March 19, 2022
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Gable Steveson (Minnesota) d. Cohlton Schultz (Arizona State)
Q. When did you first realize that you liked being in the spotlight?
GABLE STEVESON: Probably when I was really young. I've always been stubborn, to be on camera taking pictures of myself, wearing clothes and stuff. Growing up I just had an itch to be a showman and show the crowd a show at a bigger weight.
Q. Looking at how much your lifestyle your training habits, you're already a pretty big dude. And going into the WWE, [inaudible] that mask. What's that going to look like for you in the future now?
GABLE STEVESON: I'm just training hard. I've got a good supporting system, Triple H, Paul Heyman, guys like Brock Lesnar. And Vince McMahon is a genius. So hopefully he can push me right. And who knows, you may see me in Wrestlemania.
Q. One of the most iconic endings to any NCAA Tournament ever. The back flip, the shoes come off. It's signature Gable, right? It's what the crowd wanted. You gave it to us. The thing I like is you're shoes are back on. I'm telling (indiscernible) myself there's a possibility, but one of the most iconic endings ever. What does it mean to you to give the crowd a show?
GABLE STEVESON: It means a lot, going out there enjoying myself and putting time in and effort in. I took my shoes off, did a back flip. It's just what I do. I love to do flips. I've been doing flips since I was young. I was doing gymnastics class on the grass, on the trampoline. I had to put my shoes back on to go on the podium. But for now I'm done, for now I'm done.
Q. A few months ago you said you were going to retire the back flip. Why did you bring it back?
GABLE STEVESON: Just people love to see it. People just chant it. I would hate, someone pays a lot of money to sit in their respective seats and they're chanting "back flip" and I don't do it. I've got to put the show on for them.
Q. Talk about how coming back to this year built your brand?
GABLE STEVESON: Being on ESPN, being on the Big Ten Network, the push I've been getting with (indiscernible), just being able to be myself, be on camera, make the sport of amateur wrestling bigger than it probably was a year ago and just pushing myself to be a better person and pushing the sport to grow and have more eyes on it.
Q. I'm no WWE fan. Growing up as a wrestler, and we used to have watch it with my grandma. She was 90 years old. She believed everything that happened there was real. How can you not say that's real; I never understood it. But I will be a fan to watch you.
GABLE STEVESON: Thank you, appreciate it. I hope I gain many WWE fans when I take the next step. And like I said just gonna keep putting my best foot forward and keep my head on straight.
Q. It's pretty rare to take to Twitter, basically tell everyone you're going to win (indiscernible) leave your shoes there. Where does that confidence come from?
GABLE STEVESON: It's built in me. Ever since I was a kid I just loved to talk the talk and walk the walk. As I said yesterday if you score points you're going to win. And today just shooting the best shots I possibly could on a bigger body like Cohlton Schultz, who is a Greco specialist and who knows how to roll people up in 30 seconds to a minute.
Just having that confidence to do that on a big stage is a lot. But I feel like I'm built for this and I'm built for the big stage.
Q. Your name, Gable, can you share where it came from? How did you live with it as a child; did you grow into the name? When we started comparing heavyweights, where do we place you among great heavyweights?
GABLE STEVESON: I think you should ask the first question to your mom. She's behind you.
Q. I did already.
GABLE STEVESON: Second question, there's so many good heavyweights -- Bruce Baumgartner, Kyle Snyder, Adam Coon, Mason Parris, look at the athleticism the guys are putting on that has been growing ever since we got to college.
Lucas Davison, who I grew up near, in Portage, Indiana; he was in Chesterson. So I feel like I stacked up pretty high. Might just be the best.
Q. Were you comfortable with the name Gable, though? I understand the comparison.
GABLE STEVESON: Yes.
Q. That never bothered you?
GABLE STEVESON: No, I like that. I like that target. I like living up to a namesake. I think I did a good job.
Q. You get to the WWE, what would you think about Dan Gable as a manager, and if he distracts the referee, what do you think about that?
GABLE STEVESON: We'll win a lot of matches.
Q. Right after your match, you went up to your coaches before you did anything, you gave them a hug. Was that an emotional moment for you knowing you're moving on, kind of thanking them for everything they've done?
GABLE STEVESON: Luke Becker, Brandon Eggum, (indiscernible), Zach Sanders, Dustin Schlatter, I can name so many people. Tony Nelson, they've been in my corner since seventh grade year when they were letting me come into the practice room for RTC and I was getting whooped up.
And funny story, I was wrestling Chris Farr, Chris Farr, 174-pounder, in seventh grade I was about 180, I was chunkier. And Chris Farr threw me into the wall, that's what we would do out there, wrestling, we want to dominate.
He threw me into the wall, I looked at Eggum, I smiled at him and ever since then he knew Gable was it. That was the day things turned.
Q. Name, Image, Likeness, NIL. I'm a huge fan, someone like you, NIL, handful of wrestlers who can actually benefit from it. RB says money talks. If you can get back, money talks, how do you feel about that statement? Would that potentially bring you back knowing NIL deals could bring you back to Minnesota?
GABLE STEVESON: I have one more year left, COVID year. Money talks, we see Gable.
Q. The showmanship, was there anybody you looked up to who was in the spotlight you wanted to be like and emulate?
GABLE STEVESON: I'd probably say The Rock. The Rock is the biggest influence. And Brock is a big influence, career path I'm taking, my angle is to be a star in the WWE and be a person that kids can live up to and see the energy that I bring in all different spots.
So it's weird that I'm getting close to that spot. And it is odd that people ask me for pictures and autographs. I'm not used to it. And but now I'm getting used to it because I have to. Just enjoying the time, enjoying it day by day. That's how I'll take it.
Q. You said The Rock, he became an actor; is that something you'd be interested in?
GABLE STEVESON: Oh, yeah.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports