George Kittle On Personal Interest In Donning The Wrestling Boots & His ‘Mount Rushmore’ Of Wrestling
George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers recently spoke with Wrestlezone’s Dominic DeAngelo about his pro wrestling fandom, and recent promo that caught the attention of a certain ‘electrifying’ personality. Kittle and his 49er faction are starting a Goldberg undefeated streak at 4-0 in this young NFL season after just beating the Cleveland Browns’ Baker Mayfield on Monday Night Football. In this part of the conversation “The People’s Tight End” talks how he got into pro wrestling, how his 49er teammates enjoyed SmackDown and if he has the interest in suiting up for a match. Quotes and full video are below:
“I’ve always admired The Rock and Stone Cold. I like their personalities and how they were on the screen, but I never really watched a ton of wrestling,” Kittle said. “I think it was my sophomore year of college one of my teammates Steve Manders who is now an independent wrestler, he got me hooked. He kind of force fed it down my throat. It was actually pretty funny.
“The first WrestleMania I ever really watched was the one at Levi’s Stadium where Seth Rollins did cash the Money In The Bank in. So that was the first one I ever watched start to finish. I had a blast watching it too because Steve told me, ‘Hey, Seth Rollins is an Iowa guy. Just like watch him you’re going to really enjoy it.’ And I always liked Randy Orton, the RKO and like that, you know, being a fanboy.” Kittle said. “I always liked that, but really fell in love with it after that summer after that WrestleMania cause Steve would come over and watch about four hours of WWE Network every single day and he’d just show me classic, classic matches. The amount of Shawn Michaels matches that I’ve seen is kind of over-the-top so that’s kind of why I fell in love with it.
“And then Steve, he went to Seth Rollins’ wrestling school [Black & Brave Wrestling Academy] in Davenport, Iowa. I got to go out there and meet Seth Rollins a couple times and just kind of banter back and forth, what it’s like being a WWE wrestler, what it’s like being an NFL player and just kind of made my love for wrestling grow and the respect I have for like the grind that all wrestlers go through every single day,” Kittle said, “every single week all year long. Just kind of made me fall in love with it and ever since, I don’t really miss much wrestling.”
George also recounts his time several weeks ago SmackDown when the blue brand paid a visit to the Bay Area for it’s final show on the USA Network:
“Oh it was a blast. WWE definitely hooked us up, got us in the front row, got us some action in front of us, got to watch some great matches. We just had an absolute blast.” Kittle said. “Anytime that you can get some off-time but have a great time doing it, it’s always really fun and being able to go to SmackDown was definitely the highlight of my week.”
We also learn that Kittle isn’t the only wrestling fan donning Niners gold. Although he drifted away for a time, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was also an avid watcher of the “one true sport.”
“Jimmy G said he used to be a big wrestling fan back when he was a kid and he kind of got away from it as he got older so he’s got it deep down inside of him so he definitely had a great time and I think you can see from some stuff on Twitter I think everybody had a blast so the next time they’re close again I will definitely be at the next event.”
With being as big of a fan that he is and having that unique connection to the squared circle due to his collegiate colleague Manders, Kittle has heard the question before about if he’d ever have an interest of stepping in between the ropes.
“I’ve been in the ring before in front of a crowd of like 100 people.” Kittle recounted. “I got to do a Stone Cold Stunner and it’s definitely one of the cooler things I’ve ever done. And the rush, it kind of made me understand why people wrestle, the amount of fun you have doing it and so, it’s something that, of course I could see myself in the ring every once in awhile. It just seems like such a blast and I’m such a huge fan that I could definitely do it.”
When I asked him who was on his personal Mt. Rushmore of professional wrestling, Kittle thought it over before he came up with his four, but had three very close contenders to join the ranks as well:
“I gotta go with, my four this is my top four, my favorite I think I’d go…Seth Rollins, The Rock, Stone Cold and I think I’d have to go with Shawn Michaels. My guy Pentagon Jr is definitely close. I’ve always loved Cody Rhodes too. Just kind of how he built himself. I just respect the heck out of him too.” Kittle said. “I gotta throw Jericho up there too. I love Jericho. Yeah, I absolutely love Jericho.”
(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)