Allow me to speak for Alpha Academy fans everywhere real quick. When it comes to tonight’s Intercontinental Championship match between GUNTHER and the Headmaster of the Alpha Academy, Chad Gable — Ah Thank Yoooooooouuuuuuuu, WWE!
This is an opportunity that is a long time coming for Master Gable. Excluding the 24/7 Title from the conversation, his match against the Ring General on the Aug. 21 Raw will be his first televised opportunity at singles gold since he lost a United States Championship match to Kevin Owens on an episode of SmackDown in 2017.
That was his first, and to date only, shot at capturing a singles Championship in WWE. Again, that’s just counting those title fights that were televised, but even adding in house shows, the opportunities have been rare.
Only two other times has Chad Gable even earned a Championship match on a WWE Live Event, and those two matches happened just last month.
Knowing tonight’s match with GUNTHER was potentially on the horizon, Cageside Seats spoke to Chad Gable at the SummerSlam Press Junket in Detroit about the possibility for another singles run.
“I’ve been begging for this for a long time, from everybody in our company, to get my chance as a singles guy. To prove it, because I sit at home during the week and I’m like, I’m so ready,” Gable said. “I’ve gotten to that point where I’ve surveyed the scene. I’ve looked at everyone else on the roster, and I know I’m ready to be that guy. To prove myself as a singles [competitor].”
The former amateur wrestling Champion and Olympic athlete has been primarily featured as a tag team specialist since signing with WWE nearly 10 years ago. His first big story in NXT surrounded the formation of American Alpha with Jason Jordan, after his first partnership with Tye Dillinger (now AEW’s Shawn Spears) dissolved.
It’s been a revolving door of partners for Gable over the years. In addition to Dillinger and Jordan, Chad has tagged with the likes of Bobby Roode, Shelton Benjamin, Mustafa Ali and now his number one guy, Otis. Each team achieving varying levels of success with Gable becoming a 4-time WWE Tag Team Champion.
His lone singles push, came in 2019 under the ill-fated Shorty G gimmick. Nickname aside, that run did see him make the King of the Ring tournament finals, then defeat the newly crowned King Corbin at Hell in a Cell.
Gable’s run would quickly fizzle out, however. He competed in a couple major multi-man matches before losing to Sheamus on the 2020 Royal Rumble pre-show. Over the summer, Shorty G would turn heel and actually align himself with King Corbin, but the story was eventually dropped.
It was a stretch that Gable’s said was a low point for him. But the night is always darkest before the dawn. Not long after, he would get his true in-ring name back and start up the Alpha Academy with his good friend Otis.
The pairing allowed Gable to really blossom as a performer, perfectly blending his in-ring technical skills with his comedic chops and mic skills.
Members of the WWE Universe have hopped on the Gable appreciation bandwagon in droves in recent months, and following his 5-minute challenge with GUNTHER on Raw a few weeks back, that adulation was amplified to eleven.
“We’ll take the five minutes and make it the best thing on the show,” Gable said, knowing full well it would leave the fans wanting more. “What that’s gonna do is just tease people. It’ll give people just a taste and be like, we gotta see more of that. And I hope that’s what I left them with, because trust me, I want more. I want more of that as much as anybody does. And everyone talks about who’s gonna be the guy to take that [Intercontinental Championship] from [GUNTHER]. And man, I’m gonna make it my mission.”
While both GUNTHER and Gable justifiably received their flowers from the fans, so did Gable’s old American Alpha tag team partner Jason Jordan, who was listed as the producer for their match that night.
Jordan was forced to retire from in-ring competition back in 2018 due to a neck injury, but he’s now found success working behind the scenes in WWE. While Gable would obviously love it if he were still able to compete alongside his longtime partner, he’s thankful that he still gets to work with Jason in any capacity.
“The coolest thing about it has just been, being able to maintain my relationship with him, because we got so close man,” Gable said. “Whenever I see his name and I get to work with him that day, it’s like a blessing dude. Because he knows me. He knows my style and he knows my personality. He knows when he’s gone too far or when not to even go there and just leave it. And he is very like, lenient because, he knows we get it. We have the same mentality as amateur guys coming in and GUNTHER’s a pro man. So like, he was very helpful, but also like, not overly pushy. He’s just the man, dude. He is a pleasure to work with.”
Hopefully when Gable arrives tonight at Centre Videotron in Quebec City, he sees Jordan’s name on the board backstage one more time. Why not try to recreate that magic? Just this time on a grander scale.
While he’s made it his mission to leave Canada tonight with some gold in his luggage, as previously stated, just getting this Championship opportunity was accomplishing a mission all on its own.
Actually capturing the title tonight — no disrespect intended to Master Gable — seems like an extreme longshot.
GUNTHER is in the midst of the most dominant and significant run as Intercontinental Champion this century, and is just a couple of weeks away from etching his name in the WWE record books. The Ring General is 17 days shy of breaking the Honky Tonk Man’s record for longest reign with the workman’s title
Win, lose or draw tonight for Chad Gable, Alpha Academy's stock is on the rise. Gable should be in line for more singles opportunities in the future, as should Otis and the Academy’s Rookie of the Year — Maxxine Dupri.
