WrestleShark.com recently caught up with former WWE $1,000,000 Tough Enough winner Daniel Puder to discuss his time in the company and plans for the future. Here are some of the highlights below.
The full interview, including his thoughts about the other Tough Enough contestants, training with Hardcore Holly, the infamous Kurt Angle shoot on Smackdown, his opinion of Al Snow as a trainer, his time in ROH and launching the MyLifeMyPower anti-bullying charity can be found here or by searching WrestleShark in the iTunes store.
Daniel Puder tries to make Kurt Angle tap out in an unscripted manner during a 2004 episode of SmackDown: “It’s funny, before that entire thing they made us run sprints to start the day, then they brought us in for a pasta eating contest. Two guys puked from it. I’m sitting there, and I knew they were gonna run us again…they had us in the ring doing an up down competition…they told the ref to get the blond guy out of the ring. Chris and I were both blond. So Kurt Angle wrestled him, broke three of his ribs, he rolled out and Kurt came over and said who wants a chance, I raised my hand as fast as I could. Just because, I knew that I wrestled, my old coach was Danny Shay…Danny only lost to him in the Olympic trials by a couple of points, so I knew I had trained with guys that are as good as him. I wasn’t really scared of him, plus I had the MMA stuff and I knew he wasn’t really into that as much. So I got in there, they said the rules were no striking…and I caught him in a key lock…he’s a strong guy. He’s freakin’ strong. So I caught him in a key lock, pulled him into a Kamura and tried to snap his arm off. It nearly worked, you guys can see how close it was…I’m guessing it was five seconds away from snapping.”
How Angle responded to the incident: “Oh Kurt was very very upset, [laughs] yeah he doesn’t like me too much for some reason. But he’s a wimp you know. If the guy was really tough he’d say like ‘OK lets have a fight’, you know. Even Dana White offered him $2-3 million dollars to fight me and he turned it down. I’m pretty sure you guys would fight me for $2-3 million dollars [laughs] that’s a lot of money.
“He yelled at me, he got pretty upset. I said ‘hey, I’m playing by the rules, they told me no striking’. I was being respectful, you know, because I was in his world. But you know, if he came to my gym and did something dumb, outside the rules, I probably would have broken him right there. I would have knocked him out, made him cry like a girl.”
On walking away from professional wrestling and starting MyLifeMyPower: “Well, I dunno if you guys have heard, but I launched MyLifeMyPower and created this whole program for kids and teens. I been travelling around the country speaking to you know, the National PTA, next week I’m in Miami with 250 chiefs of police, week after I’m in Reno with 1000 resource and police officers who work in schools nationwide. I looked at…I could be on TV wrestling in front of a couple million people everyweek, or I could be fighting on NBC or Showtime…but at the end of the day, what do I get done? What can I do that will leave my mark on society and our culture. I’d love to still wrestle…but I want to be able to change the culture of our youth.
“MyLifeMyPower.org is the charity, the main thing we’re going for is, we don’t tell kids no…we try to ask the right questions…our idea is not to tell kids “don’t do this, don’t do that”, I wanna encourage kids. A lot of kids are trained the wrong way or just not trained at all, and they just succumb to their environment…our program is goal setting, mentoring, leadership, character development, personal branding. We’ve had over 300 celebrities and pro-athletes film videos and PSA’s. We’re gonna start launching some on Youtube. We give schools different videos every week…It’s stuff kids don’t learn in School…A lot of kids you ask ‘hey what do you wanna do?’ and they go ‘oh I wanna be a vetenarian’ and I said ‘OK how are you going to get there?’. So we ask them the right questions, get the right answers and it drives them to become more successful.”