Gable Steveson, Olympic wrestling gold medalist, signs multiyear deal with WWE

11:57 p.m. ET

  • Mike CoppingerESPN

Gable Steveson, the heavyweight freestyle wrestler who gained a gold medal on the Tokyo Olympics final month, has signed a multi-year deal with WWE, Steveson informed ESPN.

The 21-year-old signed an NIL deal with WWE that permits him to graduate from the University of Minnesota for his senior 12 months and defend the Division I nationwide heavyweight championship. WWE will arrange a distant coaching facility for Steveson close to campus the place he’ll be taught the intricacies of working within the ring with WWE coaches.

He additionally has entry to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, the place his brother Bobby Steveson is at the moment coaching. After Gable Steveson graduated in May, his multi-year expertise contract begins with WWE; he might be a full-time performer with the corporate (however can even seem on WWE packages in the course of the college 12 months).

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“I’ve been with WWE since I used to be a child,” stated Steveson, the primary WWE gold medalist since Kurt Angle. “I’ve been into guys like Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman for a very long time. Growing up entertainer on the wrestling mat, it was simply the fitting alternative.”

The 6-foot-1,265-pound Steveson had discussions with the UFC and likewise thought-about pursuing a profession within the NFL; he was a scorching commodity after profitable the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, a last-minute win over Geno Petriashvili, which he celebrated with a backflip.

Sources informed ESPN’s Marc Raimondi that the UFC needed Steveson to achieve expertise within the native MMA scene earlier than probably getting him onto Dana White’s Contender Series to compete for a contract. The system would have been much like the UFC’s with former NFL All-Pro Greg Hardy. But Steveson stated, “We by no means talked about it, so I don’t know.”

“We noticed all of his bodily skills earlier than and in the course of the Olympics,” stated Nick Khan, WWE President and Chief Revenue Officer. “We additionally noticed that Gable has as a lot charisma as potential. Marketability and talent are crucial to each of us.”

“This is simply the beginning line, not the end line. So our funding is predicated on how a lot we take into consideration Gable now and the way a lot larger we expect he can get.”

WWE has a protracted historical past of turning prime freestyle wrestlers into foremost occasion superstars. Angle gained a gold medal on the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and continued that long-term success as each a WWE champion and a headline act. Lesnar, who like Steveson gained the nationwide championship on the University of Minnesota, is at the moment underneath contract with WWE, the place he’s thought-about one of many firm’s largest stars.

Steveson calls the previous UFC heavyweight champion a “nice mentor to me” and envisions a WrestleMania match in opposition to Lesnar within the not too distant future.

“Since I can be taught to take bumps up and with the wrestling background I’ve proper now, I believe I can adapt to something in a short time,” stated Steveson. “I believe with the charisma and confidence and perspective that I carry to the wrestling mat it carries over to the WWE in a short time and I really feel like I … get on the large display and have a very good one Can play a task and is aware of what to do completely. “

In the meantime, Steveson will deal with the school wrestling mat, which he’ll try and defend his nationwide championships on as he completes his research. He grew up in Apple Valley, Minnesota and watched Paul “Triple H” Levesque spit water into the air at WrestleMania as a member of D-Generation X. Now he’ll be taught the craft of a WWE Superstar, and that very same man might be an integral a part of his growth.

“We have been impressed by Gable lengthy earlier than he grew to become US Olympic Champion,” stated Levesque, WWE EVP of Global Talent Strategy and Development. “He has all of the instruments to be a era expertise: a world-class athlete with measurement, velocity, dedication – and the power to captivate audiences with his unimaginable charisma.

“The introduction of NIL permits us to create a extra direct path from school to WWE, which is able to profit each athletes and the WWE universe, as Gable might be immediately current with our firm as he works in direction of his diploma make and defend his nationwide championship. The way forward for WWE seems to be shiny for him. “

Steveson stated his breakthrough may “come ahead of you assume”.

And what for this vital ending transfer?

“I believe I’ve one on my thoughts,” he stated. “… It’s loopy how lengthy I observe them and now I’ve bought to the purpose the place I’ll go forward of WrestleManias and SummerSlams and other people will do my signature look when I’m ‘I’m an previous man too . “

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