WWE President & Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan says WWE sees major potential in Olympic gold medalist wrestler Gable Steveson.
As noted last week, WWE announced that Steveson has signed a unique multi-year contract with the company, their first-ever NCAA NIL (name, image, likeness) deal for WWE. You can click here for backstage details on the contract, when it will officially begin, how WWE will accomodate Gable as he finishes college at the University of Minnesota, and more.
Khan spoke with Mike Coppinger of ESPN and commented on Gable’s charisma.
“We all saw his physical ability prior to and at the Olympics,” Khan said. “What we also saw was that Gable has as much charisma as he does ability. Marketability and ability are both of great importance to us. This is just the starting line and nowhere close to the finish line. So our investment is based on how much we think of Gable now and how much bigger we think he can become.”
Gable, who will join his brother Bobby Steveson in the company, is a longtime pro wrestling fan, and has often talked about how his mentors include Paul Heyman and University of Minnesota alumni Brock Lesnar. He noted to ESPN that Lesnar that is a “great mentor” to him, and said signing with WWE felt like the right choice.
“I’ve been on WWE since I was really young,” Gable said. “I was on guys like Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman for a very long time. So growing up watching them, me being an entertainer on the wrestling mat, it just felt like it was the right choice.”
Regarding Lesnar, Gable look envisioned a WrestleMania match between the two in the not-too-distant future. He believes he can adapt to WWE really quick.
“Being able to learn how to take bumps and with the wrestling background I have right now, I think I can adapt to all of it really quick,” Steveson said. “I think with the charisma and the confidence and the attitude that I bring to the wrestling mat, it will translate over to the WWE really fast, and I feel that I can … go on screen and have a good role and know what to do perfectly.”
WWE Executive Vice President of Global Talent Strategy & Development Triple H spoke with ESPN and said Gable has all the tools to be a top Superstar. He also commented on the company’s first-ever NCAA NIL deal. Triple H said the future is bright for Gable.
“Gable impressed us well before he became a U.S. Olympic gold medalist,” Triple H said. “He has all the tools to be a generational talent: a world-class athlete with size, speed, determination — and the ability to captivate an audience with his incredible charisma. The introduction of NIL allows us to create a more direct path from college to WWE, a benefit to athletes as well as the WWE universe, as Gable will have an immediate presence with our company while working towards earning his degree and defending his national championship. The future is bright for him in WWE.”
Steveson believes his breakthrough moment in WWE “might come sooner than you think.” He also said he has a finishing move in mind.
“I think I got one [finishing move] in mind,” Gable said. ” … It’s crazy how long I’ve been following them and now I’ve reached that point where I’m going to be walking out in front of WrestleManias and SummerSlams, and people are going to do my signature look when I’m an old man, too.”