With a rather above average roster at best, SmackDown added some serious depth to the show when they announced the selection of American Alpha. In just a little over a year, the team has managed to not only thrive, but become the faces of the future and their selection added much more value to the Tuesday show.
This article will look at the upbringing up this dominant duo, as you’ll see that things weren’t always as easy as they currently seem. Jordan went through some serious struggles as a performer while some thought the upbringing of Gable was rather premature, but we’ll touch on those factors during this piece. We will also take a look at an accomplishment Chad Gable managed to achieve in his short pro wrestling career, as he became the first wrestler under a WWE banner to do something that had not been done since 1984 if you can believe. Scroll to number seven if you want to know what that is.
Safe to say, this is only the beginning for this team, as I think we can all expect them to thrive once their time is up as a team and into future solo careers. Like Enzo and Cass, fans are already starting to discuss how much potential they have on their own. For now though, let’s sit back, relax and enjoy the time they have together dominating the WWE scene for years.
Enjoy this article on 15 things you need to know about SmackDown’s American Alpha!
15. Future For The Two As A Team Was Cloudy Initially
Although they are thriving and labelled as the greatest tag team in all of pro wrestling right now, that certainly was not the case at the beginning. Creatively, NXT was very unsure where the duo was going with the story, as a matter of fact the writers didn’t even label the team as heel or face. Eventually the crowd made the decision by deciding to cheer on the duo because of their explosive in ring style which has cemented their current legacy as the greatest team on the planet.
The situation was initially very cloudy and the purpose of it all was to experiment with the two. Jordan was labelled to be a big singles star (which we’ll discuss further later) while Gable was yet to see any real storyline since entering the developmental brand. As the angle grew, the people began to get more and more invested in the idea of the team.
14. Chad Gable Went To The Olympics
Prior to being exposed under his new alias with the WWE as Chad Gable, many knew him as the Olympian amateur wrestler Charles Betts. Gable was a terrific grappler from his high school days in his hometown of Minnesota. His coming out party took place in university with Northern Michigan. He would go on to win several prestigious medals which included a Gold Medal at the Pan-American Championships and another Gold at the Dave Schultz International.
His biggest accomplishment however would come in 2012 when Gable would qualify for the Olympics. He would win the 84 kg category amongst his fellow American grapplers and book a ticket to the prestigious event. He won the qualification round but proceeded to lose the next match 3-0 against Cuban Pablo Shorey, although just being at the competition was a remarkable accomplishment on its own.
13. Jordan Is Also A Tremendous Amateur Wrestler
Not only were they both amateur wrestlers, but they were great ones. Growing up, Jason Jordan was an all around athlete, who thrived in wrestling, football and baseball. He turned down a pro baseball career and instead opted to wrestle for Indiana University, a decision I’m pretty sure he does not regret. His amateur wrestling career was epic being ranked in the top 15 for the entire nation three years in a row, he was as high as second at one point. During his second place ranking Jordan was an incredible 35-0 in the regular season.
After a prestigious three year run at the University level, Jason traded in his singlet for a whistle becoming a student coach helping the future All-American talents. Following his coaching stint, Jordan made the jump to pro wrestling signing a deal with the WWE and you’d never guess who found this gem.
12. Jordan Was Discovered & Signed By Gerald Brisco
At the age of 69, it’s hard to believe that Gerald Brisco is still finding some huge gems for NXT by scouting all around the world. Brisco’s career with the WWE goes way back in time, back in the days when Vince Sr. was in charge of the company. Brisco’s greatest move was in 1984 when he convinced the majority owners of Georgia Championship Wrestling to give a major 52% stake of their company to a guy by the name of Vince McMahon. After this transaction took place, Vince cemented his dominance in the world of pro wrestling, turning the WWE into the major player associated with pro wrestling. Brisco worked the bulk of his career as a road agent and later because of health problems was placed permanently down in NXT as a talent recruiter.
Finding a tremendous amateur wrestler really shouldn’t surprise anyone considering Gerald was one himself before he joined the pro wrestling ranks. Brisco is well aware of amateur talent around the world and he certainly hit the nail on the head when he found Jason Jordan back in 2010. Gerald invited Jason for a tryout and would later offer him a contract. Jordan held out until he finished his college degree and would officially join the company in July of 2011.
