WWE Raw has added an Olympic gold medalist to its roster.
During night two of the WWE Draft on Monday night, heavyweight NCAA wrestling champion and Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson was selected by Raw. The annual draft exists as a way for Raw and SmackDown to freshen up and add to its rosters.
The 21-year-old Steveson won gold in freestyle wrestling at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, getting a last-second win over Georgian Geno Petriashvili in the 125-kilogram weight class.
After being heavily recruited by the company, it was announced last month that Steveson had signed with WWE. He signed the first-ever NIL deal in WWE history, allowing him to join WWE while returning to the University of Minnesota for his senior season. Steveson will be part of WWE on a full-time basis once he graduates.
Steveson getting drafted to Raw means that he’ll be making his WWE debut on the main roster instead of developmental brand NXT. ESPN reported when Steveson signed with WWE that he would be appearing on WWE programming while still in college.
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When Steveson’s first match will be taking place remains to be seen. WWE is setting up a training facility for him in Minnesota, and he’ll be able to train at the WWE Performance Center in Florida as well.
Steveson has been mentored by WWE star Brock Lesnar, who also was a champion wrestler at the University of Minnesota before making the transition to professional wrestling. Steveson is also friends with WWE’s Paul Heyman.
In an August interview with Sports Illustrated, Steveson said he’d be a “Paul Heyman Guy” if he decided to sign with WWE.
“If I ever go to WWE, I’d be a ‘Paul Heyman Guy,’” said Steveson. “Heyman is a legend. We’d be two people doing great things, and that would be a tough team to beat.
“And I’ve known Brock since I was in high school. He’s been there for me for a long time, making sure I do things the right way and put my best foot forward.”
Steveson and fellow Olympic gold medalist wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock were honored by WWE at August’s SummerSlam pay-per-view. Steveson briefly appeared via video on Monday’s Raw, celebrating at home with his parents after it was announced that he had been drafted.