The former Maximum Male Models CEO has been thriving since enrolling in the Alpha Academy, now a perfect 2-0 in her young career as an in-ring competitor. There’s no hyperbole in that statement by the way. This storyline is based in truth, as Maxxine is only a few months into her training.
“She’s delivering on every level, you know, physically in what we do and she’s not used to that. So it’s a very unique kind of story in this company. I don’t think we’ve seen it, if we have very rarely, in the past where someone’s legitimately learning on the job. [Learning] how to wrestle in front of that many people and for her to be able to maintain composure and do it with the level of dignity that she is, it blows my mind. I mean, she’s already been through a table. I can’t tell you how long it took me to do that.”
Cageside Seats also had the pleasure of chatting with Maxxine herself during the SummerSlam Press Junket. We talked about that table spot, learning under the Alpha Academy, how her dance background has helped her in the ring and whether something with Carmella could be in the works — whenever the Staten Island Princess is ready to return to action after giving birth to her first child.
Read our entire Q&A with Maxxine Dupri below:
Disclaimer: The questions themselves have been edited to provide additional information and better fit the written format.
Cageside Seats: It’s been a big few weeks for you here in the run up to SummerSlam. You’re on the heels now of your first official matches in your wrestling career. Heck, one of your biggest bumps was is in the Viking Rules match and you went through a table. What’s the experience of the last few weeks been like for you?
Maxxine Dupri: It’s wild. It’s like a pinch me moment on all levels because it’s like, ‘How did I get here? Why am I going through a table? What is happening?’ But at the same time, I’ll do anything for my boys [Otis and Gable] and if that means putting my body on the line and doing my best to protect them, even though [Valhalla] got that one up on me, it’s what it is.
CSS: It’s still so early in your wrestling career. You signed with NXT and were very quickly brought to the main roster as Maxxine, but you were injured at the time. To be able to get some work in the ring and now get a couple matches under your belt, how are you feeling about everything?
Maxxine Dupri: It feels so good. It’s so much fun to do this and it’s really, really special that I have the Alpha Academy in my corner. I’ve been learning so much from them and I’m growing and I’m just trying to prove myself, you know? And I know that I have so much to learn and so much growth ahead of me, but I’m just grateful for this moment and to be where I’m at right now.
CSS: And the crowds have been with you, which goes to show that if it’s done well, simple storytelling can really work. Something as simple as you learning an arm drag and then doing it in the ring. Or recapturing your letterman jacket that you got at graduation. The live audiences have been responding to these moments.
Maxxine Dupri: What’s really cool about it, is that this really is authentic. I really am learning. Like, I don’t know if some people knew that we didn’t just build it like that. I did like one live event for NXT, but this truly is my first match and these are my first big moments. And I think with it all being very authentic, that’s what makes it so fun to watch. Like those big moments where I’m smiling and hugging [Gable and Otis], I truly am like, ‘Oh my God, I did it! I survived. We got through it. Like, thank goodness.’ So I think that the people really feel that.
CSS: You have a lengthy performance background. You’ve been a dancer since you were three years old and were a competitive dancer for years. One thing that I’ve personally noticed is how quickly you’ve adapted to the performance aspect of this business. Fair to say that the character work comes a bit more natural to you than the in-ring side of things?
Maxxine Dupri: Absolutely! [laughs] I love to perform. Performing has been my passion since I was so young and I love to connect with people. I just think that side of it is, it’s really just so enjoyable. I just get so much joy off it. And I think the athleticism side is where it’s hard because you’re learning a new craft. I’m a competitive girl, but I think it’s different competing in something I started when I was three as opposed to something I started, you know, two years ago. So it’s this learning process where I’m learning new craft. I wanna be great [in the ring]. I don’t ever wanna do something halfway.
CSS: And stating the obvious here, but wrestling is not easy. I know some people pick it up quicker than others, but it’s a tough racket. When I was training, one of the first lessons that I was taught was that a match was more like a dance than a fight. I have three left feet. I cannot dance what-so-ever. Getting the footwork down was a real struggle. Has your years of dance experience helped you out much through this process of transitioning into an in-ring competitor?
Maxxine Dupri: I think it has to an extent because having an athletic background, whatever it is, dance or whatever, obviously that does help. But it’s still so different. It helps with like, just being mobile and all those things. But I think the actual craft itself is so unique, that unless you’re in there doing it, nothing else really compares.
CSS: Have you had a chance to kind of pick Carmella’s brain at all? She’s someone who has a very similar background and has made the transition you’re going through now. Former dancer, Patriots cheerleader, Laker girl and now WWE Superstar.
Maxxine Dupri: Yeah, she was one of the women that I really admired on Total Divas and that’s where I realized she had the same background as me and watching her journey was so special. She’s such a beautiful soul, inside and out. And I’m so excited for her and this new journey that she’s on. I love watching her on social media. I’m also excited for her to come back one day and I hope that I get to share the ring with her. She’s someone that I really, really want to work with, because we have such similar backgrounds. I’m excited for it.
Check out our entire conversation with Chad Gable and Otis in the video at the top of the page. Can the headmaster of the Alpha Academy capture his first singles Championship tonight and stop GUNTHER’s soon-to-be record breaking reign dead in it’s tracks?
Tune in to Monday Night Raw tonight - and follow along in Cageside’s live blog - to find out, starting at 8pm ET on the USA Network.