November 5, 2008
Good Ol' JR Jim Ross of World Wrestling Entertainment posted his latest blog on his BBQ website, and today's wisdom from the best announcer in the business is about fellow Oklahoman Jack Swagger, the former Jake Hagar, who is tearin' 'em up in WWE's ECW league.
Ross, who was once head of WWE talent relations before being replaced unceremoniously by John "Johnny Ace" Laurinaitis, stated:
"Having hired both Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle, it isn’t hard for me to put Jack Swagger in their class. Swagger likely won’t be as high maintenance as the other two, but he has the chance to be special."
As one present WWE power broker told me in a conversation, "Ever notice how JR always feels the need to give his resume everytime he gets the chance?"
But anyway, Ross' evaluation of Swagger may not be far off. His promo this week about Tommy Dreamer was no different than any of the "your wife, your kids" promos this year from JBL, Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle, or Jeff Jarrett, except it was delivered by a rookie. And the rookie, ladies and gentlemen, hit it out of the park.
Swagger may not have the immediate pick-up that Angle displayed, as the Olympic Hero was able to run with the top dogs in WWE soon after his debut and not only keep up in the ring with them, but also perform at a main event level. Swagger still looks green.
He also doesn't have the benefit that Lesnar had, which was the personal hands-on mentorship of the finest character developer in pro wrestling, Paul Heyman. Lesnar's association with Heyman on camera allowed "The Next Big Thing" to be talked about by one of the best promo men in history, but it also afforded him Heyman looking out for him behind the scenes, which is equally as important in WWE.
"Everyone's very high on Swagger," a WWE source informed me on the phone, "if he does like JR says and stays low maintenance, he will make a lot of money with Vince in the next few years."
So, is Jack Swagger your Next Big Olympic-Hero-Style Thing?