After fighting and clawing up the rankings of WWE’s developmental brand, the duo — known as American Alpha — finally struck gold WrestleMania week. Jordan can recall himself and Gable, along with their opponents, The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder), going into the match with high expectations for themselves.
“We feel like we are rejuvenating the tag team division,” he said, just days away from American Alpha’s title rematch against The Revival at NXT TakeOver: The End Wednesday, June 8, at 8/7CT on WWE Network.
“It was so important for us to go out there and have a phenomenal performance,” Jordan continued. “Leading up to that, I was really anxious. I was excited, nervous. By the time we got out there and feeling the fans in that building it was absolutely incredible. It was a really good feeling to be able to live in the moment and feel the energy that was in that building. Our fans are the most passionate fans in sports entertainment. So it was so nice to be able to have the appreciation of the fans and to get the recognition from them.
“When they chanted ‘You deserve it!’ at the end, to hear the genuine emotion they gave back to Chad and I and Dawson and Wilder — it was so surreal to me. At that moment, I felt everything paid off. Everything that led up to that point in my career so far finally paid off. I got the recognition not only from my peers and coaches and everyone in WWE, but it was important to get it from those fans. The passion they show, it’s not easy to win them over. I think we did, and it was a great feeling.”
American Alpha has developed a growing fan base with its string of stellar outings in the ring, building solid admiration over time. Jordan could feel the pendulum swing in their favor in a losing effort versus Baron Corbin and Rhyno at a TakeOver special last year aptly titled Respect.
“It was a really good match,” he said. “There were a lot of people pulling for us because it was in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament. From that point on, we started having some really good matches on NXT. We had a bit of time for longer matches and proved that it wasn’t just a fluke and that we are going to give it our all every time we get out there.”
With their ring attire, amateur wrestling backgrounds and explosive style, the team has been compared by many within the WWE Universe to the Steiner Brothers. Jordan cites Rick and Scott as a point of study with other greats like the Rockers and the Rock N’ Roll Express. They also spent time in the ring with Billy Gunn, a tag team specialist who was coaching at the time. It was easy for Jordan to see early on he had an innate chemistry with Gable.
“I think one of the nicest things from my perspective about Chad and I teaming up was that I feel I was able to be myself,” he said. “I was finally able to open up personality wise. I felt like before we got together I was still trying to find myself. I was trying to find that character or at least my in-ring personality. When Chad came around we were doing some backstage interviews. We would have our matches, and I would get so comfortable. I had this safety net with Chad. He was this little bit goofy little brother type tag partner.
“I know at the beginning he was always trying to get us to be tag partners. I think his personality and how he is a little bit goofier and not afraid to be a dork. He brought that out of me because that is a big part of my personality. I’m a little bit goofy. You wouldn’t necessarily expect it from me, but he has definitely helped me be myself in front of the camera and really open up.
“It’s something we never really had to work on. It was literally from day one us being ourselves and interacting with each other as we would on a daily basis. It was just a lot of fun. I think being able to have fun and not over-think really is what allowed me to blossom with my personality.”
Another way fans got to know Jordan beyond just being a gifted athlete through “Breaking Ground.” The 27-year-old was among those featured on the WWE Network documentary series following various up-and-comers. During the course of the show, fans were able to learn about Jordan’s professional tribulations, as well as his brothers’ run-ins with the law.
“I am glad it’s out there,” Jordan said.
“It’s my back-story with my brothers and everything. It wasn’t easy growing up. I’m not saying I had the hardest life growing up, but I had certain events that have happened and my brothers not making the best decisions all the time. That definitely molded me into the person I am today. I’m glad I have that opportunity to put my personal life out there because now I feel there are so many people out that have similar problems in their life. I feel that can resonate with them.
“They can see you don’t have to follow the path that your family has kind of carved out for you. You can take your own path. My dream was always to be a sports entertainer. This is the company I’ve wanted to work with since I was five or six years old. It was the whole reason I got into amateur wrestling. It’s really nice actually because I have gotten good feedback on social media telling me they have a similar story and I help inspire them to chase after their dreams.
“I wanted everyone to know we carve our own path. No matter what your background or where you come from or whatever challenges you have to overcome, it’s always a possibility to chase after your dreams. I’m glad that Breaking Ground gave me that opportunity to put that out there.”
The master of the hot tag is excited what’s to come, especially coming off the announcement of a brand split with Raw and SmackDown becoming separate entities on USA Network. He believes NXT will have a huge impact.
“There is going to be a need for more and more talent,” Jordan said. “I think NXT can definitely carry the burden of producing top-tier talent. I think because how hot a brand NXT is, we’ve proven that we can take that workload and show everyone that we have some of the greatest superstars in the world. I think the brand split will be good for everyone as a whole. I think more NXT guys will get opportunities on Raw and SmackDown.
“But as guys move up I think we have a great crew of talent at the Performance Center that are working their butts off to get on NXT. As the movement happens and talents move up, these guys can finally get a chance to show what they can do. There’s only so much you can show when you are not on TV because some of our live events in Florida have a maximum of 200 or 300 people we can hold in a building. So to have that exposure to such a worldwide audience, I think it will help evolve the sports entertainment industry period.”
There is a buzz about American Alpha these days with fans excited about their futures. Jordan is ready, willing and Gable (couldn’t resist) to get people talking even more at TakeOver: The End.
“I don’t there is any added pressure going into this one,” he said.
“I think the first TakeOver we wrestled each other we added a bit of pressure on ourselves because we wanted to break through and show the talent we have, all four of us. Now that is out there, I don’t think there is any added pressure. We want to continue to evolve this tag team division and show that we are two of the best period. So I think TakeOver will give a glimpse into that. We are two extremely competitive teams.
“We are all extremely driven. We love sports entertainment. I just don’t believe there is so much added pressure. I understand there are these expectations, but we 100 percent believe that we can definitely steal the show at TakeOver. That is our goal. Our goal is to steal the show at TakeOver: The End and continue to put the tag team division on the map and NXT. Of course, we want to push the talent on Raw and SmackDown and show them what NXT can do. That competitive nature that we all have is definitely going to be good for the brands. I think it’s going to take everything to a whole new level.”
- The second season of “Swerved” will also premiere all nine half-hour long episodes on WWE Network June 6, immediately following Raw. This is the first time WWE Network will do a binge release for a show on-demand. Swerved, directed by Jeff Tremaine (Jackass, Bad Grandpa), is a half-hour series that combines the worlds of comedy and sports entertainment as WWE Superstars play hilarious pranks on the WWE Universe.
- Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN.