Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger have been tabbed as the newest rivals for Lana and Rusev, putting the Real American in a position he has never been in before—the good guy.
Swagger has been a fixture in WWE since he debuted on the now defunct ECW brand back in September 2008, but he has gone that entire six-year span without being a babyface. The time for a change is long overdue.
Other than guys such as Kofi Kingston, it's pretty rare for a Superstar to go that amount of time without being tested as both a heel and a face. Even perpetual good guy John Cena served as a heel in the past.
Colter has almost exclusively operated as a heel manager in WWE, with clients such as JBL and The Blu Brothers, but now he also finds himself in the same unfamiliar position of being cheered.
While Colter's anti-immigration rants have been getting good heat for his clients, having Colter and Swagger operate as faces is the best possible move for Swagger's career.
Swagger has won the world heavyweight title, but he has never truly gotten over as a heel. Colter helped legitimize him, but he still did not have that edge you need to be taken seriously as a bad guy.
In an article I published in October of last year, I called for The Real Americans to be used as the newest patriotic gimmick in WWE. While I can't take credit for the turn, it's good to see it finally happen, albeit without Cesaro.
WWE has a long history of patriotic babyfaces, from veterans such as Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Hulk Hogan and Lex Luger to more recent stars such as Kurt Angle and even Big E. Swagger joins a long list of red, white and blue warriors, but he has to tread lightly.
Being a patriot can sometimes lead to a stale gimmick. Angle was forced to become a heel when WWE fans turned on him during his initial run, but he eventually proved himself to be worthy.
While Swagger can easily get the crowd behind him as the defender of America against the evil Russian heels, it shouldn't be his only crutch. He is going to need to rely on his technical ability and power more than ever. Luckily, he has plenty of both.
Will Jack Swagger succeed as a babyface?
The segment between Swagger and Rusev on SmackDown really showed how Swagger embodies the "less is more" approach. He didn't say a word and barely moved a muscle. He just had a thousand-yard stare that bored holes through the massive Bulgarian Brute.
Rusev backed down and left with Lana, while Swagger silently stared right at him. He said more with that look than Colter could have with a thousand words.
Fans have been saying "We the people" for a while now, but they were usually cheering for Cesaro while booing Swagger. The tides have shifted, and it now looks like the crowd is ready to embrace Swagger.
Not only could he be positioned as the first man to put down Rusev, but he may also find himself being taken seriously as a top talent again.
It's a little premature to start calling him the next WWE world heavyweight champion, but he could get there eventually, especially since his technical ability is far better suited for a babyface.
Swagger has all the makings of a great babyface. Now, it's up to him to prove it.
What do you think? Can Jack Swagger get over as a babyface? Is he the best person to hand Rusev his first defeat?
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