WWE Superstar Gable Steveson may be returning to the University of Minnesota for the Gophers’ 2022-2023 wrestling season.
Steveson, who won an Olympic gold medal in the Tokyo Summer Olympics last year, said last season would be his final collegiate campaign, but he still has one year of NCAA eligibility left and The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports that he is exploring the possibility of coming back for the second semester of the 2022-2023 season.
The 21 year old Steveson won his second straight national championship in the 285-pound heavyweight division back in March, and ceremoniously left his wrestling shoes on the mat to signal the end of his dominating run. He then graduated from the University of Minnesota earlier this month, but could be returning to the mat for one final run now.
“I know he would like to wrestle, and he loves competing,” Gophers wrestling coach Brandon Eggum said. “Really, it comes down to making that work.”
Steveson is currently under a multi-year contract with WWE. The NCAA’s NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) program allowed Steveson to fulfill his childhood dream of signing with WWE while continuing his college career a year ago. WWE reportedly sent coaches to Minnesota to help him train, and set up a ring for him to use.
It was originally believed that Steveson would train for WWE until he graduated, and then some time this summer or fall he would kick his WWE career into high gear as a full-time contracted talent, under WWE’s own NIL program. Steveson was drafted to the RAW brand in the 2021 WWE Draft back in October, and was introduced to the crowd at WrestleMania 38 Night 1 last month. Night 2 saw Steveson side with RK-Bro and The Street Profits in an angle with Chad Gable.
Eggum noted that Steveson would have to work out a deal with WWE, but he is interested in returning to the mat for the Gophers. He wrestled a limited schedule while training and making appearances for WWE last season, and an even more scaled-back schedule could be used if he returns.
“It would have to be something he works out with the WWE and Vince McMahon,” Eggum said. “Those details … it hasn’t gotten that far. It’s one thing if he said, ‘No way, I’m not doing it.’ … But he has the eligibility, he’s capable and he has interest in doing it.”
The Gophers obviously would welcome back one of college wrestling’s most-decorated wrestlers with open arms. “We want to make it as easy on him as possible,” Eggum said.
Steveson was the only heavyweight to win the Dan Hodge Trophy twice during the 2021-2022 season. He captured his second consecutive NCAA heavyweight title and third Big Ten wrestling title, going 13-0 in the conference. Below is a photo of Steveson with the Hodge trophy last month.
The 2022-2023 NCAA D1 Wrestling Championships are scheduled for March 16-18, 2023 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
There is no word yet on how WWE feels about the interest in returning to the mat, or if Steveson has informed them of what he wants to do, but we will keep you updated.
Stay tuned to WrestlingHeadlines.com for more on Steveson. You can see his graduations photos below, along with the Hodge trophy photos: