Alpha Academy provides a lot of entertainment value in WWE.
WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard spoke with Alpha Academy‘s Chad Gable and Otis about breaking the mindset they had as collegiate athletes. Gable previously spoke to Haus of Wrestling‘s Nick Hausman about being focused on having “art piece” matches that stood the test of time. As a follow-up, Pritchard asked how difficult it was for both of them to embrace the “entertainment” side of wrestling as former amateur wrestlers.
Gable said he grew up as a total wrestling geek, so he had an especially hard time understanding the purpose of a WWE Superstar was more than just good wrestling skills.
Chad Gable: Yeah, I mean, [it was] extremely hard for someone like me. Not just because of the amateur wrestling part of it. Full disclosure; I was a total wrestling geek when I was a kid. I was obsessed with tape trading and all kinds of Japanese wrestling, Mexican wrestling, Lucha Libre. So, to me, that’s what I mean when I say I wanted everything to be this perfect art form of a match like I fell in love with.”
Gable said that a lot of overcoming that mindset involved understanding what the purpose of WWE was. He said they don’t just wrestle; they also tell stories and connect with the audience.
Gable: “We provide entertainment to various groups of people and age ranges. So it’s not necessarily — like if we’re talking about my job and what I do here for this company. It’s not always just to put on these amazing matches. It’s to [also] do those other things I just mentioned. So it was more just accepting the fact that, hey, the place you work for, you’ve got more than just wrestling to do. You’ve got a lot of other value to provide the people, and I think that was what helped me bridge the gap.”
“You just had that swagger”
Alpha Academy’s Otis said it felt more natural to him in some ways.
Otis: “I think it was kind of natural. [Gerald] Brisco could say this too. He goes, ‘He wasn’t a great wrestler, but everybody knew he was wrestling on the mat…’ That’s my impression [of him]. ‘Everybody had his eyes on [Otis] because they knew there was going to be some kind of fist fight. You just had that swagger.‘”
One thing he did need to learn how to do was control his strength and make sure he wasn’t hurting his opponents too much.
Otis: “So for me, that kind of like just, I don’t know, like just being in the ring and kind of like cameras and all that. [It] was a lot more natural, but like with the wrestling for me, it was [learning about] body control. It’s also, ‘Don’t really squeeze that hard, baby.’ You know what I mean? Make the face, but don’t squeeze too hard. There’s an old muscle memory gone wrong. So [I won’t do that anymore], unless I’m really mad at somebody like Gunther.”
Watch our full interview with Alpha Academy below:
If you use any of these quotes, please credit WrestleZone with a link to this article for the transcription.