Olympic Gold medalist and new WWE signee Gable Steveson recently joined Ariel Helwani for an episode of The MMA Hour. During the interview, he discusses signing with the WWE and Minnesota’s reaction to his decision. He also addresses whether he got any pushback from the university.
“I think that was a fairly easy task. Minnesota signed off pretty quick on it,” stated Steveson. “Since it’s sports entertainment, it’s not like I’m going out there with the NFL and doing college football. You can’t do that. So, I think the way the NCAA rule worked I was able to work it that I can make an on-stage appearance against whoever, and wrestle and duel the next day, if I got back in time. So, my first obligation is to compete at Minnesota, but, you know, I got two big obligations right now. But first, I got to wrestle at Minnesota. And who knows when I will make my start, but I will be onstage [with WWE].”
Steveson also discusses how long he has known he wanted to go back to Minnesota and win another national title. He said he has known for a few weeks and reveals when talks with the WWE got serious.
“The going back to school thing came way before the Olympic games,” says Steveson. “I wanted to go back and win a national title. Adding that all with the WWE it came really quick because they allowed me to come back. And I was like ‘why wouldn’t I wrestle one more year and go onstage with WWE.’ So, it was a win-win and I had to take the opportunity.”
Helwani asks Steveson if he had signed all the way back when he was on NXT last year. Steveson said no, and revealed he was actually trying to get traction with the WWE back then. He then shared when negotiations got serious between both parties.
“I had nothing back then,” answers Steveson. “That was just me saying I wanted to be in the WWE. That was just me putting out tweets trying to gain traction. But after the Olympics that’s when it turned serious with real talks, business talks. When I had talked to [Helwani] before then I had already kind of figured where I was going to go.”
Steveson then reveals whether the WWE had made any effort to get him to join the company immediately without any NIL. He shares that he told them he wanted to go back to school, and that they were accepting of that immediately.
“That actually never came up,” replies Steveson. “I told them I wanted to go back and finish school and their number one priority was ‘You can do that.’ And so, I was like ‘let’s do a Name, Image, and Likeness deal’ because that came out in July. So, I told them that. Vince [McMahon], Nick Khan, and Triple H all said ‘Go ahead and win a national title. Regardless, everything will still be in place for you. We’ll do this, this, and this for you. You go back and get your degree and we’ll see you after that.’ So part of my deal is I can go onstage during my school year time, so that’s pretty cool too.”
Steveson will be joining his brother in the WWE, as Bobbby Steveson is currently training at the WWE’s Performance Center. He reveals that his brother signed a few weeks ago and is a little introverted, but that thinks he could be a star.
“[My brother] is older, he’s 25,” shares Steveson. “[The WWE] just signed him a few weeks ago. He likes it a lot down there. He’s getting a hang of it. Bobby’s not a really big talker, he’s not a really big actor type. So, he’s kind of introverted. So, he’s got to bring out another side of him. I think he’s got it in him, we’ll see how he does at the NXT level. It’s just a matter of how he’s going to do it. He’s going to work hard and I think he has the tools to be the net star too.”
Steveson goes on to say his brother never even thought of joining the WWE until a year ago.
“We actually never talked about it,” reflected Steveson. “He never really mentioned WWE until probably last year he wanted to get into. It’s all his decision. I think it was actually a great decision. He was randomly like ‘I want to try it out. I’m not wresting with the [Minnesota Golden] Gophers anymore, I want to go try it out.’ So he got a hold of Heyman and Triple H, and those guys. And now he’s getting a shot at the Performance Center. But it is cool that we’re both in the business.”
Helwani then mentioned he wants to send his best to Triple H following his heart surgery last week. Steveson quickly joins and says Triple H has been great to him through the whole process.
“Oh my god, yeah, that’s sad,” replies Steveson. “Triple H, he’s been there for me since my freshman year of college. That’s my dog, literally. He’s been there since my freshman year of college, I met him backstage. And since then he’s stayed in contact and never left. So, it was sad hearing he had that type of health issue. I saw his wife, Stephanie McMahon, a couple of days ago at Madison Square Garden and I gave her my couple of words. I hope he’s getting better quick, for real.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.