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Gable Steveson’s Opponents: Everyone Standing in the Way of His Second NCAA Title

Gable Steveson has a career record of 68-2 heading into his potential final year of college wrestling. The future WWE superstar has gone undefeated for the past two seasons and nearly won all of his matches by bonus points. And after teasing his career options in the WWE and NFL, Gable finally announced his return to college wrestling.

Is anyone standing in his way of winning another heavyweight title? Based on Minnesota’s schedule, these are all of Gable Steveson’s potential opponents for the upcoming college wrestling season, including previous scores and results.

Who are Gable Steveson’s 2021-2022 Opponents?

Bison Open (Nov 13)

Teams Competing: ND State, SD State, Others TBD

Starting at the Bison Open, Gable could wrestle South Dakota State’s AJ Nevills and North Dakota State’s Brandon Metz. Last time Gable wrestled Nevills at Cliff Keen in 2019, he majored him 15-6. Gable last wrestled Metz at Daktronics in 2018. Though he was not attached to Minnesota at the time, he won by fall in 33 seconds.

Oklahoma State (Nov 20)

Opponent: Austin Harris

Senior Austin Harris will be a new opponent for Gable. Intermat has him ranked #11 at heavyweight.

Daktronics Open (Nov 21)

Teams Competing: Nebraska, SD State, Others TBD

Moving onto Daktronics, Gable could see SD State’s Nevills again. He may also see Nebraska’s Christan Lance. They have wrestled three times in college, once per year. Gable has progressively beaten Lance worse each matchup, winning 12-6 in 2018, 19-7 in 2020, and 23-8 in 2021.

South Dakota State (Nov 28)

Opponent: AJ Nevills

Depending if Gable decides to wrestle in open tournaments this season, he may have already seen AJ Nevills twice. He may elect not to compete in opens due to his busy schedule and name, image, and likeness deal with the WWE.

Cliff Keen Invitational (Dec 3-4)

Teams Competing: Binghamton, Cal Baptist, CSU – Bakersfield, The Citadel, Columbia, Cornell, George Mason, Harvard, Michigan, Navy, Nebraska, Northern Colorado, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Princeton, Purdue, SD State, Sacred Heart, Wyoming, Others TBD

During his freshman year, Gable Steveson won the 2018 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. This is a prestigious tournament, yet he won it in his first official month of collegiate wrestling. At this year’s tournament he could run into top ten opponents such as #2 Mason Parris (MICH), #7 Tate Orndorff (OSU), #8 Brian Andrews (WYO), all of whom he has already defeated.

Iowa (Jan 7)

Opponent: Tony Cassioppi

After off-season training Tony Cassioppi is honestly looking like a Greek god. But does he have it in him to take on Gable for the fifth time? In the past, Gable won twice by decision and twice by major decision.

Northwestern (Jan 9)

Opponent: Lucas Davison

Similar to Oklahoma State’s Harris, Gable and Davison have never met in college. The wildcat is currently a top 20 ranked wrestler.

Nebraska (Jan 14)

Opponent: Christian Lance

Steveson and Lance could bump into each other five times this season: Daktronics, Cliff Keen, this dual, Big Tens, and NCAAs. As a reminder, Gable teched Lance 23-8 to open up last season, and he has beaten him in the past.

Wisconsin (Jan 16)

Opponent: Trent Hillger

Uh oh! Hillger is the only opponent on this list to have a positive trend towards Gable. To be fair, Steveson has won handedly each time, but still the scores became increasingly closer over time: 11-2 in the 2019 dual, 10-4 at the 2019 Big Ten Championships, and then 10-5 in the 2020 dual. What happens next?

Michigan (Jan 28)

Opponent: Mason Parris

This is the big kahuna. Every wrestling fan wants Parris vs Steveson #4. Their social media sprees have been fun to watch, but Gable has been the clear victor in every bout. Gable embarrassed Parris in last year’s Big Ten Championships with a 12-4 major. Then he beat him again in the NCAA finals, this time 8-4.

Illinois (Feb 4)

Opponent: Luke Luffman

Last year Gable Steveson pinned Luffman in 35 seconds, shook his hand, then ran right off the mat in true entertainer fashion.

Purdue (Feb 6)

Opponent: Dorian Keys

Get ready freshman, because you’re about to get rocked! This will be Keys’ first official season on the college mat.

Ohio State (Feb 11)

Opponent: Tate Orndorff

Orndorff first ran into Gable while wrestling for Utah Valley in 2018. He lost 12-4 at Cliff Keen. After transferring to Ohio State, Orndorff faced off against Steveson again last year. He lost again, this time by tech fall, 19-4.

Note: there is a good chance Gable skips the Ohio State dual meet due to the fact that he’s likely competing in the Bout at the Ballpark on February 12.

Bout at the Ballpark (Feb 12)

Opponent: Amir Zare

Minnesota is not competing in the Bout at the Ballpark event at Globe Life Field in February; however, Gable Steveson plans to compete. The event will feature Iowa vs. Oklahoma State and USA vs. Iran dual meets.

In true Gable fashion, he already called out the 2021 Iranian World Champion Amir Zare on Instagram. This would be a freestyle bout, so it won’t be considered on his college resume. But thinking about the possibility of Olympic gold medalist Steveson taking on the reigning World Champion during a college dual meet is just exhilarating.

Big Ten Championships (Mar 5-6)

Teams Competing: Entire Big Ten Field

It’s postseason time! At this point in the year, Gable should be undefeated with a win over the #2 seed, Mason Parris. He could face opponents that he hasn’t seen in the year yet, such as Penn State’s Greg Kerkvliet. The two heavyweights did actually wrestle at last year’s NCAA Championships. Even though Kerkvliet did score a takedown on him, Gable still won 9-4.

This would be Gable’s third Big Ten finals appearance and his second title, should he win.

NCAA Championships (Mar 17-19)

Teams Competing: Entire NCAA Field

Finally, who will stand in Gable Steveson’s way at the NCAA Championships? Well, at this point in the season, barring no other upsets, he should already have wins against ten of the top twenty wrestlers from the 2021-2022 season.

The only top twenty opponents he has not run into are Cohlton Schultz (ASU), Zach Elam (MIZZ), Nathan Traxler (TECH), Lewis Fernandes (COR), Yaraslau Slavikouski (HARV), and Deonte Wilson (NCST).

Should Gable Steveson win out, he would secure his second NCAA title.

In closing, the heavyweight champion is in a great position to win another NCAA Championships and potentially another Hodge Trophy. Even though Gable Steveson’s opponents are tough, the Minnesota Gopher is even tougher.

Do you think he can win all of his matches by bonus point this season?