When WWE interrupted their otherwise tight Money in the Bank broadcast with a spooky vignette that hinted at the arrival/return/debut of a new performer, it unleashed a mystery on a fanbase known for having a keen eye and exceptional deductive reasoning.
Some thought the spooky vibes signaled the much pined-for return of “The Field” Bray Wyatt, who was released from the company in 2021 and has yet to sign elsewhere. Others pointed to the presence of a car with a LatinoHeat license plate and through it could signal the arrival of a very exciting new/returning Luchador capable of shaking up RAW or SmackDown,
*spoiler alert* it’s probably Edge, as the presence of the car, the Olympic gold medal, the Hardy Boyz arm guards, and the Dudley glasses are all obvious callbacks to Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle, the Hardy Boyz, and the The Dudley Boyz respectively, all of whom feuded with the “Rated R Superstar” in the past, but for a short but now humorous moment, the best guess of the wrestling world was none other than Gable Steveson, the all-time great collegiate wrestler- turned-Olympic Gold Medalist who was drafted to RAW back in 2021 and technically made WWE debut at WrestleMania 38 but has yet to actually commit to the company full time.
While the idea of Steveson not debuting as a scary, gothic dude who spends time in a creepy, graffitied-up church can allow more than a few fans to breathe a welcomed sigh of relief, as that would have been one heck of an on- the-fly rebrand for a performer with a very obvious character centered on his collegiate accomplishments. Still, it does bring up a question that needs to be answered in the not-too-distant future: How should Gable Steveson make his full-time debut into the WWE universe?
Gable Steveson needs an Olympic-level debut in WWE.
Gable Steveson probably should begin his career in NXT, as his wrestling experience both in Minnesota and in the Olympics, though impressive, didn’t involve things like a ring, ropes, Frog Splashes, or top rope suicidas. Working on his game at the performance center and in pre-taped matches that could theoretically be recorded again if need be could keep up his mystique as an unbeatable grappler who both looks and performs the part.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your opinion, that isn’t likely to happen. Steveson, despite being just 22, is already signed to RAW and has already made an appearance on the show back in December of 2021, when he, MVP, and “The Almighty” Bobby Lashley shared a respectful fist bump when the show was in Minnesota at the Xcel Energy Center. While the company could opt to swerve things up ever so slightly and give Steveson a home on SmackDown instead, especially against a wrestler like Gunther – USA versus Germany, anyone? – his most likely landing spot is on RAW, the land of Seth Rollins, Theory, and Bobby Lashley, the new United States Champion thanks to a decisive win over the eventual Money in the Bank briefcase winner at Money in the Bank the show.
Huh, the United States Champion you say? Goodness, that sure sounds like a belt built for an Olympic champion some would consider an American hero.
Sound familiar? Well, it sort of should; when Kurt Angle debuted in WWE all the way back in 1999, he was thrust into the Intercontinental Championship picture early on. Had the United States Championship been part of the WWE title picture at the time, he likely would have ended up with that belt too but because it didn’t debut until 2001 – it was initially part of the WCW championship stable and made its way over to the then WWF until the WCW Invasion angle – Angle likely would have ended up having a long and healthy run with the belt during his turn-of-the-century run.
Fortunately for Steveson, the United States Championship is very much a thing in the WWE – on RAW no less – and considering the person he’s been associated with in the company most, Lashley, already holds it, the prospects of inserting the duo into a feud for the star-spangled strap could instantly add gravitas to the debuting Olympic hero, especially since “The Almighty” is both himself a former college athlete and a performer willing to put over younger performers or get involved in a goofy feud like his pose off with Theory.
If WWE wants to moonshot Gable Steveson right into the RAW picture and instill into the fans just how good he is right away, they need to settle on a perfect first feud that will establish the collegiate Gopher as both a star and a force to be reckoned with. While going the gothic Edge route is certainly a choice, settling for something a bit more Angular would probably be a much safer play, especially since it has a proven track record of success.