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Can the Swagger Return?

WWE
Real AmericansIt’s been reported that the WWE will eventually turn Antonio Cesaro face and give him a push as a singles’ guy. This will likely come on the strength of the amazing crowd interest and participation that he builds with that Giant Swing. (We even saw signs of a face Cesaro on Raw as he whipped the crowd up once they started cheering for a swing—a heel rarely incites the crowd positively) But after the eventual split of a good tag team, what will be left of the former WHC hope, Jack Swagger? I think Swagger can be a viable singles’ star, but it will take a massive effort.

They gave him the moniker “Jack Swagger,” but at this point, it’s nothing more than a name. The man’s character was predicated on the notorious blustery, boastful nature of an accomplished natural athlete who has all the presence and self-assuredness of a champion. Earlier this year, Swagger’s character lived that name with reckless abandon, but that’s no longer the case. He maintained his push for a bit after the DUI, but you had to figure that the PG WWE wouldn’t let Swagger get away with a DUI without paying for it at some point. There’s a limit to how far the PG WWE will push a guy who has a legitimate mugshot in the top 10 results of a Google image search for his character’s name.

Thus, we don’t see the guy who oozes confidence, we see the guy who usually takes the pinfall when his tag team loses. We don’t see the guy who’s fearless and cocky, we see the guy who does little to impress while Cesaro and Colter shine time after time. We don’t see the wrestler who was supposed to be Kurt Angle’s successor in terms of translating amateur wrestling dexterity to professional dominance, we see the guy doing penance for an egregious error during the push of a lifetime. We don’t see the man ready to conquer the world with the ferocity of a cagey, skilled wrestler, we see someone struggling to gain relevancy in the landscape of the WWE.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThat Swagger’s legs have been cut from under him is not a surprise, but Swagger was Vince’s pet project, and the prevailing notion was that Vince’s pet projects almost always get some level of prominence and leeway. Fandango lost his steam with creative after the concussion, and Swagger may have lost that completely with the bust. If longtime wrestling fans feel like they’re watching a repeat of a story they’ve seen with Swagger, it’s because they are. Before Swagger’s repackaging and win streak, he went on a lengthy streak of enhancement talent appearances that made you question how they could talk him up so highly at the announcer’s table and yet book him so poorly. It was as if your eyes saw something that betrayed everything you were being told. Swagger hasn’t won a singles match on Raw or Smackdown since May 2013, but beyond that, he’s rarely even featured in singles matches on any WWE programming, while tag partner Antonio Cesaro has had multiple matches in the past few months on Main Event, NXT, or Superstars.

If there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, this is it: Swagger doesn’t lack any of the tools needed to have resounding singles’ success and to become the champion that was derailed by outside of the ring issues. The intensity, wrestling ability, size, and no-frills personality are all still there. His singles run must occur with the help of Zeb Colter, however, as Zeb is the reason that Jack’s push was so highly discussed and highly visible. Zeb and Jack create a dynamic, stirring duo, because Zeb’s prowess on the mic matches Jack’s dynamic ability in the ring. But if Swagger goes on another lengthy dominant streak after the tag team splits, will fans be interested again or would they feel indifferent due to the confusion and mental fatigue from the see-saw booking that would have his character jump from Alpha male to doormat back to Alpha male over the course of 12-18 months?

SwaggerTo return Swagger to his former level of prominence will take a substantial shift; there’s a lot to overcome. Either he’ll have to have a signature on-screen moment with his character that turns him around (Zeb laces into him or an opponent berates him) or find a new dimension of his persona—e.g., sadistic Swagger and Zeb decide to get hands-on with their concept of protecting their idea of America and start to mercilessly attack random people at will.

At 31, Swagger is young, so everything that he’s gone through—lackluster World Title reign, multiple stints of persistent jobbing, weak booking—can be fodder for success down the road. I can’t pronounce doom over his career, because I respect his ability, but he’s had multiple chances at this point, and should be a two-time World Champion, not the weaker part of a solid tag team. Has he doomed himself past this tag team by short-circuiting the push that would have crowned him World Champion earlier this year at Wrestlemania? Would you be interested in Jack getting his swagger back once he’s solo?

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  • Trey Doss

    i’d love to cesaro vs swagger when cesaro turns good considering i had wanted swagger to comeback as a face and fight cesaro

  • Bite Me You Loser

    Swagger has the talent to move up. What he lacks is aggression. He tries to be cocky when he should be vicious. He should be losing by DQ more often than pinfall or submission. He has a (excellent) voice in Zeb Coulter so for the meantime be focusing on in ring interests until he starts working on mic skills. Perhaps a babyface turn in the future to show off his playful side (Remember he used to sing along with his old theme).

    • Edward Ritlop

      In a word-no. Not unless he gets a new name & has to be a kick-ass serious babyf ace a la Kurt Angle. Even then I doubt it’d work

    • JMD

      I am probably just crazy for thinking this, but i wonder if his mic skills don’t hold him back. that had to be at least a decent reason they now have him managed by Dutch Mantel. Not that killer stick work is a pre-req for a big push, but it goes a long way. Otherwise, you need a great manager. Don’t know if I’d call Mantel a great one-certainly not now, maybe not ever.

      the talent is there though. there’s just a career epiphany that swagger needs to have before he kicks in that next gear and becomes the talent that WWE believes is there.

  • TomClarke01

    Once the team breaks up, the guy who keeps Zeb Colter as their manager will get a push immediately after.

  • CatchWrestler

    Swagger always seems to be the weakest part of a tag team. He was with Ziggler and now it’s happening with Cesaro. It sucks because the WWE could use a bizzaro Kurt Angle.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aMVlNPjpbI The Devourer of Dimensions

    420 says no. Damn you Swagger, you had a World title run coming up and you blew it!

  • Rahul

    What would be interesting is: Colter and Swagger start to accuse Cesaro of being UnAmerican and being similar to the people (in each city they go) and also an immigrant, of course. Cesaro will break away slowly while Swagger keeps Colter so he doesn’t get pushed down the card again. They can build Swagger as one of the main event heel on Smackdown (along with Sandow if they don’t turn him face) and Cesaro, along with Cody and Ziggler can be face main event contenders for the World title. Add Christian and there you have 6 brilliant guys fighting for the World title which will no doubt make it legit again.

  • Phiruse

    Swagger just needs to more dangerous in the ring and have a better Winning streak. And avoid putting him in any tag team.

  • Danny Morgan

    unfortunately he has been his own downfall. the most recent was his DUI killing his post wrestlemania push, but the most frustrating one believe was when he killed his character that got him the WHC n the first place. As soon as swagger pinned Y2J his swagger was gone and his on tv persona and charisma dwindled and thus his momentum has never been as good as it was. shame he seems to have got nearly the full package. but now people within wwe will look to work on people like roman reigns who are yet to make mistakes

  • puckdinah1

    Swagger used to be one of my favorite’s to watch…when I see him now, he just does not do it for me

  • Alpha_Omega

    Only if you can roll it into a joint.

    • YoungAngryMan

      BOOOOOOOO.

  • JH

    Swagger reminds me of young Randy Orton. Not only because of his DUI, but all the talk before about his fines for pot. He’s got a golden ticket because Vince loves him like HHH loved Randy, but he just needs to grow up and mature before the office will truly get behind him.

  • Iron Mike Sharpe

    I think they messed with a great gimmick. Him and Web were way over, but they pulled the rug at Wrestlemania. I know why they did, but looking back it was the wrong thing to do. Swagger would’ve brought prestige to the WHC.

    Hopefully down the road we can see Swagger vs Cesaro matches. Those should be awesome.

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