On a recent episode of WWE After The Bell, Corey Graves was joined by Chad Gable, fresh off dropping his Shorty G name. Gable talked about his run as a singles wrestler, and noted that while there were highlight matches, it was his King of the Ring run last year that has been his favorite.
"I did some singles things, and I have done some singles matches that I'm very proud of. I had matches with AJ [Styles] and other guys along the way, but they're just one-offs," Gable pointed out. "I never had something I could grasp on to and really feel like we've got some momentum here, let's keep it going, until we finally got that with King of the Ring. Which was a chance for me, and it's always been this awesome chance for guys to kind of break out and show themselves.
"I got that chance last year and it was my favorite run, obviously, as a singles guy that I've had since I've been with the company. It felt very organic to me, which I think most of the best things are. I don't think anybody would have picked me to go to the finals of that tournament or maybe even make it out of the first round because I hadn't been doing anything on RAW or SmackDown for a long time as a singles guy."
During that run, Gable was presented as the short underdog, and he discussed the chemistry he had with Baron Corbin dating back to their days on NXT. He noted that Corbin's character combined with his story in the tournament made for a great finals.
"So Corbin and I, you find these guys that you have really good chemistry with. Everybody has certain guys," Gable noted. "Corbin's one for me, luckily, that I had great chemistry with, even dating back to NXT. We did an awesome tag match with him and Rhyno in NXT, and that's where I first realized that me and Corbin really have some awesome chemistry and so, I knew that going in.
"And the whole run through the tournament, I was able to kind of start to find myself as a singles guy because even when I had these matches I'm talking about before, it had never been week after week. It was like I'd have one and then two months would go by and I'd have another one I could be proud of. This one was like I had to be expected to put these matches on week after week, and I had what I thought was a great run. And I knew that I would get in the finals with Corbin, and if we had some time, we could tear the house down, because first of all, everybody hates Corbin.
"I like the guy but I hate him, but I knew we'd have a great match. For the story we were telling of me being the short, small, underutilized guy; he's the perfect foil for that, and so, it was this match I'm so proud of in the finals."
Corbin emerged as the winner of the tournament, but Gable believed he came out well in the loss. He said it helped complete his story, and in regards to being lost in the shuffle, he said he tries his best to always keep himself in the picture.
"And I feel like there's a lot of matches where you can come out better on the losing end, and that's one of the cases where I think I did," Gable admitted. "He's done the king thing for basically the whole year, and he's been great in it. It's made him more hated. I think I came out of that loss better than I would have winning because it helped complete that story of me and let us continue to tell the story of trying to overcome things.
"But like you said, now I feel like we're back around again where I've kind of gotten lost in the shuffle, and I do my best to avoid that. Trust me, I am doing everything in my power all the time to get myself involved and get in the picture in whatever way I can."
It was previously reported that Vince McMahon was high on Gable. Gable said he always tries to ask for an opportunity, which led to his run as Shorty G. He admits that while it wasn't what he hoped for, he is not the type to complain, especially since all he wanted was an opportunity and he was given one.
"I always ask for opportunity," Gable stated. "I've been in Vince's office. I talk to the writers - everybody. I'm asking constantly for opportunity. That's what I want, and when I finished the King of the Ring, it was explained to me that this was the direction we're going. We're going to be playing off this short thing going forward, including the Shorty G name. And look, I'm not the type of guy that's going to go in ask for opportunity and then when given it, complain about it, or say, 'I don't want that opportunity. I want the opportunity I want.'
"That's just not my philosophy on life. I got what I wanted, which was an opportunity. Now is it the perfect idea or situation, what I wanted? No. In amateur wrestling, me being short was not a thing because I was on a team with 55 kg guys 60 kg guys that are 5'1", not even 5'0", so I was on the taller end of all my other teams. It was fine. I just got the opportunity I asked for, but it started going a little off the rails when I'm doing segments or backstage things where I'm in the ring with guys that I'm taller than, or we're doing an interview backstage and I'm the tallest person in the interview.
"I'm like, something ain't quite right here. Look, like I said, I'm not going to poo-poo any opportunity that I'm given; I'm gonna try. I'm going to give it every ounce of energy I have because I love this. I'm committed to this."
Graves asked Gable where he sees himself in the future. Gable admitted that while being WWE Universal Champion is his goal, it's unrealistic for him to be in that title picture so soon. He said that the Intercontinental Title is more realistic for him, and he expressed his desire to get in the ring with Daniel Bryan.
"So I'm not going to say all of a sudden, three months from now, oh, I should be Universal Champion, because I don't think that we make those kind of jumps immediately," Gable noted. "I do see that for myself long-term because you have to or else what are you doing? But I am very happy that I stayed on Smackdown because we have the IC Title, which I think would be a great starting point for me as a singles guy. I want to get in that mix.
"I want to get in the mix with the guys that hold that title, that defend it all the time. And we know who I'm talking about, and there's guys like Bryan on our show who I have not had a chance to wrestle yet on TV, especially in a singles match. It's my dream opponent that's still wrestling. Before he's done - and I don't know how long he has left or how long he plans on wrestling - I want to have that match with Bryan, whether it's for the IC title.
"Whatever it's for, I want to have that match with stakes on it, and I can show the world what I'm capable of. And he's the guy that I've been waiting so long to finally get this opportunity to tear the house down with."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit WWE After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.