If you started watching WWE in the last year you probably only know Jack Swagger as a jobber who would be lucky to get a decent reign as a United States or Intercontinental champion.
However, it wasn't so long ago that the All-American American was considered a big part of the company's future. When he won the world heavyweight championship in 2010, it seemed like that future was beginning to be realized.
But it was not to be.
Swagger plummeted from the lofty heights of world champion to the bottom of the card, and the reasons were never really explained.
He shows tremendous promise in the ring and managed to draw some good heat with his promos as world heavyweight champion, so Swagger deserves another shot at the top.
Swagger returned to action after an extended absence, and it's now or never for him. Here are five feuds that could be the new beginning of a career that soars higher than the American Eagle...
Rey Mysterio was the man who took the world heavyweight championship off Jack Swagger, so it makes sense that he’d be a target for the new and improved All American American.
The Ultimate Underdog is getting close to 40 and has numerous nagging injuries, so it's about that time in his career where he should be used to put over new talent.
Kofi Kingston and Rey Mysterio are similarly placed on the WWE totem-pole right now, and Swagger defeated the former in his return match, so a win against the latter wouldn’t be particularly unbelievable.
With Team Rhodes Scholars splitting, Team Hell No on the verge of a break-up and rumors circulating that the Prime Time Players may be dissolving soon (F4Wonline, via wrestlinginc.com), Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara will soon be the most credible team in the WWE.
Creative could use this potential feud as an opportunity to pair Swagger with someone and create a new tag team to have a program with the duo of masked grapplers.
Swagger would be further established and the tag team division could get another team out of this feud, so it should happen sooner rather than later.
When JR was discussing Bruno Sammartino’s recent Hall of Fame induction announcement, he noted that back in the day the goal of every wrestler was to have their “run” with Bruno because that meant big money and big exposure.
Times have changed, but a similar thing can be said about John Cena.
Swagger is obviously not ready to take on the leader of the Cenation now, but if WWE book him well he could be a believable opponent for Cena around SummerSlam or even after WrestleMania.
Of course, we’re more likely to see Zack Ryder end Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak than we are to see Swagger go over Cena, but the beauty of this potential feud is that he doesn’t need to win.
The two have proven in the past that they can put on good matches; if they can have a feud that consists of two or three terrific matches it will be enough to put Swagger back on the map.
Granted, this program could be easily booked incorrectly and end up hurting Swagger, like how Cena hurt Ziggler, but Swagger could possibly come out of this rivalry a made superstar.
Those are the two ends of the spectrum, but most likely Swagger could make a transition from a losing effort to Cena to being booked strong on the upper-midcard.
One of the reasons it’s smart for WWE to give former superstars on-screen positions like general manager and commentator is that they can return to the ring and put over talent.
Jerry Lawler has been doing this for years, and Booker T did wonders for Cody Rhodes back in late 2011.
When Lawler steps into the ring it’s a foregone conclusion that he’ll lose, but Booker T is a fair way away from that point, so a feud with him and Swagger could be very healthy for the All American American.
It would be easy enough to book—Booker doesn’t give Swagger a place in the Elimination Chamber, Swagger lets out his frustration by attacking the GM and they go on to have a match at ‘Mania.
Booker T is no spring chicken, but he’s still very capable in the ring and these two could very well put on a solid match, and a win for Swagger would be a massive step in the right direction.
After his return in late 2011 Kane was put in several high profile feuds with the likes of John Cena, Randy Orton and CM Punk, and for the last six months he and Daniel Bryan have lit a fire under the tag-team division as Team Hell No.
Despite how strongly he’s been booked for the past year, most of Kane’s career has been spent putting over younger talent.
Huge stars like Edge, Batista and Chris Jericho have all used feuds with Kane to springboard to greater things. Swagger could be the next star to do this.
With a break-up imminent for Kane and Bryan, it’s possible that creative will begin to reuse Kane as an old hand to put new stars over.
There are few ways to make Swagger look more impressive than to have him defeat the Big Red Machine, especially considering the great year Kane has just had.
Randy Orton is currently in a strange place.
He’s been in the upper-midcard for about six months now, sporadically putting over stars like Barrett and Del Rio, with a heel turn apparently in the works the whole time (F4Wonline, via wrestlinginc.com).
The heel turn, however, never seems to come.
Numerous writers on this site have expounded various reasons why Orton should turn heel and reclaim his spot on the main-event, and it’s almost been seen as a sure thing that this will happen by the time WrestleMania rolls around.
If it doesn’t, however, Swagger could benefit massively from a win over Orton after ‘Mania season is over.
The apex of the All American American’s career was when he defeated the Viper cleanly at Extreme Rules 2010. Unfortunately, things quickly went south after that for Swagger, but Orton putting him over one more time could be the beginning of an ascent to a new apex.