Gable Steveson confirmed in an interview with Sports Illustrated on Monday that he's heading to WrestleMania 38 next week in Texas. Steveson, an Olympic gold medalist, just won his second NCAA National Championship this past Saturday then immediately indicated he would be retiring from the sport of amateur wrestling. All signs now point to his WWE career, given that he was the first collegiate athlete to sign with WWE's Next in Line (NIL) program last year and has technically been on the Raw roster ever since last year's WWE Draft. He has yet to wrestle a match, though he was undergoing training during his final year at the University of Minnesota.
"I plan on going to WrestleMania," Steveson said. "That's the first time WWE fans will see me and what I'm about. I'm going to put my heart out there."
Dave Meltzer also noted on the latest Wrestling Observer Radio that WWE plans on hitting the ground running with Steveson on the Red Brand in the near future — "I'm pretty sure that some clips of the [NCAA] tournament will be on Raw tomorrow night because he's going to be on the Raw brand as a regular very, very soon... and with a push."
Steveson enters the WWE with an athletic resume comparable to Kurt Angle, who also won two National Championships during his collegiate career and an Olympic gold medal. His status as an Olympic gold medalist became a staple of Angle's wrestling persona, leading to six world championships during his run with WWE.
"It's fine. I don't mind the pressure," Steveson said on After The Bell last year regarding that comparison. "People compare me to Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar, it's actually really cool. Kurt Angle is a legend. They're both Hall of Famers at the end of the day. To be compared to those guys is something crazy. It's good and bad. Kurt won a gold medal and I won a gold medal. The difference is, he had a broken neck and I won it in the last one second. My gold medal doesn't exist because if I don't have a broken neck, it's gone.
"The chip is always going to be there because people surround that pressure that I like around me to be a WWE superstar and live up to that hype," he added. "That Kurt Angle hype is really good and it drives me to be better than he is. If I don't reach that point, I know I tried and did my best. At the end of the day, my goal is to be the best version of Gable, not Kurt Angle, not Brock Lesnar. Even with their support and their look, I want to be the person I want to be."0comments