Chad Gable lost to Kevin Owens. Then, Chad Gable lost to A.J. Styles. Now, Chad Gable is looking at his future as a singles wrestler in the WWE and his star is blazing bright.
Half of the tag team American Alpha, alongside Jason Jordan, Gable has been a walking spark plug ever since the two men decided to team together back in July 2015. Then, they were members of the NXT roster, working out the kinks. Fast-forward to present day and they are both former NXT Tag Team Champions, as well as WWE Tag Team Champions.
Concurrently to Gable’s introduction into the singles wrestling sphere, over on Raw, the break-up of Enzo Amore and Big Cass is playing out in a very public manner. That doesn’t seem as if it will be the case for Gable and Jordan, who aren’t even a cinch to stop teaming together, especially in a division that needs them.
The two men can logically and rightfully be compared to the self-proclaimed World’s Greatest Tag Team, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas. Both men had amateur wrestling backgrounds, much in the same ilk that Gable and Jordan do. While the two men were disciples of Kurt Angle’s for a while, American Alpha has largely been on their own; technical wrestlers in either an independent or homegrown wrestlers world, depending on how you see it. Benjamin went on to an uber-successful singles career both in the WWE and beyond, while Haas always had the tools but never reached the same levels of success.
Gable was a state champion high school wrestler in Minnesota, born in Minneapolis. He continued on his path of amateur wrestling destruction when he attended Northern Michigan, before representing the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Gable is south of 205 pounds, but you’d be crazy to pigeonhole him as a cruiserweight.
The question begs: Where did all of this come from? The business of who’s hot and who’s not can sometimes be an inexact science to the outside viewer who doesn’t see who draws favor behind the scenes, who is working hard in the gym, who is having great mat sessions, so on and so forth. Gable could be doing all those things, but the fact that he has largely been viewed as a tag team wrestler during his tenure in the WWE makes him an interesting choice as someone who is in line for a push out of that realm.
As the WWE attempts to bring credence to the United States Championship, having top-tier performers such as Owens and Styles helps, but who it leaves out are performers like Gable, who need that belt to help establish themselves. Gable would be perfect for a short run with the U.S. Title, but beating Styles or Owens in the near future would take a lot of work to make sense, especially with Jinder Mahal’s shock value title reign still running rampant on SmackDown Live.
Gable has never been one of these superstars brought in from an outside promotion that had a large degree of success somewhere else; he is having his ups and his downs with the WWE. He is much different physically from another amateur wrestler such as Jack Swagger, who was also a successful collegiate wrestler, just in a much bigger weight class. Swagger’s pitfalls have been well-documented, but the company has believed in him so much as to make him the World Champion at a point in time. That may not be in the future for the 5-foot-8 Gable, but that’s not to say singles gold isn’t on the horizon.
For now, he has all the talent in the world to test himself against. SmackDown Live boasts a wealth of in-ring performers who would be perfect for him to match up against — consider a small feud with Dolph Ziggler or even somehow Sami Zayn, he would be able to perform to his maximum and showcase those rare in-ring skills that those without an amateur background simply cannot replicate.
Gable didn’t need to beat Owens or Styles to be heard. He simply put on excellent wrestling clinics, showcasing that the amateur style still can work in the WWE. The aforementioned Kurt Angle seems to be imminently making his return to in-ring action with the promotion soon, and he was at the forefront of convincing amateur wrestlers to ply their craft in the WWE. Gable may not have the affiliation to Angle yet, but his singles career has only just begun.