Chad Gable Discusses Possible FTR Revival In WWE, Kurt Angle Comparisons, Working With Jason Jordan Backstage, & More! - Exclusive

This past Friday afternoon, a group of WWE stars and Next-In-Line (NIL) recruits gathered at the Davis Boxing & Fitness Center in San Antonio, Texas, to pump iron with athletes from the Special Olympics. The sprawling, state-of-the-art facility served as the perfect backdrop to showcase what these athletes are capable of while being cheered on by some of their heroes — an experience that included an extravagant inflatable entrance ramp, each athlete getting to come down to a WWE entrance theme. Amongst those heroes was one-half of WWE tag team Alpha Academy, Chad Gable, and while Gable is usually quick to tell those around him to "shoosh," this time he was instead encouraging the athletes under his tutelage to get loud and give it their all.


In this exclusive interview with Wrestling Inc. Senior Editor Nick Hausman, recorded at the event, Gable opens up about his connection to the Special Olympics, comparisons to Kurt Angle, working with current WWE producer Jason Jordan, FTR possibly returning to WWE, and more!

Kurt Angle Comparisons

Nick Hausman: Today we are at a Special Olympics event being held by WWE during Royal Rumble weekend, and I am joined by Chad Gable. Chad, thank you so much for taking the time.

Chad Gable: Thanks for having me, man.


You had some really heartfelt words before today's event. This, I know, means a lot to you.

Yeah. I started being asked a few years ago by the company to do a couple of these appearances, and they resonate with me for a couple of reasons. Obviously, my own Olympic background. I was an Olympic wrestler in 2012, but my nephew is epileptic and participates in Special Olympics bowling and other sports, and he's been heavily involved for years. And so it's this dichotomy where it merges my professional life, my personal values, and then my family all together in one. And it's just so — not only inspiring, but man, they get me amped up watching these kids do their thing, man. Their energy and just their intensity, work ethic and just their attitude towards life. You can't really put a price on it, man. It's pretty special.


You bring up intensity, that's one of the three I's.


You get a lot of comparisons to WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle.


Do you feel pressure when you're getting compared to somebody as notorious as Kurt Angle?

There's pressure. The pressure part of it has kind of gone away ... now, it's just gratifying because he's not only a legend, but the guy that was the archetype for me as a kid of what I could become as an amateur wrestler, because I was a pro wrestling geek from a very young age. I've loved it my whole life. I was a tape trader. I was one of those guys.

You traded tapes?

Dude, if you traded tapes, I guaranteed one probably came from me when I was a kid. So I was heavily, heavily obsessed from a very young age. And so when I saw Kurt burst on the scene as I'm just peaking as a Greco-Roman wrestler and chasing my early, early Olympic stages of my dream, I'm like, man, he's doing it right now. He's doing what I'm planning. He's planting the seeds. He's setting the stage for me. And he did. And so now, it's just very gratifying when people do those comparisons because not only is he one of, if not the greatest of all time, just certainly the greatest to ever make the transition. So those are very special. And just the kind words Kurt always has to say about me is just as gratifying.


Do you guys have a relationship outside of WWE?

Yeah, we've done a lot of stuff. We've done appearances together. We've done a lot of the "Table for 3"  stuff where we talk and share stories. And I think I've told this story before, but I met him at Mall of America when I was... It was one of his first years with WWE after his tape, his VHS came out and I brought it, got him to sign it, and told him like, "I'm going to be in WWE someday." I don't know how old I was. I was young. And he's like, "Alright, good luck. We'll see you down there." And then 15 years later, I was wrestling him in Chicago, like in WWE, so it's a very interesting, unique story, man. Life will take you funny places, man.

Working With WWE Producer Jason Jordan

Well, I think everybody saw American Alpha, and they obviously saw shades of The World's Greatest Tag Team and everything like that. Obviously, Jason's still with the company. He works backstage right now. What is the dynamic like between you guys right now with him working backstage, the producer capacity, and you being in the ring?


So Jason, I still consider one of my best friends. I mean, we grew so close in those few years that we were a tag team. And now that he's producing, I always say a quick "thank you" every time that he's on with the producer sheet, under my match or my segment. Because our mindsets are so similar, exactly the same. So he knows he needs to tell me very little, and I know that I need to ask very little of him, because we're basically going to say the same thing either way. We know how each other works, how we operate, and man, I'm just so happy he found a place after ...

Because I mean, what a tragic thing to happen, to have an injury and such a promising career. I mean, he was on the upswing, and I think it was one of those situations where this character that they gave him that he started developing, people at first were like, "Oh, this isn't working at all." But they were just not quite seeing what it was going to be yet. And he was on that rise. He was there, man. He was finding his groove, and then just got cut down in his prime. So it's sad, but I'm happy to see him. He's having a lot of success. He's happy doing the job he is, and he is really good at it. So it's cool to see.


A Possible FTR Revival In WWE

I'll close asking you kind of an American Alpha related question. So you and Otis are like a combo of two of the greatest "NXT" teams of all time: American Alpha, Heavy Machinery. Another legendary "NXT" tag team's contract comes up in April, and that's FTR.


Yeah. Never heard of them.

No, no, no. I think you know them. So would you like to see them back in the fold? I mean, you guys have such a flush tag division at WWE right now.


What are your thoughts about them potentially coming back to the company?

Selfishly, I would love it. Those guys were and are guys that I consider professional rivals, but also my best friends, which, sometimes that's the best combo because not only can we push each other, but we really challenge each other in a way that I've never been challenged by other people. And I think it's such a competitive nature between us, me and those guys, that's what created some of the magic that we had back then.

And it's not lost on me that it could happen again. And I think you'd see now with some of the character evolutions that we've had, and just all of us maturing a little bit over these years, might see the next level in the next iteration of that, if it were to ever happen.