What athletic adopted child doesn’t wait for the day that their birth father – an Olympic gold medalist and sports entertainment legend – stands before a national audience and introduces them as the “serious consequence” of “an action in my past?” It’s no wonder Jason Jordan (real name, we think: Nathan Everhart) was beaming as he came through the Raw curtain last night, eager to embrace his chromed-domed DNA daddy Kurt Angle in a segment that can best be described as somewhat more sentimental than Alexa Bliss’ “This Is Your Life” ode to Bayley (which WWE cannily lets live on in bootleg form despite more or less redacting it on official streaming channels).
It was the big payoff on a mystery that had barely been marinating – i.e. Raw GM Angle frets about career-defining personal news, seeks only the meddlesome Corey Graves’ consult – but had generated sincere interest and speculation among fans and bloggers. One popular consensus was that circumstances would conspire to initiate Stephanie McMahon’s onscreen return. Though by the big reveal, rumors had it that Jordan could be implicated in a classic illegitimate-child shocker. Or perhaps, more likely, that his American Alpha teammate Chad Gable would be Angle’s kayfabe kin. (What, a guy can’t have biracial biological and adoptive parents?) And given how Gable’s branched off from his SmackDown partner in recent weeks – making name for himself in the ring against none other than A.J. Styles and hamming it up in backstage bits – all signs pointed to teary man-hugs between Jason and Kurt.
In light of Raw creative’s hits and misses in recent months (Dean Ambrose’s bear schtick was grizzly, to say the least), this daytime talk-worthy reunion – which recalls cozy McMahon family memories like Vince begetting Hornswoggle – should have been a hard sell. And the moment of truth was, if we’re being honest, anticlimactic. But as a development with evergreen value, particularly in an era where so much of WWE programming winks cynically at reality, there’s a perverse kind of genius to dropping this kind of classically dramatic gimmick square in the middle of a busy SummerSlam season and seeing how it can spin itself off. It’s certainly a worthy moonshot amid what otherwise feels like an awful lot of storyline purgatory on Raw these days (poor Seth Rollins).
And shed no tears for Gable or SmackDown. This might appear to be a win-win for Jordan and his new home on Monday nights, and it’s absolutely a leg up for the 28-year-old talent, who has spoken openly of emulating his new primetime pops. Gable, however, has acquitted himself just fine since starting to wean away from he and Jordan’s Alpha-duo pairing, a corny nonstarter that got them in the door and even an ephemeral title run, but got crowded out once New Day and Breezango cornered the Tuesday market on babyface teams with flare.
Now Chad can hang solo with SmackDown’s much more wide-open singles division, and Jordan can head down the path toward a no-brainer heel turn against Kurt. Because if WWE loves anything more than a happy ending, it’s the slow build till someone starts making their loved ones’ existence a living hell.