All signs pointed to NCAA champion and Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson becoming a fixture on WWE television after WrestleMania 38. When that didn’t happen, we first heard the amateur wrestling legend was headed back to the University of Minnesota for his final year of eligibility. Then there was a report the company had soured on the marquee signing of their new NIL program, and his future as a sports entertainer was in doubt.
The latest from ESPN changes the narrative on Steveson.
Prior to his epic win at the Tokyo Games last year, the now-22 year old was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome. WPW is a rare congenital heart defect that causes a rapid, irregular heartbeat. Steveson underwent an ablation — a minimally invasive surgical procedure which scars the inside of the heart with heat or cold, blocking or breaking up electrical signals which cause irregular heart rhythms — with WWE’s medical team guiding him through the process. That included referring him to top cardiologists. The process took months, delaying the start of his full-time pro wrestling training.
But now he’s at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, and raring to go. He told ESPN:
“We’re just excited to get this journey started, it’s been a long road to get to this point... I feel that I’m capable of being in that top spot and I feel that I’m capable of handling that position in the right way.
“I’m a competitor, I’m an entertainer. I can do things that a lot of other big guys can’t. I look forward to putting that on display and sooner or later, taking over that top spot and being the guy that people want to see.”
Steveson didn’t seem to quite as comfortable during his initial WWE appearances as the performers he’s most often compared to were, but expecting him to make an immediate Kurt Angle or Brock Lesnar-like splash was never fair. It’s still easy to see why Triple H & team remain invested in the 6’ 1”, 265 pound wold class athlete.
WWE’s Chief Content Officer spoke to ESPN for their story, saying:
“We’re glad to see that Gable is healthy and training full time at our Performance Center in Orlando. WWE takes pride in our best-in-class medical team which guided Gable through this process to ensure that he has a long, healthy career with WWE.”
The report doesn’t mention if WWE still plans on fast-tracking Steveson to Raw or SmackDown, or if he could join his older brother Bobby (aka Damon Kemp) in NXT first. The good news is he’s healthy. We’ll see where his journey takes him from here.