Jason Jordan DDS?
If WWE SmackDown Superstar Jason Jordan wasn’t wrestling, he could very well be performing a cleaning, a filling, an extraction or even a root canal.
That’s right. Jason Jordan - Doctor of Dental Surgery.
Not the Isaac Yankem type but an actual white coat wearing, gum and tooth professional with office space, elevating chair, X-ray machine, clamps, drills, needles, and other dental instruments...as well as a degree in dentistry planted in viewing range on the wall.
So when he opted for pro wrestling instead, was there any thought of creating a Dr. Isaac Yankem DDS gimmick?
“[Chuckle] The thought actually crossed my mind, when I was in FCW [WWE’s developmental],” Jordan said. “We threw out a lot of different character ideas, and for me, being there for so long, you have to throw a lot of things against the wall. That was something that definitely ran through my mind at some point.”
Jordan found something else that worked, and now he will be performing another type of surgery, carving up opponents in the ring when SmackDown visits the BB&T Center on Friday, June 9 in Sunrise, near Fort Lauderdale. The BB&T Center is the NHL home of the Florida Panthers, which features two big time WWE fans -- defensemen Jason Demers and Keith Yandle.
“All of our shows have a family friendly environment,” Jordan said. “They’re a lot of fun. I think it’s something special coming back to Florida. NXT didn’t run Fort Lauderdale a whole lot, but I think it’s going to be cool to see a lot of the guys and girls who came up in NXT and have now made it to the main roster. From traveling throughout Florida [with FCW and NXT], and now going back with SmackDown will bring a special feel to that show.”
That show at the BB&T Center will also feature all the champions on the SmackDown roster and more.
Tickets are on sale.
BB&T Center Box Office, www.ticketmaster.com or charge-by-phone at 800-745-3000.
Jason Jordan, 28, was a three-sport athlete -- excelling in baseball, football, wrestling -- for Andrew High School in his hometown, Tinley Park, Ill.
Jordan was a four-year letterwinner in wrestling. He placed at the state tournament in his junior and senior years. In Class 2A, he finished sixth in the state in 2005 at 189 pounds. The following season he placed third in the state at 215 pounds, sustaining his only lose that season in the state tournament quarterfinals to the eventual state champ Joe Fagiano, 9-7, of Chicago-St. Patrick.
Jordan also excelled off the mat, diamond and gridiron. He was a member of National Honor Society, made the Honor Roll consistently and graduated high school with high honors.
For the 2006 MLB Draft, Jordan, a pitcher, learned through talks with pro team reps/scouts that the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins expressed interest in drafting him in the later rounds.
“I was going to get drafted out of high school [for pro baseball],” he said, “but I decided to wrestle in college instead and pass up on the baseball opportunity. It was definitely the right fit for me and got me to WWE. So it worked out well.”
After weighing his options, Jordan signed an NCAA Division I scholarship to wrestle for Indiana University. #GoHoosiers.
“It was a pretty hard decision at the time, because I really did enjoy playing baseball,” he said. “It was a sport I started playing when I was 5-years-old. So there was always an initial love for baseball.
“I wasn’t really thinking that wrestling in college would get me to WWE. I didn’t think about it at that point. It was just one of those things that the opportunity was there, and the school was the right fit, and I liked the individual aspect of wrestling compared to baseball. So I took that route, and it worked out.”
Wrestling for Indiana, Jordan was ranked Top 15 in the nation three consecutive years. He was described as a unique and impressive athlete, weighing 225 pounds while competing at the 285-pound weight class. He used speed and agility to overcome his bigger opposition.
In his senior year (2009-10), Jordan went undefeated in the regular season at 35-0, earning him a ranking of second best wrestler in the nation. He finished 38-3, completing his wrestling career with 89 victories, a runner-up finish at the 2010 Big Ten Tournament and three trips to the NCAA Championships.
During the 2010-11 season, Jordan became the team’s student coach and continued to grind it out in the wrestling room on a daily basis, helping to improve Indiana’s heavier weights, while completing his biology degree.
Jordan graduated Indiana in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and minors in chemistry, social science and medicine. He put attending dental school on hold to pursue his dream of professional wrestling, thanks to WWE Hall of Famer Jerry Brisco.
“I have nothing but great things to say about Jerry Brisco,” Jordan noted. “He came to the Big 10 Tournament and the NCAA Tournament my senior year, and after that wrestling season, he got in contact with me, and he got me hooked up to go to Tampa and have a tryout at FCW in 2010.
“I told him prior -- and some of the talent relations with WWE -- that I wanted to finish college. So I went back to Indiana and coached a year while completing my degree. After that, the opportunity was still there to sign the [developmental] contract with WWE, and I signed in 2011.
“Jerry Brisco is the whole reason that I’m having the career that I’m having now.”
Jack and Jerry Brisco, Brock Lesnar, Dolph Ziggler, Shelton Benjamin, Angle, Gable, Jordan and more transitioned successfully from amateur wrestling to the pro ranks.
“There are constantly amateur wrestlers making that transition,” Jordan said. “It’s a good fit. It’s very similar as far as physicality. Amateur wrestlers, it gives them an opportunity for something to continue in the sport, after their amateur careers.”
His American Alpha teammate, Chad Gable, made the U.S. Olympic team in wrestling in 2012. Putting the two amateur wrestling standouts together worked well.
