With the Alpha Academy training their hardest for the Royal Rumble a week from Sunday, the leader of the pack, Chad Gable, appeared on WWE’s The Bump to talk about his new group and how excited he is that the former WWE Champion and World Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Bryan, is joining his workout team.
“I’m extremely happy! It’s so great having Daniel [Bryan] on board,” he exclaimed. “My initial thought was, ‘Ok, I’ve got Otis, this guy that I’ve known for a long time. And he’s got this momentum.’ But now, all of a sudden, Daniel’s on board. He’s looking for training for the Rumble, and that’s going to take us to another level. A guy like Daniel, he’s the perfect guy to do that for. He’s awesome ’cause he’s always looking for new training techniques to up his game. So, I think he’s come to the right place.”
Gable’s fascination with Bryan began as far back as 2002 when he first saw him perform in the indies. Now, he can’t believe he works with him on the same brand every week.
“I used to watch Daniel when he was on the independents in 2002 -2003. I got to see him at shows in Saint Paul in 2004,” he recalled. “He was a guy that resonated with me because of his size. Obviously, we were very similar in size and stature. Maybe he was my father. I don’t know! Anyway, his technical style was something that resonated with me because of my amateur career. Everything about him, I was drawn to.
“When you fast forward 15 – 16 years now, which sounds insane to say, and I’m coaching him, and I’m in all these segments with him, it’s really funny and interesting. I always say that life leads you in interesting ways. And that definitely is one of those examples. I am very fortunate.”
Before Bryan hangs up his boots, Gable mentioned on The Bump that he would love to square off with him in a technical dream match.
“That’s a dream of mine. That’s the dream match of mine,” he roared. “I haven’t gotten to the point yet in WWE where I’ve had a chance at singles championships. I want stakes to be there when I finally get that chance to wrestle Daniel. I want something to be at stake. I want a championship to be at stake. I want time and to make this a technical classic. If we get that chance, I, without a shadow of a doubt, it’s going to be a legendary classic that you look back on. People have talked about it, and it’s going to live up to [their expectations] because I will ensure that it does. I don’t waste opportunities. I take advantage of them.”
Before making their WWE debuts, Gable and Otis’ friendship stems all the way back to 2010 when they first met at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado. From there, the two have seen their ups and downs in pro wrestling, but Gable is hopeful Otis will fly high again as a singles competitor.
“I have known Otis since the Olympic Training Center in 2010. We trained together in Colorado Springs. We spent a lot of time together watching wrestling,” he said. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned through amateur wrestling is how to treat heavyweights. Heavyweights were always my best friends. I gravitated towards them, and they gravitated towards me. So, I know how to coach them and train them. My old Bulgarian coach always told me. ‘Heavyweights are like little golden eggs. You have to treat them very carefully because they break easily if you don’t treat them right.’
“So, I know how to treat Otis. We’re building him up and bringing his confidence back. He’s putting aside all those downfalls that he had in the last couple of months, which were rough. But he’s getting to the point where his confidence is back up; his levels are high, and he’s ready to go to the Rumble.”
Gable jokingly mentioned when Otis first moved up to Minnesota and how that idea came together. He recalls that Otis moved up there a week later after he brought the idea up to him.
“He’s over everyday training,” he informed. “He lives right down the street from me. When he got called up to SmackDown, I threw this idea at him to move to Minnesota, and we could train all the time. A week later, he bought a house up the street. I wasn’t quite ready for that. He’s the man. He’s my best friend, and I’m happy he did it. I couldn’t ask for a training partner.”
You can watch Chad Gable’s full interview above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE’s The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.