As many of you have read in my previous articles, I'm not very prone to the OJ Simpson-esque, "This is how I would've done it" type fan-fiction manner of predicting quality PPVs and storylines.
However, recent events have unfolded that have caused me to rethink this stance, so please take this journey through fantasyland and let me know your feelings.
Best part to start any good chemical reaction—the catalyst.
Since his debut months ago, Alberto Del Rio has become a supernova. He draws incredible heel heat with his cocky, regal and entitled attitude, and he has a demeanor and smile that always makes him seem like he's going to be genuinely nice—until he goes off on a rant about how crummy certain faces are.
One particular example of a great promo of his that sticks out for me happened within the last month. He came out to the ring and insulted America, and for the first time in a long time, the crowd pulled a classic chant out of its bag of tricks.
Classic, because it was the trademark chant of many of our favorite wrestlers from way back when, like Hacksaw Jim Duggan, The Patriot, Lex Luger, Macho Man Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan (the yellow and red one, not the current TNA one). I think Ultimate Warrior might have received a "U-S-A" chant once or twice as well.
Point is, it hasn't been a commonplace chant in many years.
I ask you now, why is this the case? Part of the reason is Kurt Angle.
Kurt's "three I's," his overplaying the fact that he "won two gold medals with a broken freakin' neck," his theme song that sounded like something out of GI Joe or Robotech really put the hurt on the "All-American gimmick."
Adding to the hurt is that WWE has moved into PG territory and has not featured nearly as many overly political heels that feel like digging a knife into the sides of young American kids (some of which don't even know what "9-11" is).
Not to mention, over the years since Kurt's departure, along with all the dangerously foreign heels we aren't seeing, we've also seen a deficiency in the number of faces that go for a cheap pop by saying how great the United States is.
So, let's do the math:
Lack of appropriate heels to yell it to (or faces to yell it in favor of) + annoying representative of chant source material = Unnecessary cheer/jeer.
Thus, the "U-S-A" chant has gone by the wayside. We have no one on our TV screens to exemplify what it means to be American. Except one man—the All-American American, Jack Swagger.
The thing about Swagger is that even though his song is by Age Against the Machine, and he has the word American in his nickname TWICE.
So far, he hasn't been the typical advocate of our country that most All-American gimmick carriers have been.
Usually, they've had big, sincere smiles, they waved flags and get the crowd chanting those three little letters.
Swagger hasn't once carried a flag that I can remember, his big smile has been arrogant (and not in a fun way) and the only thing people have chanted at him is "You suck."
To date, he's really only advocated living in Oklahoma, being an amateur wrestling champion and mostly things about himself and his accolades.
Basically, everything other countries see in us, Jack Swagger has embodied.
However, during Alberto Del Rio's speech against America, I found myself hoping that—to the surprise of everyone in attendance—Swagger's music would hit. In my fantasy, Jack would swagger (pun intended) right down the ramp and counter Alberto's arguments with how great it is that we live in a country with cheeseburgers and apple pie and hip hop.
Oh, and freedom. Let's not forget freedom.
After all, Jack is allegedly a college-educated man. The first person to counter Alberto's arguments on what makes Mexico so great should be him.
Granted, if this was the Attitude Era, Swagger would say something like, "Yo, Alberto, so Mexico's so great, huh, chico? Then why is it so many Mexicans hop the border every year?"
But it's not the Attitude Era any longer, so he'd likely go with cheeseburgers, apple pie and hip hop. Maybe instead of hip hop, he'd go with country music, since he's from Oklahoma. However, the end result would probably be the same.
Jack Swagger would turn face! Sounds crazy, right?
I thought so at first, too, but Jack Swagger turning face could turn a lot of WWE aspects on their ears. For instance, I'm enjoying HIS promos during the rivalry with Kofi Kingston more than I'd expect. Maybe his promos just look better stacked against Kofi's, which are largely bland and generic, but I loved his "public service announcement" remark.
Think about if that were turned into a catchphrase type deal. His music hits, he saunters to the ring with a mic, stands in the middle and says:
"Ladies and gentlemen of the United States, this is a public service announcement from the All-American American American"—Swagger stops talking here and raises the mic above his head, as the crowd keeps chanting the word American—"American, Jack Swagger."
Sure, he has a bit of a lisp, so the likelihood of him taking on a babyface, hero, "face of the company" role like Austin held is pretty slim; however, for him to be the uber-American, red-white-and-blue badass face-stomper that we all wanted Kurt Angle to be? I don't think that's so far off.
Think back, we've never really had a character like that before.
Most of the All-American characters have been good-guy Cena/Hogan types that represented good values.
Swagger doesn't have to be the character that destroys the heel/face mold, but he could be slightly middle-ground. He could be dominant, tough as nails, entertaining and humanly flawed enough to be appreciated by the common fan.
For those who are having doubts, I revert back to Kofi. The Kofi/Swagger feud sees Kofi Kingston, a fun, spring-loaded wrestler with the mic skills of your average senator, the face. Swagger is the heel, and his wrestling AND mic skills are both of higher quality.
Keep in mind, in no way am I intending this to come off as yet another "he's being misused, he deserves a push" kind of article; I'm suggesting a change WWE can apply to one of their stars.
IWC darling, Christian, appeared at the Slammys late last year and made remarks to suggest that Alberto Del Rio is still in his crosshairs. With reports that Christian won't be ready to return to action even by Wrestlemania and Del Rio currently fending off R-Truth and claiming it's his destiny to win the Royal Rumble (the accuracy of which we'll see this Sunday), the Christian/Alberto feud is not one that we're going to see come to fruition any time soon, even if Creative still has their sights set on furthering it.
Not to mention that Rey Mysterio, Alberto's "poor" arch-nemesis since Del Rio first walked in the door, is fighting numerous nagging injuries and could use time off.
Thus, unless Del Rio finds someone else to fight with, he risks losing some of his relevance. He has great momentum, but his allure is in how often he talks and who takes offense to what he says.
Del Rio's a powerful, kingly man of pure Mexican heritage. Jack Swagger is a toe-headed schoolboy from the good old US-of-A.
Both are great wrestlers that come complete with agonizing submission holds. One is a fleet-footed kicker, the other is a rough and tumble brawler.
Put these two in the ring? We could see some things change real fast!
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