Splitting up American Alpha was an odd choice by WWE creative. Jason Jordan and Chad Gable were involved in some spectacular matches during their time in NXT, and the pair had a knack for generating sympathy. They always managed to get the crowd on their side, thanks in large part to how genuine they seemed whenever they were in the ring.
Nothing felt forced with American Alpha, and it seemed like they were destined for great things following the 2016 WWE Draft. They were the very first tag team taken, heading to the SmackDown Live brand. Things never came together for the duo, however.
Even when they won the SmackDown Live tag team titles for the first time, their celebration was overshadowed by the Bray Wyatt/Randy Orton/Luke Harper angle that unfolded afterward. American Alpha was eventually disbanded, with Jordan moving the Raw brand as Kurt Angel’s illegitimate son.
Jordan has struggled to find some solid footing with the crowd since the shakeup, though, and he is currently involved in a feud with Elias Sampson — who typically only goes by Elias these days.
That matchup doesn’t exactly leap off of the page at you like a Kevin Owens/AJ Styles feud, but it might be the most important program Jordan has been involved in since making his main roster debut. American Alpha’s run against the Usos was ok, but it wasn’t something that Jordan was able to get over with.
This deal with Sampson, though, is different. That’s because The Drifter has become a rather solid mid-card heel, and is one of the few wrestlers who saw little success in NXT but somehow managed to gain a foothold on Monday Night Raw. He has legitimate heat, even if the sports jokes he insists on making in every city are a little cliché.
Fans want to see Elias get beat up — like any good through and through heel character — and Jordan needs to be our proverbial fist to The Drifter’s face. American Alpha was at their peak when they were working with The Revival down in NXT. Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson are fantastic workers and know how to get heat, and it was insanely satisfying to watch Jordan and Chad Gable go over on them to win the NXT tag team titles.
Elias isn’t akin to the NXT version of The Revival, but Jordan can still capitalize on the heel’s heat by really working him over whenever they are in the ring together. One of the better crowd reactions on this past Monday’s edition of Raw occurred when Jordan shattered Elias’ guitar into tiny pieces.
This portion of the show could have been even better, though. Something just seemed to be missing from Jordan as he rolled out towards the ring. After getting hit by that same guitar a week earlier, perhaps Jordan should have been a bit angrier.
More tenacity wouldn’t have hurt in this instance. After all, one of Angle’s three I’s is intensity. Jordan needs to find a way to tap into that in the coming weeks, and he needs to take advantage of Elias’ heat while he still has the chance. This is the first real feud he’s been in as a solo star, and Jordan really needs to take things up a notch if he wants to get over. Lest he goes the route of promising but uncharismatic workers like Apollo Crews.
Jordan has the look and we know he can get over because of his time in American Alpha. He just needs to put the pieces together over the next few months, and it should start by beating the hell out of Elias.