In wrestling, perception is reality, especially when it comes to size. “Seven-footer” is a gimmick, not an accurate reflection of a wrestler’s height.
You can’t teach being seven foot tall, but as the six-foot-nine Bill Morrison knows, you can fudge the numbers.
If Kane is seven feet tall, then so is Vince Vaughn.
And if The Undertaker was nearly seven feet tall, then Giant Gonzalez would have to be eight feet tall…
…which is how he was billed!
The 6’3” Billy Gunn, on the other hand, never played a “giant” character…
…and it’s too late to start now, even though he towers over much of the AEW roster.
It would be nice if wrestlers’ heights were at least accurate relative to each other…
…but that’s rarely the case.
Gimmick heights apply to the lower end of the spectrum, too. Whether you’re billed as under six feet depends on whether you’re deemed a “small guy” — not vice versa.
Christian, former Light Heavyweight champion and Edge’s little brother, was listed in video games as 5’10”, or one inch taller than Tazz.
On the other hand, the 6’0” Adam Cole (pictured here with the 6’1” Pat McAfee) has never played a “small guy” character.
What I’m saying is, a wrestling promotion can give a wrestler any height they want, and fans will buy it. For WWE’s Chad Gable, that height was “shorty”.
Overnight, everyone came to view Gable as a stumpy little guy. (Except the US Patent and Trademark Office, which had known months in advance)
Chad Gable’s height problems began in 2019’s King of the Ring tournament…
…where, according to every backstage interviewer, Gable was universally considered the underdog.
In a tournament featuring four other cruiserweights, the triple-crown tag team champion Gable was deemed the runt of the litter and the longest shot to win.
His opponents knew it, too. Shelton Benjamin posted a custom-made sign on the locker room door just to tell Gable he was short…
…then broke his months of silence by calling him “Shorty Gable” and pretending he couldn’t even see him.
This made Shorty Gable very sad.
Soon, all of Gable’s King of the Ring opponents were dunking on him (which was easy because he was so short).
Samoa Joe, who wasn’t even on Smackdown, dropped by to tell “Bilbo” he’d look like a baby on the throne.
Elias quoted Randy Newman at him.
Even Zelina Vega called Gable, “little guy”.
And Shane McMahon razzed Gable by dropping to his knees to make it a fair fight.
All this “underdog” talk could pay off if WWE’s short king became its official monarch, but no.
In the finals, Gable came up… well, you know. Yet he came away from the tournament with a prize more valuable than any crown and scepter: the self-confidence to live his life as the munchkin he was.
King Corbin continued to make short jokes about Chad Gable, leading to a match at Hell in a Cell. There, His Highness dubbed Chad, “Shorty Gable”…
…but Shorty Gable emerged victorious.
So why did the ring announcer call him, “Shorty Gable” after the match?
And why was everyone still calling him Shorty Gable on the next Smackdown?
And why did he lose right back to King Corbin?
A week later, when WWE aired a video package to introduce new viewers on FOX to the former Olympian…
…it was nothing but a compilation of put-downs, ending with Gable moping on the mat.
Post-match, the diminutive Kayla Braxton called Chad, “Shorty Gable” like it was the most natural thing in the world…
…before the 5’8” Gable recounted his hardships as a man of slightly-below-average height.
He gladly accepted the Shorty Gable name, with one caveat: he’d change it to Shorty G — because it’s shorter, like him.
Ettore Ewen is under six feet tall, too. They call him Big E.
But Chad Gable? He was a shortified G and a bona fide dud, and you can teach that.
Like Slam Master J before him, Shorty G adopted an urban vibe. For Olympic wrestler Gable, this meant basketball gear.
Really tacky basketball gear with a big ol’ neon G on the front. Shorty G was out to prove he was no joke, even if every aspect of his presentation said otherwise.
Shorty G’s new Titantron logo featured a big G with hashmarks representing fractions of an inch.
And still the short jokes, which had never come up before that summer, persisted. It’s as if drawing everyone’s attention to how short you are, makes people think you’re short.
Undeterred, Shorty G launched a new motto for dealing with the haters: Rise Over Size, which is embarrassing in any context you could imagine.
Yet Shorty G liked it so much, he put it on a t-shirt that absolutely no one would ever wear in public or private.
It took Shorty G a year-long title & PPV drought — and a string of squashes — before he denounced the gimmick as crap on the air.
It seems WWE realized there could be money in marketing a legit Olympic wrestler with charisma. Who knew?