As the WrestleMania 29 World Heavyweight Championship match approaches, it's not Jack Swagger who is creating an electric buzz about the event; it's his manager, Zeb Coulter.
Coulter's oration skills and ability to strike a nerve with fans and stretch beyond the parameters of the world of WWE make him more valuable than Swagger right now.
Swagger, with all his wrestling acumen, with all his power, is the replaceable part of this machine. He's done well as the angry bulldog in the ring. He clotheslined and suplexed his way to a title shot at WrestleMania.
It's the nutty man at this side, though, who is making the whole journey worth watching.
WWE fans see strong, aggressive guys every week. It's far less often that fans witness such a controversial character at work.
Coulter's words have thrust Swagger into this position. Coulter's words may have made Swagger temporarily bulletproof. Had Swagger been arrested at this time last year, chances are WWE wouldn't be so willing to let that incident go unpunished.
Even though everyone over the age of eight knows that WWE is a scripted show, Coulter's words still cut deeply.
Drawing hatred from a crowd was a far different scenario before WWE's curtains were pulled back. It's harder to get fans riled up now. In some cities, CM Punk can probably call everyone's mother a tramp and still get cheered.
Coulter has managed to push through fans' cynicism and apathy to make them legitimately angry.
Kim Lee @callmeKim711
@WWE what the hell is wrong with the creative team and the racist Zeb Coulter crap??? Seriously, cut that garbage out!!!2/27/2013, 4:32:53 AM
Tweets like this are quite common. WWE found a man able to draw this kind of emotion out of people, to push the proverbial envelope and make things uncomfortable.
Were Coulter a few decades younger, able to do the things he did as Dutch Mantel in Memphis, he might be the one facing Alberto Del Rio at WrestleMania. Instead, it's Swagger providing the physical part of the equation.
In 2012, Swagger was at the point where he was losing to guys like Santino. Coulter's presence elevated him back to the forefront.
Coulter has been more than Swagger's mouthpiece; he's been his savior.
WWE could have had Swagger say the things Coulter is spewing. The company could have made him the center of controversy, but he wouldn't be nearly as good at it.
In their promos together, Swagger is clearly the less talented one with a microphone. Swagger's few lines feel scripted and forced. He's certainly not the only wrestler guilty of that.
Coulter, however, is a snake charmer, a convincing zealot.
If someone turned on Raw just as Coulter came on, unaware of what they were watching, they might think they stumbled onto some revolutionary's cable access show.
Swagger's physical gifts are useful and will be vital in making the world title match entertaining. Coulter provides something scarcer than what Swagger brings. Coulter creates a reason to care about these men fighting.
Should Swagger lose against Del Rio and start to descend back down the WWE ladder, Coulter can recruit another "real American" and remain where he is: at the epicenter of WWE's hottest angle.
He is WWE's unexpected asset, a controversial commodity.