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Kurt Angle Knows All About What Gable Steveson Is Attempting to Do

The WWE legend is familiar with the challenges of transitioning from amateur wrestling to the squared circle.

From one gold medalist to another, Kurt Angle is extremely impressed by Gable Steveson.

Last weekend, Steveson won his second straight national NCAA national championship in wrestling. In between those two titles came an Olympic gold medal, an accolade that Angle also achieved at the Summer Games in 1996.

“To be in the very best in the entire world at his age at only 21, it’s very rare,” Angle says. “And Gable proved he is the best in the world.”

Angle, whose first love will always be amateur wrestling, is enamored with Steveson’s technique.

“The way he’s able to shuffle and turn his matches into a dogfight, and then come out on top, he’s really good at that,” says Angle. “He’s such an incredible athlete for his size. Watch his balance; it’s amazing. He has a good knack for knowing where his body and his hips are. The kid is so mature, from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint. And he brought a positive light on the sport of amateur wrestling. To me, that is incredible. Now he has the chance to make a big splash in WWE.”

After immortalizing himself by winning gold in dramatic fashion, Angle entered uncharted territory by signing an eight-year contract with WWE in 1998. He then quickly captured the professional wrestling community by creating a product that was intensely compelling and entertaining.

“I didn’t watch pro wrestling before I started,” Angle says. “But I became obsessed by it. I studied it, worked it, watched it. I was watching old tapes and anything I could to get better. And I was a really good listener. I had Triple H, Undertaker, Steve Austin and The Rock telling me what to do. Instead of ignoring them, I kept an open mind. The more I did that, the quicker I learned.

“Now I had to forget a lot of what I knew. Nobody scored on me, nobody did anything to me in amateur wrestling, so I had to learn how to be humbled. Once I did that, it was easier for me to learn.”

Angle built a brilliant body of work in pro wrestling, mastering the art form. For Steveson to achieve similar success in WWE, Angle recommended the standout from the University of Minnesota focus on his personality.

“He’ll need to make sure he’s well prepared and learns all the techniques, which I think he will do very quickly, but the hardest part is the character perspective,” Angle says. “I would tell him to practice daily, look in a mirror and work on those promo skills. He needs to show he has a lot of fire and personality. That’s where a lot of former amateur wrestlers have failed in professional wrestling. They didn’t have the personality.”

Now 53 and retired from active pro wrestling, Angle is busy with a plethora of projects. He runs his own successful supplement company, Physically Fit, as well as hosts the Kurt Angle Show podcast. The podcast features upcoming episodes with MMA star Colby Covington and actor Mario Lopez, and recently had an in-depth discussion on Sting.

Despite his brilliance in WWE, some of Angle’s most outstanding work occurred in Impact Wrestling. His matches against Sting were always noteworthy, and Angle has enjoyed watching his legendary friend wrestle in AEW.

“He’s one of the greatest ever,” says Angle, who shared that he was shocked to see Sting jump off a balcony during AEW’s Revolution pay-per-view. “He’s also frickin’ crazy. I don’t know what he’s doing or why he’s trying to prove himself all over again. Sting doesn’t have to do those crazy spots. He’s still proving he can do what he does. I’m glad he’s O.K. I love the guy.”

Angle remains grateful for the outpouring of support from people across the globe, which has been a constant in his life for more than two and a half decades.

“My fans are the greatest in the world; it’s true,” he says. “I love having the show and engaging with them, and I’m so appreciative of their support with everything I do.”

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Justin Barrasso can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.