Chad Gable Is Ready, Willing and Able to Become WWE King of the Ring
Chad Gable knows he was not a top pick to win the WWE King of the Ring. He'll go as far as saying he might have been the last. Yet the underdog representing SmackDown Live now finds himself one win away from wearing the crown. The 5-foot-8 dynamo has beaten the odds and hopes to shock the world September 16 by defeating Raw’s Baron Corbin.
“This is what I’ve been waiting for. An opportunity to really break out,” Gable said. “They say that is what King of the Ring is for. So many guys in the past have broken out in this tournament…I pitched a lot of ideas trying to do something. This is better than anything I could have thought of. The momentum I’ve gained from this is incredible. To win it would just put me on that next level. People would look at me in a whole new light."
Before one of the most important matches of his career, the 33-year-old sat down to reflect on the journey to the throne.
I know when you changed your look, it seemed WWE was going in a different direction with your character. However, that didn’t really continue past a few weeks. Was there a point you worried that this kind of King of the Ring-like opportunity may not come for you?
Chad Gable: I wouldn’t say I was worried because I’m not a veteran by any means, but I’ve been here long enough to realize form getting advice from other people, you have to be patient. You have to wait your turn sometimes. A lot of times it’s few and far between the opportunities you get. I’ve gotten some great ones in the tag division with Bobby [Roode] and Jason [Jordan].
I also had to wait a long time to make the Olympic team. It took me eight years of training, and I lost a lot of matches along the way. I was used to being patient and used to put in the work and have faith and confidence in myself that the hard work is going to pay off eventually. I think that is the thing that carried me through in those moments where you’re sitting at home or at TV not doing anything. They are hard moments, but I was able to convince myself to get those thoughts out of your head, stay positive, and it’s going to happen for you.
Kurt Angle put you over big time on social media. A fellow Olympic athlete who took a similar path as yourself. I know he has lent his knowledge behind the scenes to the current roster. What were your thoughts when you saw that tweet from Kurt? What have you learned from him?
He has been super helpful ever since he came back for Jason and me. We had some great talks with him, especially recently since I’ve started doing the singles thing. I’ve been trying to find myself and not be a clone of Kurt. I think we have a lot of similarities between our style and our look is similar, but he has been great at giving me advice on how to be myself to allow Chad Gable to come out as his own character and not be the next Kurt Angle. The support he has given me has been incredible. The fact he chose me on his farewell tour that he had going into WrestleMania to have one of his final matches against was such an honor. Stuff I never thought I’d be doing in my life if you had told me 15 years ago. Life is funny that way. I’m very grateful.
You are starting to really show who you are in the ring with your singles style. Is there anything we haven’t seen from Chad Gable personality or otherwise?
Absolutely. I think there is a lot of sides to me that I think people haven’t seen yet. There are different parts of my personality and character that I put out in NXT, which people who watched that show back in 2015, 2016 got a taste of that. There is a lot of parts that I think people are going to see and identify with. Parts of my personality where they will go, ‘I feel that way too. I understand him. I get it.” I think we are going to see that coming up in the next couple of months.
Onscreen many have made light of your height, whether it’s Shane McMahon or Shelton Benjamin. You mention being relatable,this is no doubt one way. What has it been like to bring the message that size doesn’t always matter and one can persevere like you are right now?
It’s great because some of the best stuff we do kind of blurs the lines in reality and entertainment. Trust me, that’s very real to me. Ever since I got here the size thing has been an issue. It’s been a question in my own mind whether or not I’m big enough for this and capable of doing this. It’s interesting because never in my life did, I ever question myself through my whole Olympic career. I never questioned if I was ever cut out for this or if I could do this. As big as the Olympics seem as a goal, I never doubted myself.
When I got to WWE those doubts were creeping in. So, it’s a unique storyline in that sense in that it is very real to me. The fact I’m having that chance to prove myself in this tournament and get past these boundaries, I’ve started to believe myself that if I do get there and prove that I’m worth it, it’s not going to be a storyline victory. It’s going to be real in my own head. I put some of those doubts to rest.
With NXT going live Wednesday nights on USA Network for two hours, how does it make you feel knowing you and others had a role in its explosion in popularity. Will the landscape change with the third brand?
It’s so awesome. When I started in NXT in 2013 it was on the tail end of what they were doing before at the Performance Center. We were still doing shows in Tampa with 12 or 15 people in the crowd. I was thinking, “Man, is this what I signed up for?” Before you know it, NXT just blew up. I was very fortunate to be there at that time when it caught fire. Before long we were in Barclays Center, a show I was on. It was our first big show. It never really stopped. It was such a unique time where everyone was working so hard and being competitive with not only proving to ourselves but to the main roster and show we’ve arrived. It was motivating and inspirational to be a part of. It hasn’t stopped.
Now on USA, it’s next level. It’s a kudos to everyone who has been a part of it since its inception. Now that they are going to have this platform, who knows? I have a feeling we’re going to see people want to be on that show. People on the main roster who would want to get a shot on NXT because it’s just another platform to get yourself out there and show what you can do.
You have Baron Corbin in the finals. Someone you’ve shared the ring before. What can we expect? I think this match will surprise a lot of people.
I’m excited because Baron and I, we do have a small bit of history. We wrestled in the Dusty Rhodes Classic in the tag tournament and had this incredible match that is kind of considered American Alpha’s breakout match that night. A lot of credit goes to Corbin just for the fact people hate him so much. They genuinely hate him. You can’t ask for a better opponent than that. I’m looking forward to it. We have some great chemistry in the ring.
I think people are going to be quite pleased with how everything turns out. I’ve been looking forward to working with a much bigger guy like Baron. The whole short guy thing everyone has been making fun of me about. It’s really going to play itself out here. I don’t think you could have asked for a better final.
WWE Raw airs live Mondays at 8/7c on USA Network