2020 Olympic Gold Medalist Gable Steveson joined the WWE After the Bell Podcast to talk about his decision to sign with the WWE after being a successful amateur wrestler in college and at the Olympics. The 21-year-old revealed that the key to him coming to WWE was that the company allowed him to sign WWE’s first-ever NCAA NIL (names, image, likeness) deal. This deal allows Steveson to defend his NCAA title at the University of Minnesota and finish his studies while becoming a member of the WWE.
“They allowed me to go back to school,” Steveson said. “If I would’ve signed with the UFC or tried to do the NFL, I would’ve had to leave. Leave an open book with the University of Minnesota that I couldn’t finish. I wanted to go back and win the national tournament again, I wanted to go back and wrestle in front of our fans because, last year, we couldn’t because of the COVID rules. The year before that, it got canceled too, so I wanted to go back and have that one last run with everybody seeing me. And the WWE helped me have the NIL so I could be with them, have on stage appearances but also wrestle my college season. And I’m a regular college student at the end of the day too.”
Adding to the obvious comparisons to collegiate wrestlers before him who made the transition to WWE, Steveson revealed he received an offer from the NFL just like Brock Lesnar did without having any experience playing football. The 21-year-old spoke about not ever playing a down of football in his life, but did receive offers because of his athleticism.
“It was actually a realistic option because there was an agent that was in contact with me, having teams message me about him and what position I would play,” Steveson said. “It was actually a real thing, but like I said, I would have to give up my college to go straight there. And I wanted to have that last run with Minnesota. I’ve never played football in my life. It was like a realistic thing. I never played a down in my life but they just saw pure athleticism and someone they could build off of. I thought about it a lot, but like I said, the easiest path was to take this one and do it with school too.”
Steveson was drafted to Monday Night RAW as the last pick in the WWE Draft but has yet to make his first appearance as a wrestler. The Olympic Gold Medalist said he’s ready for the WWE platform, and wants to be himself when he finally does make his debut.
“What’s going through my head is it’s just another day,” Steveson said. “We live for days that a lot of things are going on and we live for days that there’s a lot of people in the crowd. Especially with the bigger platform with WWE, I can be myself and bring that Olympic Gold Medalist style and collegiate style to a bigger stage. I’m just excited. I’m ready to go, and I’m ready to hammer things out and just be the best I can.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE After the Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.