The Undertaker returned to WWE on Saturday night, and now we are all anxiously waiting in anticipation of his likely return to Raw on Monday. Though we do not yet know who The Deadman will target as his WrestleMania 29 opponent, I for one do have an interesting name in mind: Jack Swagger.
Only it’s not going to happen.
I suppose this column could be considered a bit of a fantasy booking on my part, and though I usually do not go this route, for me this is one match that makes sense on many different levels.
But none of those levels apply to the current WWE story line. Just a minor detail.
Okay, now to be specific. As we all know, Jack Swagger has been red-hot since his return to WWE back on February 1. His career went from that of an uncomfortable mid-carder to that of a main-event-level World Title contender.
His spot in the pecking order has now caught up to his ability in the ring, and for the first time in his WWE career, Jack Swagger is finally relevant, believable and accepted. He has arrived.
This is all thanks to his new gimmick, of course, in which he has been openly critical of illegal immigrants, and anyone else who he feels does not belong in this country. As we all know, Swagger has gained an incredible amount of heat for this, especially from right wing Conservatives who feel his rhetoric is mocking them directly.
Last time I checked, this was pro wrestling entertainment, not deep social commentary. Huh.
But this has brought some priceless publicity to Vince McMahon’s company and to the man who at one point was barely just a blip on the radar of WWE fans. The angle is getting over in a big way thanks to Swagger, of course, and also to his “mentor” Zeb Colter.
Colter, aka Dutch Mantell, is an old-school pro wrestler who has been in and around the business for a very long time. From a distance, it appears as though he and Swagger would have very little in common, but once Colter opened his mouth, their association suddenly made sense.
So, what does the fastest-rising heel duo in WWE have in common with The Undertaker? In Taker’s present gimmick, not very much. However, as The American Badass?
Well, that’s a story line that just writes itself.
Who else in WWE would have a major problem with Swagger’s outspoken point of view than the man who rode down to the ring with an American flag on the back of his bike? That version of Undertaker would have been the first man to step up and call Jack Swagger out. He simply would not have tolerated the brash, holier-than-thou Swagger for very long without doing something about him.
The Real American Jack Swagger versus The American Badass, The Undertaker. That is a match that I would definitely pay money to see.
But yeah, it’s not happening.
An obvious reason why is because Taker is back as the dark and mysterious Deadman that we all know and love. The gear, the long flowing robe, the smoke and fire, this is the classic version of The Undertaker, the Phenom we have seen in recent years.
Anything could change, of course, but at the moment there is virtually no reason to believe that Taker would come back as anything other than the shadowy figure we know him to be.
Another reason why this match is not taking place is the fact that Swagger has a date with Alberto Del Rio at WrestleMania for the World Heavyweight Championship.
This is a match that is perfect in nearly every way, the booking is just spot on. Swagger as the heel, the would-be American patriot, against the baby face Del Rio, the Latino Superstar who will be fighting to defend the honor of his people. This is not just good booking, this is central casting.
There is a lot to work with here, and I believe that WWE has just barely scraped the tip of the iceberg with this rivalry. Its tone is perfect and each man involved is fully capable of playing his part to the hilt.
No doubt about it, if executed properly, this feud should end up as one of the best we have seen so far this year.
But the biggest reason why Taker vs. Swagger is not happening at WrestleMania is the fact that Jack has just not had enough time.
He did just get back and this gimmick is still so new that to face a legend like The Undertaker could possibly squash any forward progress he has made.
Perhaps if he had been in this new character for an extended period of time, then came face to face with The Deadman, that would have been a much more intriguing match-up. Add to this the fact that Taker only works one match per year now, and there simply would not be any reason for the two men to even make contact at this point.
But, a firmly established Swagger in the role that he now has, against a very active Undertaker who is willing to “make him famous” by putting on one great match on the grandest stage of them all. For me, that is well worth the price of admission.
While I cannot call this a “dream match,” Undertaker versus Jack Swagger would have been a very interesting WrestleMania moment. Jack’s current gimmick paired with Taker’s previous gimmick would have been like adding gas to a fire and likely could have made a very big impact in WWE.
Fantasy booking? Fine, I can live with that.
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