WWE star Chad Gable remembers Nottingham well after his last trip to the city saw him expand an ever growing collection when he visited Winter Wonderland.
Travelling the globe with the world’s biggest promotion means whistle stop trips, but that was not the case when he toured with the NXT brand in December 2015.
Gable buys booze for his parents in every country his visits, a tradition going back to his days when he was an amateur wrestler who would go on to compete in the 2012 Olympics.
He will back in the city with his fellow Smackdown wrestlers on November 9 at the Motorpoint Arena and he cannot wait to return after a raucous reception last time, when he was in the American Alpha tag team with Jason Jordan.
“I remember Nottingham. It was one of the few cities we got to explore,” he told the Post.
“Most of the time on tour we go to the gym and then do the show. Nottingham was different.
“We got to see the castle and I think they had a Christmas market in the downtown area. It was beautiful.
“I always bring my mom a bottle of wine and my dad a bottle of vodka from every country they go to.
“They don’t open them but I’ve been doing it since I was 17 when I started going overseas for amateur wrestling. They’ve got almost 50 bottles now so it’s a pretty awesome collection.
“I remember that tour more than anything since I’ve worked for WWE. It was the tour that launched me and Jason.
“It was a special time in our lives because it was the first time NXT had shown another part of the world what we can do.
“Those were some of the most unique shows we’d done.
“It’s one of my favourite times of the year, coming to the UK. It’s so nice to get a different crowd’s take on what we do.
“I love performing in America, but over in the UK, we don’t go so often, so the crowd is fired up.
“You feel that and the whole roster loves it.
“Live shows are great. You get way more up close than at Smackdown filmings. We get more freedom and time to interact with the crowd. We’ll be having fun and cutting loose in Nottingham.”
Gable admits coming from an Olympic background left him with a massive challenge to adapt to playing an amped up version of himself on television after he struggled to embrace the performance aspect of his job when he signed in 2013.
“Coming in, I was big fan of technical wrestling but I quickly had to learn that is a small part of what we do. It took me a while to get to grips with that, he said.
“I credit the Performance Centre (Florida-based training centre) a lot of that. We had to do a lot of what we call promo classes and I was thrust in there from week one.
“I was thrown in front of 60 people I’d never met and it was just the most gut wrenching thing for me. It killed me every week.
“It was high and anxiety but like anything else, it gets easier week after week.”
Gable is set to be joined on the card by the likes of Kevin Owens, Randy Orton, Sami Zayn and AJ Styles. He will team up with new tag team partner Shelton Benjamin after being split from Jordan by his bosses, something he was initially disappointed by.
“I was disappointed in the fact we had a lot more to offer than we showed on Smackdown. We won the tag titles but that didn’t show what we are capable of,” he said.
“I’m very willing to try something new though. It also let me show what I can do as a singles wrestler.
“I hope me and Shelton get a chance to show our personality.
“The new team is something we’re working on. It so new to us and we have to get to know each other.
“We share the amateur background and that helps a lot. He’s considered a veteran now. He’s had a lot of success.
“He’s been stuck with a new kid and that could be frustrating for him, but we’ve had some success and he’s fully on board. I am too.
“Once we really get on the same page we’ll be formidable.”
Chad Gable will return to Nottingham on November 9 for the WWE Live European Tour, presented by WWE 2K18. Tickets are priced from £28 available now at Ticketmaster.