SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — It’s become a signature of the San Francisco 49ers NFC Championship season. Every time star tight end George Kittle makes a first down, he’ll look up field and make a motion with his hand like an NBA star signaling a successful three-point bomb.
But the move doesn’t come from watching the Golden State Warriors famed ‘Splash Brothers’ Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. It’s a salute to Kittle’s other love — professional wrestling.
“It’s from Pentagon Jr. He’s an AAW I(All American Wrestling) wrestler now,” he told reporters at his Friday news conference. “Cero Miedo, No Fear. Two years ago in New Orleans, I went to Wrestlemania, and watched him wrestle six different times at a bunch of different shows. Just like his swagger in the ring and his confidence. Just kind of stuck with me.”
“I mean, wrestling, it’s something that I love and enjoy too. So, just seeing that in the ring and just how he holds himself and how he enters the ring, how he leaves the ring, everything he does has a purpose, and I just kind of love that.”
Like nearly everything he does athletically, Kittle wears his love for professional wrestling on his sleeve. Literally. The gifted tight end has launched his own apparel line, bearing a logo of San Francisco 49ers themed luchador mask popular in professional wrestling in Mexico.
It has sparked his fans and wrestling stars to take to social media, joining him in his passion. He also says he can’t wait until he receives his own 49ers luchador mask.
“It’s awesome,” he said of photos he’s seen of the mask. “I haven’t gotten it yet, but I’m looking forward to it. The Lucha masks are incredible. The design in them and how unique each and every one is, just awesome.”
Hey! @gkittle46 🔥
— Lucha Libre AAA (@luchalibreaaa) January 23, 2020
Recently, Kittle took to the field in the NFC Divisional playoff game against Minnesota with shoes inspired by actor and former wrestling star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) January 11, 2020
When asked earlier this year by another Twitter exchange after the Steelers game with ‘The Rock,’ Kittle responded like any star-struck fan.
“I’m not sure if I’m still dreaming yet,” he said. “That was pretty cool…I’ve been a Rock fan for most of my life and the fact that I get a response is … I feel like a little kid again, it’s pretty cool.”
Kittle was introduced to the world of professional wrestling by former University of Iowa teammate Steve Manders, who now wrestles professionally as the ‘Cornbelt Cowboy.’
“The first wrestling thing I ever watched was Wrestlemania here at Levi’s Stadium,” Kittle said. “(Manders said) ‘Hey, look, just give it a chance. You’re going to find a guy that you love.’ And, Seth Rollins is a guy from Davenport, Iowa, a hometown guy for me. Kind of fell in love. He had an awesome match against Randy Orton, and he cashed in the money in the bank in the Heavyweight Championship Match.”
“So, he (Manders) just said, ‘Hey, find a guy that you like and follow along the story line, and you’re going to fall in love with wrestling.’ He definitely made me fall in love with it. I got to go to a show with Manders because now he’s a wrestler.”
Kittle said what draws his most to wrestling is “their mindset and attitude when they’re wrestling.”
“Day in and day out, no matter what, they always put on a great show,” he said. “He (Manders) definitely force-fed me it, and now I just love it.”