When NFL Super Bowl MVPs are asked after the big game where they’re going, they peer into the camera from the field and say, “I’m going to Disney World.”
When Team USA wrestler Gable Steveson won an Olympic gold medal, no need to ask. He’s going to SummerSlam.
Stevson, a longtime WWE fan, is an invited guest of WWE to the company’s second biggest show of the year.
WWE SummerSlam with Steveson ringside is Saturday, Aug. 21 live on Peacock (U.S.) and WWE Network (elsewhere) from Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL Las Vegas Raiders.
Speaking of the NFL, that’s one of several options for the highly decorated athlete and backflip artist. The Buffalo Bills already expressed interest in the agile 6-foot, 260-pound big man who won Olympic gold and an NCAA championship in 2021.
After winning an NCAA Division I title in the heavyweight division for the University of Minnesota, WWE invited Steveson to sit ringside for NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver extravaganza (during WrestleMania Week) on Peacock in April from the Capitol Wrestling Center at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando.
He is seated next to WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon.
Ironically, newcomers signed by WWE are sent to the WWE Performance Center for pro wrestling and all-around sports entertainment training. Amateur wrestling standout Bobby Steveson, Gable’s older brother, is already training at the WWE Performance Center. So is Bronson Rechsteiner, son of Rick Steiner of the famous Steiner Brothers tag team. The Steiners, Rick and Scott, transitioned very successfully from University of Michigan wrestling to the pro style. Steiner Brothers. Steveson Brothers.
Gable Steveson also attended WrestleMania both nights in Tampa at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Steveson is a big WWE fan, and WWE is a big fan of him, hoping to sign him to a contract.
Becoming a WWE Superstar is a dream of Steveson, who is a “Paul Heyman Guy,” ala WWE Universal Champ Roman Reigns and former WWE Champ Brock Lesnar, a fellow University of Minnesota wrestling standout. A journey, ala one of his all-time favorites, “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson, from college sport to pro wrestling to movies and TV, is a thought. “Do you smell what The Gable is cooking?”
Here is my audio interview with Gable Steveson as he discusses WWE SummerSlam, the Olympics, winning the gold medal, Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, The Rock, Kurt Angle, UFC, Jake Hager, AEW, University of Minnesota, Bobby Steveson, WWE Performance Center, Sanford MMA and more.
After realizing one dream, winning Olympic gold in dramatic fashion, congratulations and notes to him via his Twitter account and other read like a Who’s Who, including Paul “Triple H” Levesque, Ric Flair, Lesnar and fellow Olympic gold medalist and pro wrestling legend Kurt Angle.
WWE Champ Bobby Lashley, who split time competing for Bellator MMA and wrestling professionally for Impact Wrestling, wants Steveson to join “The Hurt Business” with he and MVP. WWE Superstar Seth Rollins offered to train Steveson in the art of professional wrestling.
UFC standout Daniel Cormier, a big pro wrestling fan, too, said he could see Steveson following in the footsteps of Lesnar, first achieving success in WWE and then transitioning to UFC.
WWE Superstar Matt Riddle, who has legit MMA experience, said the reverse. Riddle told me he thinks Steveson should go MMA first, as he did, and then partake in pro wrestling.
Steveson said splitting time between pro wrestling and MMA, like Lashley and Lesnar, is an option he will consider as well. MMA bouts are less frequent than pro wrestling shows, but time is needed to train for a fight.
“That is a big option, and I think I can pull it off,” Steveson said. “It’s gonna take a lot of work, a lot of effort, but I feel like I got it in me to do it…We’ll see if that road comes about and just take it one day at a time. That’s how I like to do it.”
Steveson spoke to UFC President Dana White and Levesque. Bellator and PFL MMA are more options. He also said he has not spoken to AEW, but former University of Oklahoma All American wrestler, Bellator MMA fighter and AEW star Jake Hager challenged him to a takedown challenge.
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Hager via Twitter, “I bet $20,000 that Gable Steveson could not take me down. Any takers?”
Steveson responded: “If u wanna lose 20k in 5 seconds, then let’s go.”
Going for double gold in the Olympics in 2024 is also on the table.
Whatever path he chooses to start, attaining his college degree is something Steveson wants to finish, whether he is wrestling for the University of Minnesota or going pro.
For now, Steveson is gearing for SummerSlam, as a fan, cheering for WWE Universal Champ and “Paul Heyman Guy” Roman Reigns, who battles John Cena in the main event.
John Cena, they can see you.
NOTE: Inspiring others, Gable Steveson is now the flag bearer of the phrase: “Don’t ever give up.”
After dominating the Olympic competition, Steveson trailed 8-5 with 11 seconds remaining in the gold medal match, and then this happened.
NOTED: Steveson is consulting with sports agent David Martin, who is integral in the development of Sanford MMA, a top tier, all-purpose training facility in (South Florida) Deerfield Beach. Martin leads the Sanford MMA team, which includes standout coaches Henri Hooft and Greg Jones, who is wrestling royalty on the amateur level. The WWE Performance Center is in Orlando, 200 miles (3-hour drive) north of Deerfield Beach.
Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021
Peacock (U.S.) and WWE Network (elsewhere)
Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas
My Pro Wrestling and MMA Talk on Web & Social Media
YouTube: jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel)