WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle has discussed WWE no longer scouting independent wrestlers and choosing to focus on bigger, younger athletes.
Angle notably won a gold medal for freestyle wrestling during the 1996 Summer Olympics (with a broken freaking neck). He was offered a WWE contract shortly after, before eventually joining the company in 1998.
Speaking with Wrestling Inc, Angle acknowledged his past when addressing WWE moving away from hiring independent stars. Arguing that the independent scene is great for character development, Angle said:
“I would tread very lightly on that because there are a lot of incredible independent wrestlers. Wrestlers that never did any real sport but they’re very good at their craft, and I would like to see the percentage. Fortunately, for me, I was a real athlete and won a gold medal at the Olympics.
“These kids that are trained to be pro wrestlers and working at the independent shows, they’re doing a lot of the work and they’re crafting their skills and their character. I don’t know how much character development occurs down at NXT, but I think a lot of character development occurs in independent shows.”