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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
Kurt Angle Arrested on Eve of TNA PPV (and then retains his title, anyway)
August 15, 2009 / Updated Evening of August 16 (Update at BOTTOM OF PAGE)

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com

 

Pittsburgh media outlets are reporting that Kurt Angle has been arrested on multiple charges, and is currently being held in jail, awaiting arraignment. For the latest local reporting, here is a link to WPXI's coverage of the story, if you're interested in following along with all breaking developments.
 
The story goes that authorities arrived at Angle's house on Saturday morning to serve him with a restraining order

obtained by his girlfriend (unnamed in press reports, but presumed by all to be TNA co-worker Rhaka Khan). Then, later in the morning, the girlfriend called police and alleged that Angle had taken her cellphone (to delete possibly-incriminating pictures illustrating Angle's abuse against her) and was stalking her at a nearby Starbucks.
 
Authorities came to the scene and did find Angle circling the establishment. Once pulled over, Angle was detained because of a recent DUI charge, which meant he shouldn't be driving.
 
Things got worse once the cops searched Angle's vehicle and found syringes and controlled substances (including HGH). Angle claimed to have a legitimate prescription for the drugs, but was none the less charged with possession, along with a charge for harrassment and one for driving with a suspended license.
 
At the time of this writing, Angle's in jail, and the exact timetable for his arraignment/bail is unclear.
 
Making this particularly newsworthy for wrestling fans is the fact that Angle is scheduled to headline tomorrow night's TNA Hard Justice PPV, defending his TNA Title in a three-way match against Sting and Matt Morgan.

Though indications are TNA expects Angle to be able to make it to Orlando in time, that's not necessarily a sure thing. And at best, Angle's stability and reliability are once again ebbing to distressing levels, making any decision to retain Angle as the champion and identity of TNA a difficult (if not dubious) one.
 
Complicating that issue is the fact that TNA had clearly positioned Angle for a long-term run as champ, as witnessed by tomorrow's PPV title match. Morgan's inclusion is his first baby step towards anything resembling championship legitimacy and is there more as a prop for stoytelling purposes related to Angle's Main Event Mafia; meanwhile, this was to be Sting's last real title shot before seguing into a different story that would set up his likely retirement/departure from TNA in October. This match tomorrow night was designed to cement Angle as champ (after winning the belt in June), a spot most expected him to maintain until TNA manages to build up Bobby Lashley as his next real serious challenger (a project that will take longer than most, due to Lashley's MMA schedule).
 
In short, Angle's arrest causes a shit-ton of headaches for TNA. But they are headaches TNA partially caused themselves. I wish I could say there was anything shocking or out-of-character about Angle being arrested, but can you really be surprised by anything a guy like Angle (divorced by his wife, a recent DUI, and widely known to be -- shall we say -- a prolific self-medicator in a company with no drug policy) does? There's nothing new or stunning here, except perhaps for the cavalier-ness to have syringes and drugs in your vehicle rather than sensibly keeping that shit at home and under wraps. Other than that, the only thing that really counts as "news" here is the timing of the whole thing, as this comes on the eve of a PPV.
 
And even with all this falling under the "less-than-shocking" category, TNA has gone to great lengths to build the company around Angle. Some reports even indicate they've gone to the extent of strong-arming Jeff Jarrett into selling his remaining ownership stake in the company, so that when he returns, it would be merely as a wrestler and not in any position of power (due to demands made by Angle during their little political tussle). I wasn't entirely clear on why it seemed the majority of the company sided with Angle in that power struggle or thought HE was the guy occupying the moral high ground or whatever... it seemed to be a tremendously short-sighted view to take, at least, and willfully ignorant of the longer-term track records of the two men involved.
 
Now, TNA has to lie down in the bed they've made. Granted, Angle's gone and soiled the sheets, but it's not like TNA didn't know they were in business with a (metaphorical) bed-wetter, here. How they deal with this situation of Art vs. Artist or Man vs. Performer or however you want to couch it will be very interesting. There remain very few as good as the job of pro wrestling as Kurt Angle, and that's undeniable and makes him a valuable asset; but there just might be mitigating factors that ultimately make him more of a liability.
 
We shall see if TNA uses this latest incident as an excuse to reassess Angle's value (much as WWE was forced to almost exactly 3 years ago), or if this gets swept under the rug in favor of doing business as usual. Maybe we'll get some hint of that as soon as tomorrow night's PPV, which I'm sure I'll cover in as much depth as it deserves here at OO next week.
 
See you then, kids...

EVENING UPDATE (August 15)

Kurt Angle has made bail in Pittsburgh, and still hopes to make it to Orlando to perform at TNA's Hard Justice PPV on Sunday (though it goes without saying that what he'll be asked to do in said performance is still very much up in the air at this point).
 
