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!BANG! TV Special

Funk’s Corner - How Tough is Kurt Angle?

In The summer of 1996 Kurt Angle won the gold medal in the Olympic Games. I called information in Pittsburgh and got a number for him. I called just to talk to him and congratulate him. I reached his mother and spoke with her telling her how proud we all were of his accomplishment. I was impressed how nice she was, however, Kurt and I never connected.

In the spring of 1998, I was working for then WWF as head coach of the Funking Dojo pro-wrestling training program in Stamford Connecticut. I received the list of trainees for the third pro-wrestling training camp. On the list was Olympic Gold Medallist, Kurt Angle. "Hey what a thrill to finally meet Kurt Angle."

I had trained Jumbo Tsuruta, a silver medallist in the Olympics, Anton Geesink a Judo Gold Medallist, Mark Henry Olympic Weight Lifter and Giant Silva an Olympic Basketball Player. I believe that real wrestlers and real athletes are important to the credibility of professional wrestling. My father, Dory Funk Sr. attended Indiana University on an amateur wrestling scholarship and insisted that I compete in amateur wrestling if I wanted to turn pro in the future.

My first opportunity to meet Kurt Angle came in the gym. I was excited at the opportunity to meet him but of course I was going to be his Coach so I put on my serious face and entered the training center. Christian Cage, Christopher Daniels, Rhino, Matt and Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle and others were there. It was easy to spot Kurt Angle, with his dark curly hair, a twenty inch plus neck that came directly from his shoulders to his ears and a big grin on his face.

Our wrestling training routine was weights in the morning followed by in ring performance in the afternoon. Kurt couldn’t wait to get to the ring. He was happy to be there and loved training.

The first thing I told Kurt was that anything he did in amateur wrestling he could work into his professional wrestling career however, we would just enhance it a little. Kurt throws the best pro fireman’s carriage in wrestling as does he the belly to belly suplex, the back suplex, German suplex, arm drag and single leg pickup. They are amateur wrestling moves enhanced for pro-wrestling.

Kurt loved to be in the ring and loved to learn about pro-wrestling. Kurt is an exceptional athlete. I was a fan and Coach of Kurt Angle and respected him so much for his accomplishments in amateur wrestling so you can imagine how good I felt being his professional wrestling coach.

In training that afternoon our final drill was something we call “Bull in the Ring.” There were fifteen wrestlers standing on the apron of the ring waiting for the next opportunity to show their skills, I stood in the center of the ring and said, “I need the toughest Son of a Gun in this training camp standing right here beside me.” Kurt Angle and Christian Cage nearly fell over themselves trying to get there the fastest.

Kurt got the call. He would be the “Bull in the Ring.” With fourteen action hungry wrestlers on the ring apron, I called each one by name one at a time. They would charge Kurt and it was his job to take them off their feet, get up and be ready to face the next wrestler. These were tough athletes, not yet known to the world of professional wrestling but wrestlers who would fight at the drop of a hat. Among the names I called were Christian Cage, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Rhino, Test, Christopher Daniels, as I worked my way through every wrestler in the training camp.

I just wanted to see how tough this “Bull in the Ring” Kurt Angle was?

Dory Funk Jr. - Professional Wrestling Coach of the Funking Conservatory and proud to say coach of World Champion, Kurt Angle.



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