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Gable Steveson Focused On WWE, Won't Return To Minnesota This Season

Gable Steveson Focused On WWE, Won't Return To Minnesota This Season

Minnesota coach Brandon Eggum announced Monday that Gable Steveson won't be returning to the Gophers this season to focus solely on his WWE career.

Jan 12, 2024 by Andy Hamilton
Gable Steveson Focused On WWE, Won't Return To Minnesota This Season

Minnesota wrestling coach Brandon Eggum announced Monday that Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson won’t be returning to the Gopher lineup this season, opting instead to focus his attention on his career with the WWE.  

There had been speculation throughout the summer and earlier this season that Steveson might step away from the WWE — at least long enough to return to the college mats for the first time since leaving his shoes on the mat two years ago in Detroit after winning his second NCAA title. 

“Unfortunately, he will not be able to compete for us this season,” Eggum said. “He’s a great competitor, he’s always wanted to compete for the University of Minnesota, but ultimately, the WWE would prefer that he’s solely focused on his professional wrestling career at this time.” 

Weeks after winning Olympic gold in Tokyo with a dramatic last-second comeback in the finals against Georgian Geno Petriashvili, Steveson signed a deal with the WWE in the fall of 2021. He stuck around with the Gophers and ran through the college ranks, winning his second Hodge Trophy. 

Steveson went more than a year without wrestling a competitive match before returning in April at the U.S. Open, where he won the heavyweight title. He followed that up by sweeping Mason Parris in June in the best-of-three series at Final X, dropping hints afterward that he planned to take a shot at another Olympic gold in Paris

In the weeks that followed, Steveson’s college status became an offseason storyline. He was pictured in the Iowa wrestling room and teased fans with social media posts about the Hawkeyes, fueling thoughts that a transfer could be in the works. Meanwhile, Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle released a statement saying the Gophers were “excited about the opportunity of him returning to Minnesota for one final season.” 

After several weeks of buildup about his next move, Steveson announced in July that his future would remain with the WWE. Later in the summer, he withdrew from the World Championships. 

“Whenever he’s not at the WWE performance center down in Florida, he’s up here in our room, working with our heavyweights, which is awesome,” Eggum said. “We just can’t thank him enough for the impact he’s had on our program. We love following him and watching him compete out on the mat, he’s amazing, and now we’re excited to watch him in his WWE career, so thank you Gable Steveson from our program and all the Gopher fans across the country and the world and we look forward to watching you in your career here moving forward.”