When it comes to squandered talent in WWE, former World Heavyweight champion Jack Swagger may be the most egregious example.
With his size (he's 6'7'', 260 Ibs), obnoxious heel charisma and decent in-ring skills, he is, on paper, everything Vince McMahon could possibly want in a main-event star. He even conjures up flattering comparisons with a young Kurt Angle (Swagger's arrogant athlete gimmick is somewhat similar to the character Kurt played on WWE television in 2000 and 2001).
Sadly, Swagger hasn't been pushed as anything remotely close to a young Kurt Angle. After his (decent but unspectacular) World title run two years ago, he has sunk down the card, finding himself relegated to the role of comedy jobber for the likes of Brodus Clay and Ryback.
Per the storyline, a frustrated Swagger quit Raw a couple of months ago, telling then-GM AJ Lee he felt he was wasting his time and his talent (a shoot comment if ever there was one). He hasn't been seen on TV since. He has, however, re-surfaced on the recent house show circuit, competing in a match at a show in Trenton, N.J. (via the Pro Wrestling Torch).
So, what's going on?
Well, in this week's (subscribers-only) Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer notes that the star has been pulled from Raw to get repackaged and, ideally, revive his stagnant career:
The reason Swagger was taken off television is that they were going to repackage him and give him a push upon his return. The feeling was he needed time away since they had beaten him constantly for so long.
Hopefully, WWE scribes can come up with something good for Swagger when he returns. Because it's going to take a lot of good work to undo the damage the company has done to his credibility over the last few years.