11. Gable Climbed Up The WWE Ranks Fast
What makes Gable’s story so remarkable is how fast he was able to pick up the art of professional wrestling and run with it to the very top. To put things into perspective, Jason Jordan signed in 2011 when the developmental system was branded as FCW.
Gable signed his deal back in November of 2013, reporting immediately to the Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. His progression was truly breathtaking, according to several NXT scouts and agents, Gable just had that intangible quality right at the very beginning. Less than a year after he signed his deal, with no prior experience, Gable was already put in the ring at a live event and months later he would make his television debut against Tyler Breeze.
For a guy that had no experience whatsoever and considering the fact that the WWE is extremely cautious with athletes and how fast they progress, his story is truly a noteworthy one to say the least. Fast-forward less than four years later and he’s already making headlines with SmackDown Live.
10. Jordan Was Initially Labelled For A Singles Career
It’s easy to see why the WWE initially labelled Jordan as a singles guy, as he has the size and strength to thrive alone and is built like a star. Regardless of what happens with American Alpha, you must believe that he and his partner Chad Gable will one day thrive even further, going on individual runs as singles stars.
A tag team future was never on the horizon for Jason, especially when he first broke into the company. The plan was to make him thrive on his own, although it was apparent quickly during his FCW days that wasn’t to be the case. Jordan had the tools to succeed on his own, but just lacked some charisma, which could have been aided by joining a tag team. This is exactly what would end up happening and he would spend the bulk of his career wrestling as a tag team wrestler with several different performers in order to play off their strengths.
9. Gable Lost His Debut
Like so many other great performers, Gable began his career on the losing side of things. It seems like an unofficial rule in the world of pro wrestling that you must lose your first match and lose your final one as well. Hopefully, we’re nowhere near this guy’s final match, but we did see him lose his television debut which took place on January 8th, 2015 in a losing effort to NXT alumni Tyler Breeze.
Putting Gable in the ring with such a star truly showed how much the developmental brand believed in Gable and the match was by no means a squash type of encounter, as they showcased some of Gable’s tremendous amateur wrestling assets and his undeniable technical ability.
8. Reason For Jason Jordan Getting So Emotional During Matches
In every big match, Jordan seems to take a minute and just breathe it all in. Overcome with emotions, Jason was brought to tears after he captured his first championship alongside his partner at NXT TakeOver: Dallas, defeating The Revival in front of a sold out crowd on the night prior to WrestleMania. The duo arguably stole the entire show that night.
The victory was a huge deal for Jordan, as the explosion of the audience that night basically put a stamp on all his hard work throughout the years. What many people don’t realize is that Jordan has been with the WWE since 2011 when he reported to FCW. He stayed with the development for a year working on his craft, he bounced around several gimmicks and, at one point, his future seemed uncertain. His emotions reflect all his hard work and everything it took to get to that point. His championship victory was an accumulation of almost five years of hard work with the company. Still only 27, he’s still got a long way to go.
7. Chad Gable Won Rookie Of The Year
We discussed this earlier, but Gable really had it in him from the very beginning. The highly respected Wrestling Observer Newsletter agreed, crowning Chad Gable as the 2015 Rookie of the Year. To put things into perspective, it was the first time since 1984 that a WWE wrestler won the award when Tom Zenk won. That’s over three decades of a WWE Superstar not winning the prestigious Rookie of the Year award, making this quite the accomplishment.
The award has been given out to some tremendous talents in the past which includes Steve Austin in 1990 (with WCW), Rey Mysterio in 1992 (with AAA Mexico), Goldberg in 1998 (with WCW) and Adam Cole in 2010 (with ROH). No matter how you look at it, the award is a tremendous honor and really shows how great he’s going to be in the future.
6. Jordan Failed With Several Gimmicks
Making a connection with the audience wasn’t all that easy for Jordan early on, as he was a typical case of a wrestler being insanely talented in the ring, but having a hard time showing the audience his personality and charisma. In an era of sports and entertainment, having both those elements is crucial in order to thrive.
