WWE Smackdown emanates live from the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul Tuesday night, and there will be a Minnesota native among its top stars.
While University of Minnesota wrestling alum Brock Lesnar steals the spotlight as the "hometown favorite" when he appears with the WWE in the Twin Cities (even though he's from South Dakota), the man going by the name Chad Gable is the real Minnesotan deal.
Gable is one half of "American Alpha," lining up along with fellow former amateur wrestler Jason Jordan for the WWE Smackdown brand, where they don't just compete as a tag team, they compete as the tag team champions.
He's really called Chas Betts from St. Michael. After showing interest in wrestling from an early age, he came through the top-quality youth wrestling program at St. Michael-Albertville High School, winning a state championship in 2004, the Pioneer Press reported.
He then won a scholarship for Greco-Roman wrestling at the University of Northern Michigan's Olympic Education Center.
If you take a look at some of the newspapers from five years ago, Betts was a regular feature as the then 25-year-old qualified for the London 2012 Olympics by winning an all-Minnesotan final in the 84-kilogram Greco-Roman class, beating Northfield native Jordan Holm.
He unfortunately didn't make the medals in the Olympics, with SB Nation reporting he fell to Cuban Pablo Shorey Hernandez in the quarterfinals, though he still described the experiencing of competing at the Olympic level as "amazing and kind of unreal."
Making it to the WWE
Olympic wrestling talents don't go unnoticed by the WWE, with gold medal-winner Kurt Angle counted among its legends. And in 2013, Betts signed a developmental contract that saw him head to the WWE's Performance Center in Florida, Philly.com reports.
Two years later, Betts appeared as Gable in the WWE's wildly popular developmental brand NXT where after some persuasion, he convinced Jordan to form the tag team that became American Alpha, wrestling with the slogan, "Ready, Willing and Gable."
After a successful run as NXT tag team champions, they were called up last year to the big leagues, being "drafted" to the Smackdown brand where just five months later they won their first tag team titles (which you can watch below).
Gable told the WWE that for all his Olympic aspirations, he actually dreamed of wrestling for Vince McMahon's promotion first.
"During my junior year of high school, a wrestling school near my house hosted their own version of ‘Tough Enough,’ (a WWE reality show) which I won. I got the rest of my training there for free as my reward," Gable said.
"The training mostly consisted of myself and my friend Kurt Pope going there by ourselves and rolling around after school and just trying to teach ourselves. I had a few matches, but had to stop when the high school wrestling season came around."
You can catch WWE Smackdown live on USA Tuesday at 7 p.m. Alternatively, you can pick up some tickets, which start from $20.