The names Daniel Bryan, Sami Zayn, CM Punk, Dean Ambrose, Jeff Hardy, Mick Foley and Eddie Guerrero all have one thing in common: they’re underdogs who have an x-factor that makes fans want to cheer for them.
No matter how many losses they suffer, fans want to see them succeed and see them get up from their endless poundings, take another one and continue their rise through the ranks.
The mythical ‘it’ factor of WWE is thrown around a lot and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes fans aplenty fall in love with a certain superstar, but there are similarities to the guys above that can be narrowed down.
It could be best described as a level of confidence and charisma within a Superstar balanced with a connection to the crowd formed by the crowd seeing themselves partly within that Superstar.
This is different to someone like a Finn Balor who has a similar ability to connect with the crowd, but does so through being cooler and a cut above the average fan.
With underdogs, the crowd see a guy who doesn’t look like Hulk Hogan, who isn’t as tall as Batista and who isn’t selected to be ‘the man’ within the company and they relate to him.
You only have to look at Daniel Bryan’s rise over 2013 and 2014 to see this or Eddie Guerrero in 2004 or CM Punk in 2011 or Jeff Hardy in 2008 or Sami Zayn last year and so on and so on to see that this is a tangible and re-occurring thing within the WWE and this brings us to Chad Gable’s potential.
At 5 ft. 8 and 200 pounds, Gable isn’t your prototypical WWE superstar, but he has a charm and wit about him that immediately made him stand out from others in his early days in NXT.
Gable debuted on NXT television in January, suffering quick losses to Tyler Breeze and Baron Corbin, before beginning to follow Jason Jordan around in May.
From the moment he started following Jason Jordan around, towel in hand, it was clear this guy had something, but the fact that he can back it up in the ring with a unique offense seals the deal.
Obviously he’ll need to do it for a prolonged period of time, but the potential is there.
There probably isn’t another superstar in NXT who could carry around a towel with their name on it and that be the defining thing that gets them over with the crowd. Paging WWE Shop, where are our towels?
NXT crowds don’t take as long as main roster crowds to get fully behind a superstar and at NXT TakeOver: Respect last week, Gable and Jason Jordan were met with a standing ovation when they came to the ring.
It’d be unfair to not give any credit to Jason Jordan who is as good in the ring as anyone in NXT, but it’s Gable’s charisma that has put this tag team above the likes of Dash and Dawson or Blake and Murphy.
Remember, Gable and Jordan went into that match as the heels, the crowd was not supposed to react like that!
If WWE play their cards right they have the ability to create something special with Chad Gable and yes, that’s a lot of pressure to put on someone who’s only recently transitioned to pro-wrestling, but this article is based on his potential and that is quite clearly there.
In order to get Gable to the top of NXT and thusly onto the main roster, this is how they should go about it.
Firstly, Gable and Jordan need a run with the NXT Tag Team Championships. They are the perfect candidates to dethrone The Vaudevillains and they should do so at the next NXT TakeOver in the U.K.
From there, they should have a lengthy run with the titles, turning babyface, before eventually dropping them and having Jason Jordan turn on Chad Gable.
Once they’ve been established as stars within the tag division, a feud between the two would not only produce some excellent matches, but it’d put Gable in the perfect position to get white-hot with the NXT fans as well as putting Jason Jordan in a position, as a dominant heel, where he would probably thrive.
However, and this is strangely the most important part, Gable must lose this feud with Jordan before moving into a feud with someone higher up on the NXT ladder.
Whoever that next person is, let’s say whoever the Tyler Breeze equivalent is at the time, Gable should lose that feud as well.
Re-read all the names at the top of the article and what they have in common.
None of them had your typical ascension to the top of a brand, they all suffered countless losses, some of which were inexplicable at the time, but that just endeared them to the WWE Universe even more.
Yes, losing would see Gable rise to a higher position on the NXT roster than winning would.
Between SummerSlam and main-eventing Wrestlemania, Daniel Bryan won at TWO pay-per-views.
The first one being Night of Champions where he was stripped of the title the next night due to a dodgy three-count and the other being Survivor Series, where he won a tag team match, a match where he didn’t even get the winning pin!
Sami Zayn’s first win at an NXT special was the match where he won the championship, he lost every single other match, no matter who he was facing and yet the crowd could not have been more behind him come his title victory.
This shows the formula for getting to the top in the WWE isn’t winning, it’s endearing yourself to the crowd and Chad Gable can do this with simple booking like what you read above.
A lot of hypotheticals have been discussed in this article and of course a whole lot is riding on WWE booking, which can be as reliable as Bayley’s ponytail scrunchie during matches sometimes, but the foundation is there for Chad Gable to be the hidden gem to rise out of NXT – which, mind you, is what NXT is all about.
There’s only one question left to ask…
Are you ready, willing and Gable to accept what you’ve read here? If so, make sure you share your thoughts with @CamelClutchBlog and @FeathertopDT on Twitter.