Jordan was eventually put in various tag teams because creatively the company wasn’t sure about how to use him on his own. He put on great matches but his facial mannerisms and charisma just didn’t seem to work or fit the bill. The company repeatedly tried to make him excel alone, but after awhile they made the decision to put him in a team with another Superstar that would help him to get over.
5. Jordan’s History as a Tag Team Wrestler
The only success Jordan was able to muster early on was as a tag team wrestler. His first run of significance took place alongside CJ Parker when the duo claimed the FCW Tag Team Championships. Their run was put to an end after the company re-branded to NXT.
During the re-brand, the WWE used Jordan as a singles wrestler which was a terrible decision. Jordan was a glorified enhancement wrestler losing every week to the likes of Jinder Mahal. Once again, a tag team storyline saved Jordan who was placed into a team alongside Tye Dillinger. The duo had a decent run, but eventually Jordan turned on Dillinger, which resulted in a heel change that really did nothing for him.
Finally, three months later, the company went back down the tag team route, but this time the decision stuck and American Alpha was born. A little more than a year later, they are one of the most hyped acts on the entire SmackDown roster.
4. Dusty Rhodes Tournament
Although they did not win the tournament, the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament proved to be the team’s coming out party. All of a sudden, the crowd cheered the two on more and more with every passing matchup. The booking for the team in the tournament could not have gone any better, as in the first round they beat the powerhouse team of Neville and Solomon Crowe. Not only did they win the encounter, but the crowd was already fully invested in them. They later defeated the Hype Bros but would lose in the semi-finals to Rhyno and Baron Corbin, although they came out of the match looking like the real winners.
Ultimately, the tournament showed just how great they really were in comparison to the other teams on the roster. The tournament would see them get a massive push after it concluded, defeating respected NXT teams like The Vaudevillains, Blake & Murphy and The Ascension. They cemented their win streak following those victories by beating The Revival for the titles.
3. Jordan’s Education Background
The WWE really scored big time with the addition of Jason Jordan, as not only was he a three sport athlete thriving in amateur wrestling, football and baseball, but he also had an education to go along with his athletic abilities.
He attended Indiana University and earned himself a respectable Bachelor’s certification in Biology. Jordan also minored in various fields which include social science, medicine and chemistry. The next plan for Jordan was to become a dentist, as he enlisted in a dental school, but he put that goal aside for a dream job with the WWE. It seems like he made the right choice.
What makes his educated background that much more admirable is the fact that Jason came from a troubled background. During Breaking Ground, he said that all three of his brother were in prison. All his accomplishments seem to be that much more remarkable when you consider the dimensions of his family’s history and it’s quite the story that is still being written today.
2. American Alpha Are the Poster Boys for What NXT Intended on Becoming
When the WWE initially envisioned what NXT was going to be about, they dreamed of producing wrestlers exactly like these two guys. When the Performance Center opened its doors, the goal was to bring in athletes from around the world and turn them into elite WWE Superstars with high end training at their state of the art facility, that has just about everything from a promo room to a high flyer’s ring.
The two amateur wrestlers came in with no prior experience. Gable was an Olympian and Jordan was a multi dimensional athlete thriving in several sports. The WWE took these factors and created something bigger than they could have ever anticipated. Ultimately, this was exactly what WWE intended when they first began NXT and the two wrestlers will forever be regarded as the poster boys for what the WWE envisioned.
1. Vince McMahon Is A Big Fan
Fans scratched their heads at the sight of American Alpha quickly dropping their championships over to The Revival at NXT TakeOver: The End just two months after they won the championships. Fans thought they’d be champions for a long time, but it was Vince himself that made the call to immediately call up the duo.
Vince is normally not a fan of premature call ups, but he’s apparently very excited about these guys. It’s rather obvious, there was no plan in place to call the team up, but once Vince made the decision, they immediately dropped the titles. McMahon loves everything about them, especially Jordan who has great size and athleticism, a feature the boss loves in his Superstars.
Most of all, McMahon loves that the team is home grown, built from the ground up by the WWE, which made the call up that much more gratifying for Vince. With these factors in mind, you can expect some big things from the team as a duo and later as singles stars for years to come.
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