“Dusty Rhodes was a huge mentor of mine,” Jordan said.
The American Dream helped develop talent in FCW and NXT. Jordan started his wrestling career at FCW in Tampa, before it became NXT with the WWE Performance Center in Orlando.
Jordan continued: “[Dusty] definitely helped me get me to the point where I am now. He’s somebody who’s always believed in me, and he’s had a huge influence on my career.
“Also, he’s the whole reason why Chad and I were put together. It was his idea, and we definitely owe Dusty Rhodes a huge thank you, because if it wasn’t for him, there might not be an American Alpha.”
It seemed so apropos that they turned heads in a tournament named for their mentor.
“The first time we were in the ring together it was definitely like magic,” Jordan said. “There was something there, and we knew there were only good things to come from there.
“Then we really hit our stride and kind of took off from that NXT TakeOver: Respect [in October 2015], when we had a match against Baron Corbin and Rhyno in the [semifinals of the] Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. From that moment on, we’ve been on the rise, and it’s been a great run for us so far.”
With the support of the NXT Universe, they climbed the ladder. At NXT TakeOver: Dallas on April 1, 2016 during WrestleMania Weekend, American Alpha defeated The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) to win the NXT Tag Team Championship.
It didn’t take long for American Alpha to make its mark on SmackDown Live either. Gable and Jordan defeated The Wyatt Family [Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper] to capture the SmackDown Tag Team championships in a four-corner elimination match, also featuring The Usos and Heath Slater and Rhyno, on Dec. 27, 2016 edition of SmackDown Live from the AllState Arena in Chicago.
“That was incredible because obviously being in the ring with Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper, those are three guys who are going to be well recognized in the WWE history,” Jordan said. “To be able to win the titles from them and especially to do it in Chicago, where I’m from, made everything surreal. It was an amazing, amazing time.”
A special Homecoming for sure.
“Chad and I both had family there,” Jordan said. “My mom, my dad and my niece were front row. Chad had his mom, his dad, his wife, his baby girl. They were all front row as well. I had a lot of friends in the crowd, too. It couldn’t have gone any better.”
In March, the Usos beat American Alpha for SmackDown tag team gold.
A reason to bring American Alpha to SmackDown from NXT during the draft in July was to elevate tag team wrestling on SmackDown Live.
“I think the SmackDown tag division is really getting some steam going,” Jordan said. “I think there were some trades that switched things up, with the superstar shake-up [in April], and I think we’re really getting some steam going. It’s been a really competitive division, and hopefully there are more things to come as far as the tag division on SmackDown.”
Pro wrestlers on the indies is where they pay their dues. Jason Jordan never wrestled on the indies, but he sure did pay his dues. He spent five years in WWE developmental, before getting the call to the main roster. He proved during that process that hard work, perseverance, a positive attitude and patience can pay off.
5 More Minutes
JV: Did you watch the movie “Hoosiers” and was that a prerequisite to attend Indiana University, even though it’s not about Indiana University?
JJ: “Even though it’s not about it, you definitely feel like you should. I think that’s actually around the time frame that I did watch it. I had always seen clips of it, but I think when I finally signed to go to Indiana, I watched the entire move before I went to school there.”
JV: Did you meet Bobby Knight?
JJ: “I have not, but I’ve seen all the historic sites throughout Indiana University,” Jordan said. “It would be pretty cool to meet Bobby Knight.”
JV: What does American Alpha mean to you?
JJ: “It’s important to us, because we definitely feel like we’re a good representation of America. Not to steal Kevin Owens’ words [chuckle], but we could be the face of America. We always see ourselves as the alphas, the alpha males of WWE and the tag division. I just feel like it’s a perfect fit for who we are as individuals and as a tag team.”
JV: Kurt Angle, who had a stellar amateur wrestling career culminating with an Olympic gold medal, is the WWE Raw general manager. What would it be like to work with him -- a fellow amateur wrestler, professional wrestler, sports entertainer?
JJ: “I think that would be incredible. Both of us were fans of Kurt and appreciated his work with WWE. His career, he’s in the WWE Hall of Fame. That speaks for itself. He deserved that so much. It would be great to kind of be taken under his wing and get his input and insight on how we can make the best out of our careers and hopefully take a similar path as him.”
Team Angle II?
- WWE SmackDown in South Florida
WWE is returning to South Florida with a WWE house show (no TV) as part of its SummerSlam Heatwave Tour, featuring SmackDown superstars on Friday, June 9 at the BB&T Center, home of the NHL The Florida Panthers in Sunrise, near Fort Lauderdale.
WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal (c) w/The Singh Brothers vs. Randy Orton
United States Championship Match: Kevin Owens (c) vs. AJ Styles
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos (c) vs. The New Day vs. The Colons
Special Attraction Match: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler
Also Scheduled to Appear:
SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi, American Alpha, Charlotte Flair, Baron Corbin, Natalya, Sami Zayn, Carmella, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, Becky Lynch, Mojo Rawley, Sin Cara, the Ascension (Viktor and South Florida’s Konnor) and more.
Tickets: $119.25, $94.25; $69.25, $49.25, $34.25, $24.25. Additional fees may apply.
BB&T Center Box Office, www.ticketmaster.com or charge-by-phone at 800-745-3000.
Card is subject to change.
For suite and premium seating, call 954-835-7828.
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