In this world of pro wrestling, where Internet websites so often break stories before they are actually aired, the recent face turn of Jack Swagger was one of the most pleasant surprises in recent months.
Swagger has made an entire career (with some success) out of performing as a heel, and nobody ever really questioned what it would be like if the WWE gave him a prolonged run as a babyface. However, the company played a real waiting game with Swagger's face turn to ensure it was done correctly, and you have to admit that it initially succeeded.
The emergence of Rusev as a real anti-American rebel undoubtedly had Swagger and Zeb Colter banging on the door of WWE Creative, begging the writers to give them a shot against the Bulgarian. The turn was executed perfectly in the buildup to Battleground, with Swagger performing almost flawlessly during the early stages of his turn.
And even at Battleground, Swagger performed very well inside the ring, despite eventually coming up short. The crowd had bought into the face turn, which is something that doesn't really happen too often these days.
Given what we saw on the post-Battleground edition of Raw, it looks like, inexplicably, Rusev vs. Swagger has been dropped. That could only be described as a booking disaster, as Swagger's momentum is now in danger of being lost forever.
What happens to Jack Swagger if the WWE decides to have Rusev move on to someone new (and less enthralling)? Swagger has a slight opening here to find relevance in the WWE once again, and if the company sticks with this feud for a good couple of months, it could be something very special.
The middle of the card needs rivalries like this in order to make each WWE show a well-rounded, generally exciting spectacle. It's a real topical rivalry, and that automatically makes it more compelling. Lana does a lot of Rusev's groundwork for him in terms of cutting a promo, but she and Colter seem to have quite a chemistry when interacting, too.
Rusev vs. Jack Swagger Part II would be an excellent addition to what is shaping up to be a nice card at SummerSlam. There's every possibility that, if played out correctly, Swagger could be the Superstar to hand Rusev his first loss in WWE.
Some may laugh at that suggestion, but if Jack Swagger continues on the positive path he's on against Rusev over the next couple of months, the short-term future for the American could look very bright indeed.