The less it seems WWE cares about someone, the less the WWE Universe will. Just as a guy like Curt Hawkins. It isn’t Swagger’s responsibility to write the show and since he’s only an actor on the program, he can only do what he’s told, so if he’s told to sit back and hang out behind the curtain, no wonder you’ll look at him in a few months and think he hasn’t accomplished a damn thing.
If WWE couldn’t figure out anythingto do with this guy over such a long period of time despite having 3 hours of Raw, 2 hours of SmackDown and an hour of NXT every single week as well as that many writers on staff, that’s a problem with the company itself, not Swagger. He just happens to be one of the many people suffering from a lack of creativity, along with Breezango, The Vaudevillains, Curtis Axel, and others.
When looking at a guy like Hornswoggle and how they’ve kept worse people around for longer periods of time and maximized their use of them, I see no excuses why they couldn’t at least keep someone with Jack Swagger’s history as a regular on-screen wrestler on one of their three shows.
The Case for Jack Swagger’s Fault
Let’s face it, Jack Swagger didn’t make some aspects of this job easy for himself.
Oftentimes, charisma outweighs in-ring talent. If you have a marketable look or you can sell yourself on the mic, you tend to go farther than someone who is bland but can light up the ring. That is why less people know who Lance Storm is than Ultimate Warrior.
Swagger has never been and will never be the next Roddy Piper or The Rock. His lisp was something that made him start with a negative score and he still hasn’t quite translated any of his promos into a more believable dialect instead of coming across as very clearly memorizing lines written by someone else—a problem with many people in WWE today, but an abundance of it doesn’t excuse Swagger from being one of those without the talent to transcend it.
He basically has no character whatsoever. We’re talking about a guy whose trademark for months was to point at his smile. That’s it. Riveting. I guess I’m supposed to hate that guy for having nice teeth? What am I, the gingivitis monsters in a dentist office cartoon for toothpaste?
He went from being “The All American American American American” (aka “guy who wrestled before”) to being “The Real American” (aka “guy who wrestled before and has a racist manager”) to…well…he’s still doing the whole Real American thing, just without the two other people. The most recent incarnation of his character which he’s kept for a few years is just to be an American guy who happens to wrestle, but also conveniently never wears that sweet American flag attire he had that one time.
Outside of his size and the built-in athleticism, he has nothing else to offer. He isn’t particularly interesting looking, he’s not a talker, and he isn’t SO great in the ring that he’s irreplaceable.
Then, there’s the behavioral side of things. You can’t get popped for a DUI and possession of marijuana—which goes against the company’s Wellness Policy on top of being a public relations issue—without expecting negative consequences. When Emma seemed to be wrongfully terminated for “stealing” an iPhone case and it turned out to be a misunderstanding, she was brought back into the company, as those kind of freak accidents happen, but the same doesn’t apply to Swagger, who did it at the worst possible time, too, jeopardizing their plans for WrestleMania.
He hasn’t even compensated for that, either. Where’s the workhorse mentality that someone like The Miz or John Cena or Dolph Ziggler exemplifies? I don’t see Swagger popping up on WWE Network shows left and right, doing promotional tours and charity events and such. In a way, that could be seen as sucking up, but in another way, it’s just doing one of your jobs as an ambassador for the brand and someone who shows initiative. It proves that you care in the growth of the company and you aren’t just looking out for yourself, which in turn will give others a sense that you’re fighting alongside them in the trenches and not just collecting a paycheck.
Also, while I said before that at times, people aren’t given opportunities, Swagger did have the ECW Championship, the World Heavyweight Championship and the United States Championship. A one-shot title reign could be excused, but for all three to not lead to anything memorable is a bit suspicious. If you’re tossed in the deep end and you struggle to stay afloat, but you’re trying really hard, you might be saved. If you sink right down to the bottom, maybe swimming isn’t a skill you have. Perhaps Swagger missed out on his calling, which would be less on the sports entertainment professional wrestling side of things and more in something like UFC, where he’d excel based purely on his athleticism and nothing else would be a factor.
The End Result…
No matter what led to this point, it all boils down to Swagger being a future official release from the company. WWE will move on without him and he’ll figure out something else to do, whether it’s outside of the business or in another company like TNA, ROH or NJPW, and it will be interesting to see how well he succeeds elsewhere.
Both sides are at fault for various means, as this clearly isn’t a case where someone was entirely held back from their potential, nor was Swagger a dud of an acquisition that WWE just couldn’t do anything with. He has his flaws and WWE didn’t find a way to mask them while promoting his positives, nor did Swagger adequately fix those problems on his own.
The best thing to come out of this would be if WWE officials sit back and assess the situation and try to figure out where they went wrong so they don’t replicate the same scenario with other people in the future, while Swagger can go find another way to fulfill whatever it is he’s looking to accomplish. If both sides mature enough, they’ll meet back down the road another time.
What is your opinion of this whole situation? Are you on a particular side or do you think it’s a shared responsibility? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!