WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon says WWE is planning to make announcements on the NCAA NIL (name, image, likeness) program that allowed RAW Superstar and Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson to sign with the company.
As we’ve noted, WWE signed Steveson to a multi-year deal back in early September, one that will be significantly accommodating as Steveson wanted to finish college at the University of Minnesota. The deal is also unique for WWE as it is their first-ever NCAA NIL (name, image, likeness) contract. The deal allows Steveson to join the WWE roster while defending his NCAA Division I national title at heavyweight for the University of Minnesota. It was previously reported that Steveson is attending the school for his senior year, and that WWE was to set up a remote training facility for him near the UoM campus, where he would learn the finer points of the WWE in-ring style. Gable also has access to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, where his brother Bobby Steveson is currently training under the “Damon Kemp” ring name.
It was also previously reported that Gable’s multi-year talent contract with WWE would officially begin once he graduates college in May. According to earlier reports, Gable would then become a full-time WWE performer but the plan was for him to appear on WWE TV during the school year. Steveson was drafted to RAW in the WWE Draft this past October, but he has not appeared since that night when he was shown in a segment live via satellite from home. It’s also been reported that WWE has big plans for Gable’s future.
In an update, McMahon spoke with Adam’s Apple while at the March of Dimes luncheon in New York City on Tuesday and was asked if there are any updates on Steveson’s WWE status.
“So, he’s still in school, and when he’s done with school hopefully he’s going to be a part of the full-time roster,” she said. “And we have some more announcements on the NIL program that will be talked about soon.”
There’s no word on if WWE plans to announce more NIL signings in the near future, but we do know that they are focused on scouting collegiate athletes for WWE NXT and the developmental system.
McMahon was also asked if there’s an update on Ronda Rousey possibly returning to WWE.
“There is no official update on her return, but she is always welcome to come back,” McMahon said. She joked, “As long as she stays away from me!”
Rousey gave birth to her first child earlier this year, but has been away from WWE since the WrestleMania 35 main event in 2019. She originally left WWE so she could start a family with husband Travis Browne. You can click here for Rousey’s recent comments on her WWE contract status.
For those who missed it, you can click here for photos and notes from McMahon being honored at the March of Dimes luncheon on Tuesday, including a shot of Stephanie and WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon together.
Stay tuned for more.