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Rude fans tarnish Gable Steveson’s pro wrestling debut

At WWE NXT Great American Bash, the Olympic gold medalist received a bad reception despite a good performance.

Author & Editor’s Note: This post did not intend to dismiss or minimize the sexual misconduct Gable Steveson was accused of in 2019. Instead, it posits those allegations were not the basis for the Great American Bash audience’s reaction to Steveson, and presents evidence for that position before criticizing the negative response to his performance at that show. There’s no such criticism for not cheering for Steveson because of the allegations, and regret any impression there was.

Having worked in public service and as someone who patronizes businesses, I’ve seen multiple instances of customers berating brand-new employees on their first day, and it’s disgusting. Mistreating and verbally abusing someone trying to do their best when they’re just starting is ignorant and mean.

Unfortunately, the folks of Cedar Park, Texas, didn’t get the memo about how it’s not cool to be discourteous to newbies as they lustily booed Gable Steveson during his debut against Baron Corbin at NXT’s Great American Bash.

Those gathered at the H-E-B Center cheered for Corbin as if he were a hometown hero while actively dumping on the Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA wrestling champion. Perhaps some of that disdain came from Steveson’s past legal issues. That, I could understand.

But considering they were chanting, “You’re not Angle,” referring to Kurt Angle, who was also an Olympic gold medalist, it’s likely that the Cedar Park faithful just weren’t into Steveson as a performer.

Seriously? It’s the kid’s first match, and he’s already getting grief because he doesn’t perform like a 20-year veteran or because he paid homage to Angle with a few of his moves? Give me a break — or more importantly, give Gable one.

As to be expected, Steveson had some rough moments, but he held his own and kept pace with a seasoned pro like Corbin. At one point, there appeared to be a miscommunication or mistiming on a suplex spot. Steveson froze but then began throwing punches at Corbin.

Was it a rookie mistake? Probably. But occasionally, there are awkward beats and rough transitions between well-versed stars. So that one glitch wasn’t a big deal. That Steveson didn’t linger lost in the wind for long was impressive.

Well, except to those heckling fans.

The finish was a draw as both men were counted out of the ring, resulting in chants of “Bullshit” from the audience, though the ensuing post-match brawl between Corbin and Steveson got them cheering again. Still, it wasn’t enough to make up for the rude reception given to the highly touted rookie.

From what I saw, Steveson will be fine once he gets more in-ring time, and he’ll likely be better off as a heel at some point. But for now, he’ll have to grin and bear it, as he’ll probably face hostility in the future from people who must’ve been flawless employees during their first days at a new job.

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