Ironically, it's not the harassment or drug possession charges that might prevent Angle from traveling... it's the fact that he was driving on a suspended license following DUI charges. The other offenses were first time deals; the other essentially falls under the same general category as "violating parole" (though it is complicated by the additional charges, as well). A hard-ball-playing district attorney could conceivably curtail Angle's travel privliges, though it's not thought this situation will escalate to that point.
 
Then again, who knows? Just 24 hours ago, we thought Kurt Angle was keeping his Batshit Crazy in check enough that he'd continue on wih the expected TNA Title win tomorrow and keep on marching till his Money Match against Lashely... so who knows what'll transpire between now and 24 hours from now?
 
Also, just to be a dick, I'd like to "report" that Wade F. Keller, who writes at approximately a 7th-grade-level and comes off as a giant weenis any time he attempts "humor" or "personality" but still fashions himself as a True Wrestling Journalist because he has "sources" and "18 hours of free time per day because he has no life" is reporting on what TMZ is reporting about Kurt Angle. Repeatedly. At least thrice so far, he's done an update with a headline about what TMZ is saying about Angle.
 
Let me repeat: TMZ (which isn't news by any definition, and also isn't even "entertainment" to anybody with half a brain) is talking about Kurt Angle. "Wrestling Journalist" Wade Keller is "reporting" that TMZ is talking about Kurt Angle. Say what you will about my sporadic update schedule and whatnot, people, but at least grant that I'm honest with you about what this entire enterprise of "talking about wrestling on the internet" amounts to (i.e. NOT journalism) and my own place in it. Unlike certain others who just can't seem to go a week without making cosmic asses of themselves.
 
End rant.
 
I'll probably do one more update to this NEWSFLASH page when TNA decides what it's gonna do at the PPV, and then save the rest for a full OO column next week. So keep checking back, and I'll see you then, kids....
 
SUNDAY UPDATE (Post-PPV, Aug. 16)
 
Not only did Kurt Angle appear as scheduled at the TNA Hard Justice PPV, he successfully defended his TNA Title (as originally planned) and the company made absolutely no acknowledgement of Angle's legal troubles.
 
Though this could simply be a case of TNA going through with original plans for the PPV due to the startling suddenness of Angle's arrest (and they still intend to figure something out to relieve Angle of his duties at this coming week's TV tapings), this is not exactly the sort of news I expected to be reporting here tonight. I mean: "innocent until proven guilty" and all, but let's also not be naive.
 
Angle -- through his sleazeball attorney -- is claiming complete innocence on all charges brought against him yesterday. Why the mess with his girlfriend? He's using the "oh dat crazy bitch couldn't handle it when I kicked her to the curb" defense. Even though that fails to explain why SHE got the restraining order against HIM. Why the drug possession charges? He's using the old "I have a prescription" defense. Even though that doesn't explain why any normal sane person would have NEEDLES AND SYRINGES IN HIS CAR, instead of at home and in a medicine cabinet where they might reasonably be used by a non-batshit-crazy self-medicator.
 
Keep in mind that this is the same Kurt Angle (and probably the same attorney) who used the following defense in his DUI trial: "Yes, judge, I was wasted when the officers got to my house, as I was pounding beer and gobbling vicodins, as I often do at home. But I was perfectly sober 20 minutes earlier when I was spotted driving around recklessly while pulling out of a bar parking lot, and YOU CAN'T PROVE OTHERWISE, NEENER NEENER NEENER!"....
 
A classic case of paying some douchebag enough to exploit every loophole in the Letter of the Law while completely ignoring the Spirit of the Law, and who knows if that'll repeat here again with Angle's latest display of The Crazy? But it sure looks like TNA is banking on Angle somehow getting off scot-free at this point, at least as far as court proceedings go...
 
As far as Angle's actual wellness goes? That's quite possibly another matter. If you don't want to take my vague notions about Angle's track record to heart, then just know that no less than Jim Ross -- the man who scouted and signed Angle to a contract and an actual associate of his -- blogged about Angle today, and basically implored him to step away from wrestling and get himself healthy. They weren't the words of somebody who gave a shit about what "Kurt Angle, Defendent" has to deal with; they were the words of somebody who was expressing concerns about "Kurt Angle, Human Being."
 
Here's hoping tonight's PPV isn't an indication that TNA is willfully blind to that distinction, and that -- at some level -- they aren't half as worried about what charges Angle may be able to weasel out of as they are about what actions Angle actually took to even be brought up on those charges, and what those actions may say about his stability and health.
 
Angle is scheduled for a court appearance on Tuesday in Pittsburgh, but should still be present for Monday's TNA TV tapings in Orlando (though he'd probably miss Tuesday's; conveniently enough, TNA is returning to its old tapings schedule this month, which means that Angle would only miss one taping/one episode of Impact, which could easily be covered with backstage post-tapes inserted into the August 27 show). So I guess I'll just leave my pontificating at this for now, and await TNA's next play before going further.
 
Be sure to keep checking back here for the latest, as I'll cover the newest Angle developments and have lots more in a full OO Column on Wednesday or Thursday. See you then, kids...


  
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E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

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Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

 

 


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