Where Does Jack Swagger Fit on the Road to WrestleMania?
When Jack Swagger debuted in WWE, it seemed like the former NCAA star was primed for success, being pushed right off the bat on the ECW brand with a six month long undefeated streak and winning the ECW World Heavyweight Championship just over five months after his debut.
After a successful run in ECW, Swagger was moved to the Raw brand, where he’d win the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania XXVI, granting him a future World Title shot over the course of that year. “The All-American American” cashed in his contract five days later on April 2, 2010, defeating Chris Jericho to capture his first and currently only World Heavyweight Championship.
After a poorly booked 82-day reign, Swagger began to spiral down the WWE ladder, eventually forming a partnership with Michael Cole as a part of the Texan commentator’s feud with Jerry “The King” Lawler leading up to WrestleMania XXVII. A few weeks later, Swagger ended his alliance with Cole and, three months later, was recruited by Vickie Guerrero as a part of her stable alongside Dolph Ziggler.
The arrogant American’s partnership with “The Showoff” would last a total of nine months, with Swagger winning the United States Championship on one occasion as a part of Vickie’s stable. After his connection to the villainous pair ended, Swagger embarked on a three month losing streak, ending with Swagger walking out on then-Raw General Manager AJ Lee and taking a five month break.
After months without any mentions of Swagger or even a remote hint of when he was set to make his return, the former NCAA star made his return on the February 1 episode of Friday Night SmackDown with a newfound mean streak, making his intentions for the World Heavyweight Title known and then making quick work of Kofi Kingston.
The following week, Swagger, now calling himself “a real American,” would rename his patented ankle lock the Patriot Act, making former rival Santino Marella and former WWE Tag Team Champion Justin Gabriel tap out with the vicious hold.
As we all know, WrestleMania 29 is in a little under two months and all that we know so far is that John Cena will challenge for the WWE Title and that the World Heavyweight Champion’s opponent at the Show of Shows will be the winner of an Elimination Chamber only consisting of former World Champions.
While not officially announced, it is pretty much confirmed that Jack Swagger will be in the match one way or another, fighting out a shot for the World Title at the same show where he won Money in the Bank three years ago.
Although the possibility of Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio is very tempting, both men being tremendous wrestlers and all, it doesn’t seem like a money match, leading me to believe that “The Real American” will not be the victor of the bout and, as a result, will not be involved in the World Title picture at WrestleMania.
This would leave Swagger with little to no direction heading into the “Showcase of the Immortals,” but surely WWE would not have the one-time World Heavyweight Champion return to be involved in some sort of throwaway and/or multi-man match at WrestleMania 29. WWE has committed their share of idiotic mistakes in the past, but I doubt that they would go so far as to bring back someone on the Road to WrestleMania, give them a big push and then dropping the ball on them just a few weeks later.
Personally, I’d love to see Jack Swagger face Daniel Bryan. It would be a great technical match and with some solid booking, it would make for a very good upper mid-card feud. However, there’s no chance of that happening with Bryan caught up in a tremendous storyline with his Team Hell No partner Kane.
Other scenarios that are possible include “The All-American American” facing a returning Christian or a returning R-Truth, with all three competitors having nothing to do at WrestleMania at the moment.
Here is my choice: I would have Swagger face Randy Orton at WrestleMania. I know that several reports from wrestling-related websites have stated that Orton will turn heel to face Sheamus at WrestleMania, but I don’t see the necessity for it to happen so quickly. Sure, Orton is stale as a heel, but you also want to give people an incentive to tune in after WrestleMania. Along with that, Sheamus already has a storyline going on with The Shield that is really just getting started.
You can easily have Swagger attack some low-tier face and Orton come out for the save or just have Swagger call out Orton or attack him from behind during some kind of match. With Orton theoretically turning heel after WrestleMania 29, Orton can put Swagger over in his last big match as a face. It wouldn’t hurt him, as evidenced by how he has put young lions such as Wade Barrett over clean several times, and would give Swagger some much-needed credibility as he kicks off this heel run.
Swagger can be a big star for WWE in the future, but that’s up to WWE. They have dropped the ball on him several times, but I truly believe that now is the time for Swagger. With WrestleMania looming in the background, it’s time to see if Jack will regain his swagger.
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