We spoke to WWE’s SmackDown Live’s Chad Gable.
Chad Gable is one half of the most exciting tag team of the New Era. He and Jason Jordan have brought amateur wrestling back from WWE purgatory, and in doing so, gained a devoted and passionate following, especially amongst British crowds. He talks to SteelChair about his time in NXT, what William Regal taught him and American Alpha’s plans for No Mercy.
Coming over last December on your first NXT tour of the UK and Ireland, what was is like for American Alpha to receive such strongly positive crowd reactions?
Yeah, that was kind of a unique deal. We were all so excited to get over there, travel, and do shows in all new arenas and in front of different crowds. But we didn’t really quite know what to expect. Especially Jason and I. At that point in time we’re still relatively new to NXT and we were just blown away every single night on that UK tour. That first one in Blackpool was something completely different to any other night there. It was the arena and that crowd and the atmosphere that night. We had a match with Blake and Murphy where I don’t think we touched each other for the first eight or nine minutes because the crowd would just not stop.
It was something like we’ve never experienced before and still haven’t since. It’s such a unique chant (the Jordan Gable ‘No Limit’ chant). We had to look it up because we didn’t know what it meant or where it came from. It would be amazing if people Stateside could pick that up. That made us really excited to go back in June and the crowds were just as insane, just as awesome; so for us to make the jump at this time to SmackDown and get to go back again so soon, we just couldn’t be happier.
If The Revival get called up to the main roster, will you relish the chance to get back at them after your feud in NXT?
I think we have a bit of unfinished business. I think I’d look forward to more matches with them. We had great chemistry. This is true of amateur wrestling too, of any sport really, but you find an opponent who becomes an arch nemesis who you just click with. You might go back and forth with them a million times and split the matches right down the middle. The Revival was that opponent for us. I think they’ll be that kind of opponent when they get the call-up. I just want the results to sway our way in the future.
Did you learn anything from William Regal during your time in NXT?
Sometimes, he would come by the ring and just watch the class. For a while, he wouldn’t say anything, but you could tell he was picking stuff out. Like he was noticing things he that he liked or didn’t like. He would stop class when he felt the time was right, and he would talk, sometimes for an hour at a time. In there would be so much that you could pick out and use and apply to yourself. And even if it didn’t apply to you, you could use that to direct someone that was in a match with you. It’s still a learning tool. He has such a mind for the business. One of his biggest assets, I think, is that he has such a good way of explaining it to you. A lot of the time people know what they want to say but they can’t communicate it that well. But he is spot on in communicating exactly what he wants to say in just a completely understandable way.
Is there any one piece of advice that has stuck with you?
Some of the stuff he said about promos and communication to me. He told me about how important your eyes are. You might not always take that into account, but I remember when I did my try-out he told me how much my eyes stuck out to him. It wasn’t about what I said, that wasn’t really important, but he saw in my eyes that I believed what I was saying. That really stuck with me for a long time and still does. So I always try to remind myself how important that is, to make that believable.
Making the jump to the SmackDown roster, you made such an explosive impression in such a small space of time, even teaming up with the Usos and the Hype Bros at SummerSlam. That must have been a momentous occasion for you?
Yeah, we wanted to make sure that when we hit the ground, we hit the ground running. We didn’t just want to come in and make our way slowly but surely. We wanted to make an impact immediately. I think we did that and getting on the SummerSlam card right away was such an honour. The year before that we were at the SummerSlam weekend in Brooklyn doing TV tapings for NXT. Fast forward to a year later, and we’re on the SummerSlam show! It’s kind of mind-blowing. Everything seems like it’s so far away all of the time; we looked forward and it seemed like we had such a mountain to climb. But we chipped away for a little while and suddenly we made these giant steps in a year. To realise that is really gratifying.
How do you enjoy being on the SmackDown roster since coming up from NXT?
It’s been great. I’m glad we got drafted to SmackDown. I think early on, especially on Draft Night, people were sceptical towards the roster that SmackDown got. I think that was unfair to begin with, but since then we’ve proven that we are fully capable of competing with Raw and putting on just as good of a show. And I think we’ve done that. We’ve had incredible shows these last few weeks. Our shows are great, the wrestling’s great and I think we have everything that a wrestling fan could desire. I think we’re killing it.
Are you thinking in your mind that you have to be better than Raw?
Yeah. I think it’s kind of the point of this whole thing. To create some competition and give each show a competitive nature. It’s great for me and Jason because we have that mindset to begin with. We love being competitive. And it helps to go into Tuesday nights having seen what they have done the night before on Raw, or you’ve seen what they’ve done on Sunday on the Raw pay per view. You say, “Guys, we’ve got to top this. We’ve got to do better than they did.” The real competition is there now. And I think you’re going to see that reflected in the product with how much better it gets because when people are competitive magic happens.
How does it feel going on tour representing SmackDown?
We were so confident that we would be drafted, but we were still so nervous at the same time. Once we saw our names, Jason and I were just so happy. But we’ve not even scratched the surface. We’ve got a lot to do and we’re more than happy to start at the bottom and make our way up. I think that’s what Jason and I are best at; slowly chipping away, slowly making gains, chasing goals, until we reach the top.
Were you disappointed not to be part of the Backlash Pay Per View?
That was disappointing. We wanted to come in and chase the titles immediately. We wanted to be the first champions and establish the credibility that we think we can bring to titles like that. We wanted those titles immediately and hold them for as long as possible. Unfortunately, I got injured. We had been taken out, and we lost our shot unfairly. But at least we can argue that we beat The Uso’s and that we deserved our shot at the finals. We still haven’t gotten our shot that we think we deserve. We still think we have a title shot coming, so we can’t be so disappointed or dwell on anything for too long. We just keep moving forward and keep looking forward because there is no sense in dwelling on the past.
Does this give you extra motivation to perform at No Mercy?
Absolutely. We want to be on No Mercy. Obviously, we won’t be wrestling for the titles, but we want to get on there and have a match of any type to show that no matter what kind of match we have we tear the house down. So that, when the show’s over, people are talking about us. Then when the next show comes around they’ll say, “These guys deserve to be in a title match. They deserve to have a shot to shine at a higher level.” And we know we’re going to prove that, we’re that confident. We just want that opportunity.
What were your thoughts on Backlash overall as the first event since the Brand Extension?
I thought it was great. I think it had a cool build up and attitude from everyone leading up to the show. Everyone knew that it was their first shot to show everyone what we’re capable of. And the guys and the girls totally tore the house down that night. The show was great from beginning to end. I thought it flowed so well. It was so easy to watch.
That’s one of the greatest things about our show, about our roster and about SmackDown in general. It’s so easy to watch. It just flies by. That’s a testament to us. That means we’re putting on a good show that people are enjoying and losing themselves in.
The show seems to really be coming together. Every feud seems to have good reasoning and logic behind it.
Yeah, and that’s one of the reason’s I think why we’re going to be so successful and why we’ve been so successful so far. Things like that happen so organically. Like the thing with Heath and Rhyno just took over. That’s the kind of stuff that people can get behind. That’s the kind of stuff that gets their interest and keeps their interest. There’s a tonne of stuff we’re doing right now that to me just feels unique and fresh. We’re really putting a cool twist on things. And this is what people have been wanting. They’ve been wanting fresh stuff, and that’s what we’ve been giving them on SmackDown.
Check out the next issue of SteelChair Magazine to find out which tag team from the past Chad would like to face, and about his experiences in the London Olympics.