At WrestleMania 29, Jack Swagger will have the biggest match of his career when he takes on Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship.
It’s an amazing turnaround for the star. After all, he has spent most of the last three years floundering in WWE’s lower midcard as little more than a joke.
Thanks to his new manager Zeb Colter, a renewed push and a controversial gimmick, though, he’s been brought back to prominence in the company.
WWE clearly thinks it has found something in Swagger and Colter’s anti-immigration gimmick. No doubt the Glenn Beck furor—and the mainstream publicity from sites like TMZ that inevitably came with it—has helped convince management of this.
Hopefully, though, the company will not decide to boost the star all the way to top and have him snatch the title from Del Rio from April 7.
First of all, his recent DUI arrest renders him wholly unsuitable to be champion right now.
Come on: WWE is an image-conscious corporate company with sponsors and advertisers to appease. Can it really make Swagger its champion—and face of the company—after such an embarrassing incident?
Let’s face it: Swagger as champion isn’t exactly PG. The company would look very hypocritical if it handed him the title after what happened.
Even ignoring Swagger’s recent personal problems, there’s the simple fact that his xenophobic character doesn’t seem to be taking off with audiences.
OK, the Glenn Beck deal got WWE some publicity, but it still doesn’t seem like a red-hot angle, especially listening to the flat reactions the pair garners from the crowd.
Del Rio is undoubtedly part of the issue. He’s yet to truly develop into a great babyface character, and it seems difficult for the people to truly get behind him.
The heavy-headed nature of the storyline surely doesn’t help matters, either. It feels like an angle that WWE is using to get people talking short term, but it has no real future in the long term.
However, Swagger’s stiff, awkward performances are also a detriment.
Sure, Zeb is a great talker—even when he’s stuck with awful material—but what does Swagger bring to the table exactly? He’s not much more than the one-dimensional midcard act he’s always been—he’s just got management behind him now.
Of course, it’s possible we’re being unfair with Swagger.
Hey, at least it’s a fresh face in the main event scene, and a couple of his in-ring performances—Elimination Chamber, in particular—have been decent.
It’s not like ending Del Rio’s lackluster title reign would be the worst thing in the world, either.
But the cringe-worthy nature of the “We the People” gimmick (why does WWE insist on trying to dabble in politics?) combined with the DUI should rule out a title victory for Swagger at WrestleMania 29.
The World Heavyweight Championship is already struggling to remain relevant and prestigious—booking makes it clear that the WWE Championship is the real major title in company—it doesn’t need a Swagger reign too.