Two years after being drafted to Monday Night Raw, Gable Steveson made his long-awaited debut in wrestling.
The Olympic gold medalist wrestled his first match in the WWE at NXT’s The Great American Bash 2023, and the crowd were intrigued to see how he would perform.
Steveson took on Baron Corbin in his first match in NXT, following weeks of build up on NXT TV. While he was expected to appear on Raw, Gable Steveson failed to improve fast enough in the ring, and was sent back down to NXT.
He did appear on WWE a few times, including grappling Chad Gable at WrestleMania 38. Steveson was also seen alongside is brother Damon Kemp in NXT, prior to his WWE debut match.
After two years of training, the Olympian was finally read to debut. He hoped to follow in the footsteps of Kurt Angle and became a star instantly, but the fans were not on board.
Gabe Steveson’s WWE Debut
Gable Steveson’s first match in WWE came at NXT The Great American Bash 2023.
He battled Baron Corbin in a short, very disappointing match in the middle of the card.
Fans did not want to see this match, but unusually it was not because of Baron Corbin.
The NXT crowd were actually happy to see Corbin in the ring, and actually cheered for him to win the match.
This was due to Gable Steveson’s history of legal allegations toward him, as well as his shockingly poor performance in his debut match.
While he was clearly incredibly athletic and wonderful at suplexing his opponent around, the match was slow, plodding and incredibly boring to watch.
Baron Corbin had to carry the match on his back, which was a huge struggle based on how terrible Gable Steveson looked in the ring.
He looked lost at all times, although the match was clearly not built to make the most out of his skill set – the Olympic Gold Medalist started the match by punching, rather than tossing Corbin around.
The Crowd Turned On Gable Steveson
The NXT The Great American Bash 2023 crowd were not on the side of Gable Steveson.
His reception from frosty from the get go, owing to his legal troubles in the past that many feel he should face consequences for.
The crowd chanted for Baron Corbin throughout the match, willing the former Mr Money in the Bank to pick up the victory in the match.
Amid the chants of “Lets go Corbin” were huge boos for the Olympic Gold Medalist.
Steveson was clearly shaken by the unexpected reaction, his performance clearly affected by the unruly crowd.
The funniest chant of the evening was when the Texas crowd chanted “You’re not Angle” at Steveson – referencing another Gold Medalist in Kurt Angle.
Gable Steveson First Match Review
Fans were very outspoken about Gable Steveson during his debut match in the WWE in the crowd, and they haven’t quieted down online either.
Most fans have rated this match as terrible, noting the slow and boring action. Humorously, many have given Steveson credit for being the one man who managed to get Baron Corbin cheered in the WWE.
The ending of the match has also been criticized – having his debut match end in a double count-out is an awful way to end the bout.
Gable Steveson should have either won the match to prove his worth, or lost to the more experienced man and being humbled in the process.
One user on Cagematch said: “Corbin tried to carry the match, but ultimately Steveson is just so awful it couldn’t work”
Meanwhile, another claimed it “wasn’t too bad until the abrupt finish”, although that opinion is definitely in the minority.
Nobody on the site voted the match above a 5.0 rating (on a scale out of 10), while the match was given an average of a 2.60 out of 10 rating – among the worst matches in NXT history.
- Dave Meltzer Star Rating –
- Cagematch Rating – 2.60
- Atletifo Rating – 1 Star
What did you think about Gable Steveson’s debut match in WWE? Tell us your thoughts in the comments, and click the link below to read about the star ratings given for the matches at NXT The Great American Bash 2023.