No one had a bigger roller-coaster year than Jack Swagger. From United States champion to number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship, Swagger has skyrocketed back to the top.
Swagger began 2012 as the United States champion when he defeated Zack Ryder on the Jan. 16 edition of Raw. He lost the title to Santino Marella on the March 5 edition of SmackDown. He then went on a three-month losing streak, which began in June. On the Sept. 3 edition of Raw, Swagger informed then-GM AJ Lee that he would be taking some time off.
Swagger eventually returned on the Feb. 1 edition of SmackDown, when he demanded Booker T to put him in the Elimination Chamber match. Later that night, he defeated Kofi Kingston.
On the Feb. 11 edition of Raw, Swagger entered with his new manager, the xenophobic Zeb Colter. He beat Zack Ryder that night and earned a spot in the chamber match. Swagger last eliminated Randy Orton to earn a shot at Alberto Del Rio’s championship.
When Swagger returned, he had the same theme song and attire. He received little heat. However, the introduction of Colter changed Swagger and brought out a new side to the “All-American American.” Now with a new moniker, “A Real American,” and a hatred for those not born in this country, a feud with Del Rio was imminent.
A Mexican sympathizer and champion and a heel who dislikes foreigners is a simple, yet topical, storyline. This feud is pushing the envelope a tad and could be interesting if it’s done correctly. Swagger’s win and new gimmick is being used to get more fans behind Del Rio as a face and current champion.
Swagger’s win also means that a Superstar doesn’t have to do much to earn a title shot. Swagger won two televised matches and then the Elimination Chamber match. There has been no reference to his three-month losing streak, only his last loss to Sheamus in September. When WWE wants to push someone, they throw him right into the thick of things. There’s no build, no climbing the ladder.
With Swagger’s win, the World Heavyweight Championship picture is even more crowded. There is Del Rio, Randy Orton and Sheamus on the face side. Then there is Big Show, Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler (technically, because of his briefcase) and now Swagger on the heel side. You can also include Daniel Bryan if you wanted to.
Swagger winning the chamber allows for some fresh matchups for the World title. I think we’ve seen Sheamus vs. Big Show, Del Rio vs. Big Show and Orton vs. Del Rio enough times to last us a couple of years.
Now, all of this will mean nothing if WWE doesn’t follow through with the push. I’m not saying that Swagger should win the title at WrestleMania. I’m saying that if he loses, he will not benefit from being back in the mid-card shuffle. There are even more Superstars in the mid-card that Swagger could easily be lost.
Jack Swagger may not be the best talker or entertainer, but his current gimmick definitely has him standing out from the rest of the crowd. Zeb Colter is a great mouthpiece for Swagger and this new gimmick. It will be nothing short of compelling to see how the Del Rio/Swagger storyline will play out.