No Superstar in recent WWE history has been booked worse than Jack Swagger. Not even Ryback…and he certainly is a poster boy for horrible handling.
Not even the great Wayne Keown – a.k.a. Zeb Colter and Dirty Dutch Mantel – can put the guy over. And Keown is considered one of the master storyline tellers of all time in pro wrestling.
With his athletic ability and amateur wrestling background, Swagger easily could have been a second coming of Kurt Angle. And with his “Aw-shucks” Oklahoma country boy looks and demeanor, Swagger could have had tremendous appeal even to the casual wrestling fan.
Nope. WWE opted to play off his size and strength, and make him a pompous “All-American American.” The character, however, never got the heat that a true heel needs. Even his reign as World Heavyweight Champion was pretty much one of the biggest yawner title reigns in the company’s history.
WWE has tried to showcase him in all kinds of programs. They team him with another wrestler, and he winds up putting his partner over (see Dolph Ziggler and Antonio Cesaro) while remaining at a career standstill.
There also was his run as Michael Cole’s “trainer” for the announcer’s match with Jerry Lawler at WrestleMania 27. He looked more out of place than the Big Show on a theme-park kiddie ride.
WWE even handed him a plum program assignment as the number-one contender to Alberto Del Rio’s WHC title. He rewarded their confidence in him by going out and getting busted for DUI and pot possession in Mississippi. It would have been a public relations nightmare for WWE to put its then-number two belt on a man facing DUI when the company has done so much community work with groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Swagger even disappeared from WWE for several months. Guess what? No one noticed – or probably even cared.
Now he is in a position to once again stand and watch as yet another tag team partner passes him by. Cesaro has dazzled everyone with his brute strength, “Cesaro Swing” spinning move and overall ring finesse, while Swagger stomps and stalks the ring like a gorilla in a cage. These “Real Americans” are headed for a break-up that will hit its high point at WrestleMania XXX. Unfortunately for Cesaro, that showdown probably will be on the pre-show thanks to the man he is facing.
Bill Atkinson is a contributor to Camel Clutch Blog and the owner of WrestleWatch, a family-friendly wrestling web site. Follow Bill on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963 and visit WrestleWatch at www.wrestlewatch.com.
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