in position to even compete financially here.  So… Kurt Angle is open to the possibility of returning to the WWE to finish out his career.  That would be amazing.

There are bound to be plenty of obstacles in the way of an Angle return to WWE.  Schedule, travel, salary, etc…  But with WWE giving out big contracts to part time stars such as Brock Lesnar, Rob Van Dam, Chris Jericho, and Batista, it certainly feels more likely that they would make an offer to Angle now than they would have, say five years ago.  And if he can prove he’s serious about staying sober, why not make Angle an offer?  He’s still a brilliant ring general, capable of having five-star matches, and under the right guidance, one hell of an entertaining character.  People forget how hilarious he can be.

Wouldn’t that be the most amazing end to Kurt Angle’s career?  Overcoming addiction and making a triumphant return to the biggest wrestling promotion in the world.  We can dream, right?

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And now here's a little feature we like to call: Marty Jannetty TAKES ON the internet.

On speculation that Sting will be at next Monday's RAW following a recent cryptic tweet from the former WCW champion.

What's the big deal boys?  I'm going to be at that same RAW and you don't see me putting out douchey tweets about it.  Obstructed view seats!  I'll be the guy wearing a t-shirt with his own face on it and eating baked beans out of the can.

On news that RAW's ratings were up significantly following the return of Chris Jericho.

I think it's really good that RAW's rating have seemed to rebound for the first time since Daniel Bryan's injury.  The return of Chris Jericho, a fan of yours truly, kind of brings back a portion of "old-school" fans.  Wondering how to take it to the next level of awesomeness?  Five words: Marty Jannetty mentors Adam Rose.  I'll show that guy how a real man parties!

On CM Punk serving as a red carpet host at the first annual AP Music Awards.

Remember when one of CM Punk's close friends came out and said the former WWE superstar despises public life and is miserable?  Well, are we at the point where we can officially call this friend's concerns horseshit?  Oh, I can't say that here?  How about just "ill informed"?  That's right, I brought my A game today!

On Santino Marella retiring from the ring because of neck issues.

One man's time in the ring can be shockingly short, but it seems to be the norm for the wrestling business.  Regardless of whether or not you were a fan of Santino's, it's almost impossible to argue that he wasn't one of the most talented comedy acts to ever perform in the ring.  He was and still is a valuable member of the wrestling world.

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Be sure to listen to the latest episode of the SharpShooter Podcast!  This week's episode was a good one thanks to the great questions we received from you - the guys and gals who download the show.  We had a lot of fun and hope you enjoy the show!

This week's episode covers:

  • Intro - Paul McCartney coming to San Diego.
  • Fourth of July talk.
  • Aaron apologizes for a past episode.
  • A review and analysis of WWE's Raw.
  • Is Rusev regressing?
  • Should Randy Orton have gone clean over Dean Ambrose?
  • The Montreal crowd brings their A game.
  • Bret Hart returns to screw-city.
  • Are the Usos cool?
  • Raw ends with a disappointing main event.
  • Final grades.
  • Listener questions! 1) Is the WWE Network worth owning? 2) Better method for going over clean - pin or submission? 3) Who will win the IC title at BattleGround? 4) Should WWE pull the trigger on Reigns early? 5) What are some in and outside the ring storylines that never got a pay off that you wish would have?

And here's the Direct Download! (Right click and "Save Link As")

If you're interested in listening to more episodes, visit our little corner in the iTunes Store.  Be sure to leave us a rating!  Or, you can always click "More" on the above player, and listen to our entire catalog.  Pretty handy.

Finally, if you're like me and have a favorite app not made by Apple to play your podcasts (I love me some DOWNCAST for my iPhone, and iPP Podcast Player for my Android Tablet), here's the RSS Feed for your convenience: http://sharpshootercast.libsyn.com/rss

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Written by Thomas and Aaron Briggs