Reigning Olympic gold medalist & NCAA champion wrestler and soon-to-be WWE Superstar Gable Steveson was a guest on The MMA Hour over on our sister site MMA Fighting this afternoon (Mar. 23).
Steveson confirmed to Ariel Helwani that he will be at WrestleMania next week (he wouldn’t speak about any plans, but indicated it will be for more than just a crowd shot: “I’m gonna be there with a capital ‘THERE’”), and that he’s bypassing NXT and will be debuting on Raw next month.
“My exact start date is in the middle of April. So, they’re letting me finish school, they’re letting me do my thing. I’m planning on getting on TV and getting in the ring on TV really, really soon.”
The 21 year old from the University of Minnesota repeatedly said he’s leaving plans for his WWE career in the hands of creative, and will work hard to make the best of what he’s given. If he had his druthers, though, it sounds like he’d start off as a babyface before eventually turning heel.
“Good [guy] that goes to bad. Start off good, make the fans love you, then turn into a bad guy — kind of like Roman Reigns did.”
Steveson didn’t get too specific about his preparation for WWE. He’s been in touch with his brother Bobby, who’s in NXT as Damon Kemp, and said he speaks often with Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, Triple H, and company President Nick Khan. When Helwani asked about Lesnar contacting him after he won the NCAA title again last weekend, Gable talked about preparing for microphone work in WWE. It does sound like he’s not planning on doing a lot of bragging, so it does seem he’s getting ready to play a face:
“He said I had a really good interview, which I was proud to hear. I’ve been working on my talking skills, and making sure that I can take things off of me and put it on other people, like my success. I would hate to go on ESPN interview, or this type interview, and say that I’m the best, I’m the greatest American heavyweight to ever wrestle. I would rather have another person do that instead of me...”
He’s a big Reigns fan, and has been studying Roman’s current run. Steveson talked about the counsel he gets from the Tribal Chief’s counselor:
“Just been watching how people talk. I like how Roman Reigns talks on Friday Night SmackDown. He’s so productive, he’s strong with his words, he’s just a one of a kind spokesperson. I look at a lot of interviews online, how celebrities talk and how they take things off of them and put it on people to congratulate their self, but while making sure everyone gets the love put on them too. It has been a hard thing, but I think I’m doing really good at it.
“Heyman — he’s a wizard. There was times when he would tell me certain things to spin to make an attraction bigger than it should be. He’s just so smart, and he’s literally a genius at what he does. If you see him with Brock or Roman Reigns, he’s just perfect. Like his character is just crazy amazing.”
Beyond the next few months, Steveson isn’t making any concrete plans, or ruling anything out. He said he could return to the Olympics in 2024 or even 2028, since he’ll still won’t have turned 30 by those Games. He’s also still planning for a possible UFC career down the road, or “taking the Brock route,” as he calls it.
We’ll see how his first few months in WWE affect his plans. Check out Steveson entire chat with Helwani on The MMA Hour here.