A couple of months ago, Jack Swagger wasn’t even on TV, but he’s developed into arguably the most controversial performer in the WWE.
Not only was Swagger recently arrested and charged with DUI and marijuana possession, but he was also recently repackaged with a brand new gimmick that has a lot of people talking.
While many question whether Swagger even deserves to be on TV, especially after his arrest, there’s no denying that his xenophobic character has developed into one of the hottest things going in the company.
As we all know, Swagger has been paired with Zeb Colter, a.k.a. Dutch Mantel, as an anti-immigration duo looking to rid the WWE and the United States as whole of anyone that “doesn’t belong here.” Some have been offended by the gimmick, but to those people, I say, “It’s just a TV show. Get over it.”
After all, wrestling is simply entertainment, and all Swagger is doing is attempting to entertain in his new role. He fits that role perfectly, too.
For much of the last few years, Swagger has struggled in the midcard as a directionless superstar. After a sizeable push as World Heavyweight champion in 2010, he slowly but surely slipped into oblivion as time went by.
By 2012, what once looked like a very promising career for Swagger had all but disappeared, and many questioned whether he would ever get anything even remotely resembling a push again. In fact, there were even rumors that Swagger had asked for his release from the company.
Instead, Swagger was given five months off, and though he initially returned with virtually no alteration to his character, the WWE quickly changed things up by pairing him with Colter and repackaging him as the company’s resident xenophobic character.
The creative team couldn’t have made a better decision.
One of the major problems Swagger faced over the past couple of years was that his gimmick was, quite frankly, much too stale. He debuted in ECW in late 2008 as an arrogant jock, and, four years later, he was the same guy he had been when he first appeared on the main roster.
But Swagger has finally made some changes, and he’s in a better position now than he’s ever been.
Perhaps one of the biggest adjustments Swagger has made is becoming more aggressive and serious in the ring. Once a guy with a goofy smile and a pedestrian in-ring style, he’s thrown away the awkward grin and upped the intensity—both of which have paid huge dividends.
It’s much easier to view him as a legitimate main-eventer when he’s acting like one, and that’s what he’s done since his return just over a month ago.
Of course, what’s helped Swagger more than anything else is the fact that he has a gimmick that is both current and relatable. Just about anyone who hears Swagger and Colter’s rants has some sort of opinion on the subject at hand.
Either you’re appalled by the filth that Swagger and Colter are spewing, or you completely agree with it. But the bottom line is that you likely react to it in some way when virtually no one has reacted to Swagger much at all over the last couple of years.
A big reason Swagger is now generating some genuine reactions is that he can be taken more seriously with Colter by his side. One of Swagger’s biggest issues throughout his WWE career has been his below average mic work. Now that his time spent talking is limited to just a few words these days, his biggest weakness has become a strength because of Colter’s great mic work.
We can finally see Swagger for what he really is: A 6’6”, 260-pound beast who’s great in the ring.
Swagger has always been a talented performer, but his lisp, goofy grin and lack of a gimmick overshadowed that. Now, it’s the other way around.
Pairing Swagger with Colter is a perfect fit for a guy who has always deserved to be a major player in the WWE and, for the first time in three years, finally is.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!