Sep. 14—Gable Steveson confirmed once more Monday why WWE coveted the Gophers heavyweight to hitch their steady of professional wrestlers.
Final week, Steveson signed a reputation picture and likeness cope with World Wrestling Leisure, and the previous Apple Valley Excessive Faculty star will come again for one ultimate collegiate wrestling season this winter. On Monday, Steveson provided charisma and meaty soundbites — components WWE will love as soon as he joins the group full time subsequent spring.
Requested at a information convention if he’s entertaining any stage names as soon as he turns professional, he spoke slowly and enunciated into the microphone: “Gable. Steveson.”
The wrestling gold medalist within the Summer time Olympics was provided the suggestion of a moniker involving his trademark backflip, which he uncorked after his last-second takedown of Georgian Geno Petriashvili to win all of it within the 125-kg division in Tokyo in August.
“Proper now, I am Gable Steveson,” he mentioned. “I hope to maintain that title ceaselessly.”
Given his upcoming swan tune in NCAA wrestling, Steveson was requested if he is trying to rekindle any “rivalries,” maybe with Michigan’s Mason Parris. He paused, then mentioned: “Yeah, I suppose so. … Is it a rivalry?”
Zing. Steveson was undefeated in NCAA matches final season and plans to run it again with a second consecutive nationwide championship. For WWE, Steveson additionally will practice domestically and make TV appearances elsewhere over the following few months, however his remark about the place his priorities relaxation this winter wasn’t almost as spicy. U wrestling followers, nonetheless, will prefer it.
“Gopher tasks are No. 1; that’s what we talked about first with the WWE,” Steveson mentioned. “Having the ability to compete right here with my final go. I do not owe Minnesota myself, however I really feel like I owe all of the followers that present up and need to watch me and sellout crowds. That’s what I really feel like I owe again to the folks.”
The showman decided to return to Minnesota “a very long time in the past” however admitted he leaned into the desire he/will not he storyline. “I needed to construct the anticipation, I needed to construct a draw of individuals pondering I used to be going to depart,” Steveson mentioned with a smirk. (The Pioneer Press reported final spring that Steveson was coming again for the 2021-22 season.)
However on the supposed drama circulating a few rift between him and UFC’s Dana White? Nicely, Steveson rapidly downplayed that.
“There was no battle with me and Dana White,” Steveson mentioned. “Individuals got here out in articles saying I ditched him in Vegas once I was really in (Las) Vegas to go see WWE. You possibly can’t see two main companies in at some point. I landed in Vegas and I had obligations I needed to do with them, so me and Dana had been by no means on a nasty foot. I hope we cross paths quickly, and that point will come.”
ESPN reported final week UFC wished Steveson to first be a part of a regional MMA coaching spot earlier than probably bringing him onto White’s Contender Collection, the place Steveson might compete for a contract. However Steveson mentioned within the ESPN story, “We by no means talked about that, so I’ve no clue.”
Steveson mentioned Monday the proposition to play soccer for the Gophers wasn’t an attention-grabbing ploy. “100%,” Steveson mentioned on whether or not it was an actual risk. “I really went to soccer observe two occasions. I used to be watching the (defensive) line as a result of that was my place that I used to be going to play. I discovered all of the methods and stuff.”
However Steveson mentioned he was being pulled in too many instructions to make a aspect undertaking on the soccer subject work out.
Steveson mentioned a few of the enterprise points of his new life, like how the WWE deal took weeks to finish (as a substitute of a day), and the way he needed to study the greenback figures on his NIL deal wasn’t what he was going to take residence as a result of taxes. “I am like, ‘Wait, what?’ ” Steveson mentioned.
Whereas that lack of awareness is naive, it did not appear to be a coincidence that Stevson wore a T-shirt Monday repping one other one among his NIL offers, Kill Cliff vitality drinks, in entrance of the cameras.
The largest showmanship bit Steveson had in his 15-minute media session was a few connection to former Gophers heavyweight and present WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar. The Wrestling Observer Publication mentioned there have been discussions about Lesnar wrestling Steveson in a “passing-of-the-torch-type of second.”
Requested about entering into the ring with Lesnar, Steveson’s eyes grew broad as he slowly appeared across the room of journalists on the U campus.
Steveson has admired Lesnar, a former NCAA champion himself, for a few years. Throughout Seveson’s senior 12 months of highschool, Lesnar invited the genuinely wide-eyed child to Goal Heart to observe WWE.
“Ever since then, he is simply been a determine that I can discuss to,” Steveson mentioned. “An individual that factors me within the in the correct course.”