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Jack Swagger in the Right Place at the Right Time

Jack SwaggerAt this time last year, Jack Swagger was an afterthought in WWE. His only appearances on television were as comedy fodder for Santino Marella, which is an entertaining gig, but not one that most fans like me wanted to see him in. He got his big break at WrestleMania, winning Money in the Bank and cashing it in, in what was then record time two days later (five days later in storyline) on Smackdown.

Despite his new found main event status, he still had growing pains, and he wasn’t treated like a real World Champion. Despite that fact, he was pretty much treated well by the bookers. Yeah, he lost a lot of matches to main eventers, but he was always given time to work on SmackDown. At one point, he was given his own mascot, the hilarious yet too-short lived Soaring Eagle.

Even with all the increased exposure, until Monday night, Swagger was still in a holding pattern. Granted, it was a holding pattern that got him on SmackDown regularly rather than Superstars if he was lucky, but they weren’t really doing a whole lot with him. Until Monday night, as I wrote two sentences ago. Swagger was revealed as Michael Cole’s trainer in his WrestleMania 27 match against Jerry “The King” Lawler. The reveal segment ended with Swagger locking Lawler in his ankle lock submission finisher, much to the dismay of the crowd. I thought it was a well-done segment and for now, a come-up for the All-American American. Judging from folks blowing up my Twitter timeline and the message board scene, I may be in the minority here.

Yep, in true cynical smart fan fashion, there were those amongst the diverse throng of opinions in cyberspace who were disappointed that Swagger was “taking a step down” and not getting a better match for WrestleMania. With all due respect, those people don’t know what they’re talking about. Cole/Lawler is a top three feud going into WrestleMania, and while that may not sound like a big deal given its between two announcers, well, fan reactions are always off the charts for both Cole and Lawler, two of the most over personalities in WWE right now. If you’re going to be inserted into any feud, this is the one to latch onto. Yeah, The Rock is currently melting faces involved with John Cena and The Miz, but that’s a full boat already. However, Cole and Lawler? Yeah, that ship’s still boarding.

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Being paired with Cole provides for plenty of opportunities for Swagger to get over with WWE crowds. For one, Cole is a heat magnet the likes that don’t exist in the company outside of Vickie Guerrero. If any of that association causes a better crowd reaction for Swagger, then it’s a win right there. Two, there’s the possibility of Swagger and Cole being featured in awkward training montage segments, which I personally and wholeheartedly approve of. Third, Swagger is only the trainer for Cole in this situation. He’s in a situation where he doesn’t have to wrestle and is not the one jobbing. Four, if he does wrestle in the lead up to the big event, it’ll most likely be against Lawler, who at 62, is still one of the elite workers not only on the WWE roster, but in the entire USA.

Besides, what else was he going to do that would have been as high profile as this feud and match is and will be? He’d be a third wheel in the Alberto del Rio/Edge proceedings, and really, if there’s going to be a third guy in that match, it can be only Christian. (OR ELSE I RIOT!) Rey Mysterio’s already tangled up with Dashing Cody Rhodes. Big Show is going to deal with the Corre. That leaves Money in the Bank, which for Swagger is “been there, done that” territory. Even if he did win the briefcase again, he’d be lost in the shuffle going into the match again. The entrants usually aren’t announced until right before the show, and he’d be sharing spotlight with nine other guys beforehand. However, being the primary wrestler involved in a feud between announcers? That leaves a lot more exposure on the table to be consumed by Swagger. Even if it doesn’t guarantee him a shot at the title, he’ll come out of it with more heat than he did going in. When you’re over, you’ve got a better shot of making it to the main event without heavy gimmicking, and to me, that’s far better elevation than being stuck with a briefcase in an attempt at getting somewhat over.

Jack Swagger is in the right place at the right time. Being Michael Cole‘s trainer right now will do more for him and his character than going into Money in the Bank cold, winning it and becoming a shock Champion last year ever did. For those who are discouraged by this, don’t be. Swagger is going to be fine, and you could argue that he’s got the most to gain out of anyone else on this card. Trust me, that’s not a bad place to be.

Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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