Over the past several months, Jack Swagger has been on a losing streak that would even make Heath Slater snicker. But after telling Raw general manager A.J. Lee that he'll be taking an extended period of time off from wrestling, perhaps he can finally return to relevance in due time.
Not only is Swagger accomplished in a kayfabe sense as a former Money in the Bank winner, ECW Champion, United States Champion and World Heavyweight Champion, but he was also one of the nation's best amateur grapplers in high school and college. So he has the pedigree needed to succeed in the WWE.
Say what you will about Swagger's charisma or mic skills, but he has excellent size and can work circles around many of his counterparts. Swagger is also incredibly underrated in terms of his in-ring ability, as he is capable of working a good match with essentially any superstar in the company, regardless of their body type or style.
Swagger was at his high point when he won the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania XXVI. And he successfully cashed it in on Chris Jericho two nights later on SmackDown. Swagger seemed primed to establish himself as one of the company's top guys, but he was booked absolutely atrociously.
He scored a good, convincing victory over Randy Orton at Extreme Rules, but the writers then proceeded to have him lose non-title matches to Kofi Kingston, as well as lose via disqualification to challengers such as Big Show and Rey Mysterio. Swagger wasn't getting over as champion, so the belt was then transitioned to Mysterio.
Is Jack Swagger able to be salvaged?
The thing of it is, though, that even the best wrestlers aren't going to get over properly if they are constantly losing as champion. Since losing the title, Swagger's success has been marginal at best, as all he has since to show for it is a brief foray with the United States Championship.
Swagger last won a match three months ago on Superstars over Zack Ryder. It has been even longer than that since he won on Raw or SmackDown. That is why his pending absence is welcome from my perspective. I consider myself to be one of Swagger's biggest supporters, but even I can admit that he's on the fast track to future-endeavor town.
Struggling superstars are often booked to go on long losing streaks before ultimately bouncing back, and that is my hope for Swagger. It's not exactly a booking theory that I would endorse since it essentially brings Swagger back to square one, but it has worked for some guys in the past.
The main thing that I believe Swagger needs to do when he comes back is revert to his persona back in 2008 and 2009 when he was a brash, cocky, young star taking over ECW. A lot of people want him to abandon the All-American American gimmick, but I feel like it works as long as he allows his personality to shine a little bit.
Since losing the World Heavyweight Championship, Swagger has focused more on intensity than entertainment value, and it really hasn't gotten him anywhere. We know that he does have some personality, as evidenced by the hilarious trophy promo he gave while he was world champion in 2010, but he just needs to make it known.
Also, I would give Swagger a manager. He has been torn down so much that I'm not sure what can possibly be done to make people care about him immediately upon his return. So why not put him back with Vickie Guerrero? The writers made a major blunder by keeping Dolph Ziggler with Vickie rather than Swagger, so why not rectify the situation and have Vickie lose her right to manage Dolph?
Failing that, I could see Swagger and John Laurinaitis possibly teaming up. Swagger did compete for Team Johnny at WrestleMania, and they had a loose affiliation prior to Laurinaitis' termination, so it would make sense. Also, Laurinaitis has nuclear heat with the crowd, so his mere presence would be a great service to Swagger.
I'm not saying that Swagger should return and become world champion, but if the WWE follows my suggestions and builds him the right way, then there is no reason why he shouldn't be in contention for the company's top titles at some point.
Swagger is simply too talented and has shown too much promise in the past to allow him to fall by the wayside. Unless the creative team makes some tweaks, however, that is precisely what will happen.