Jack Without the Swagger: Where Did the Former WWE World Champion Go Wrong?
This week's Raw was a case of the good, the bad and the Mark Henry. John Morrison became the latest in a long line of random tag team partners for the mystifying still employed "World's Strongest Man."
Surprisingly, for someone who has had more partners than Russell Brand and been with WWE since 1996, Mark Henry has never been a tag team champion.
MVP, Evan Bourne, Yoshi Tatsu and now John Morrison have all been his partner in the last year, yet the chemistry in each case has been of the Ben Affleck-Jennifer Lopez kind.
Without wishing to sound harsh—I'm sure Henry is a lovely guy and a great father to Mae Young's hand—it's amazing how many attempts have been made to push the guy over a 15-year, highly unremarkable, WWE career.
On the positive side of things, it was good to see Gail Kim on television again, if only to confirm she's still alive. I've always found it odd how WWE refuses to use one of the most talented female wrestlers of her generation. Is Vince McMahon really that twisted about talent that turn to TNA?
It says a lot about her current standing when a fan such as myself can get excited about her getting a backstage segment with the Bella Twins. Anything involving Daniel Bryan and Gail Kim ought to be awesome, however, and it's at least better than those dreaded words from Creative, "We have nothing for you."
And on a side note: In what other industry would you be allowed to get away with those words?
Major corporations hire marketing firms with the intention of planning new strategies for marketing their products. Do they ever get the response a month or so later, "Sorry, we have nothing for you. Have you thought about jobbing to the Big Show?"
Speaking of jobbing to the Big Show, or jobbing to just about anyone brings me nicely along to Jack Swagger.
Considering the deck that Creative have dealt him, he might have been better off with nothing. Of all the recent mishandling of promising careers, Swagger's is the most bafflingly awful.
Things began exceptionally well, debuting in late 2008 on ECW and quickly capturing the minor title. His trade to Raw seemed a natural progression but, as with so many, he seemed to get lost in the mix.
His first win on television in 2010 came as late as March, defeating the then terminally hopeless Santino Marella to qualify for Money in the Bank at WrestleMania.
It was here, as the monkeys in Creative seemingly slammed letters on their keyboards at random, that Swagger's career took a swerve. In one night he went from stuttering jobber to future main event star.
Fine. WrestleMania is a special night and can change the course of a performer's life. Surely after WrestleMania Creative would look to give Swagger some credibility? Carry the MITB briefcase for a while, get him over as a main event threat?
Potentially an entire year's worth of speculation, anticipation and intrigue awaited, all the time raising the profile of a talented, natural Wrestler.
All that was required was a little bit of patience.
Sadly, like all of the seating in the Big Show's house, Creative collapsed under pressure. Two days after WrestleMania Swagger became, in the eyes of many fans, an undeserving World Champion.
The All American American struggled with the difficult task of convincing the crowd he was Championship material while simultaneously bearing the pressure of holding the belt. As has been seen with the Miz on Raw, it makes a lot more sense to become a credible threat before receiving the gold.
In June 2010 at Fatal Fourway, Swagger lost the title to Rey Mysterio. Around this point management, rather than see the horrendous mistakes in his booking, seemed to lose faith in Swagger as main event material.
Since then his standing in WWE has continued to slide to the point where Edge—outnumbered 3 to 1—can now dismiss him as nothing more than an irritating obstacle on Raw.
Jack Swagger ought to be, at the very least, a regular upper-midcard performer by this point in his WWE life. Management has not so much dropped the ball as arrived at the wrong stadium on match day and sat in the dressing room twiddling their thumbs.
It's a long road back for Swagger, and his previous run as Champion could become the kind of noose that Kane's first 24 hour title proved to be. I hope, like Kane, that Swagger gets a second chance.
Thanks for reading. Comments, as always, are welcome.
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