It was a bold move by WWE creative to greenlight this match for Wrestlemania, especially when most were expecting to see a match pitting more established and high caliber stars such as Randy Orton and Sheamus. Now don’t get me wrong, Del Rio vs. Swagger could turn out to be a fine match between two talented competitors, but as a Wrestlemania championship match…? Yeah, FUCK THAT!
Strap or not, Del Rio has been in a slump. The once golden boy who was expected to be a monster heel in the mold of what Ted DiBiase was as The Million Dollar Man in the 80’s, lost his stride and swagger along the way. His turn as a babyface may not be as effective as needed, but it works considering that Del Rio really didn’t have anyone else to work on the roster as a heel. The problem is that WWE’s creative storytellers got lazy, and turned a legitimate heel into a cheap-pop comedy show.
Del Rio’s feud with Big Show could have been the push he needed to stake his claim as one of the top stars in the WWE Universe, but creative chose to have Del Rio play the slapstick comedy routine rather than balance Big Show’s straight-faced storytelling. Watching this feud made me cringe in-front of my TV. The disappointment was written all over Show’s face, how he spent months redefining himself as a deadly giant and reigning champion, only to piss it all away in a series of “popcorn” matches. For those who don’t know what a “popcorn” match is, it’s the meaningless throw away match in the middle of the card (usually after intermission) that most people miss because they are still at the concession stand getting popcorn.
This feud should have been two matches, TOPS! One match, where Del Rio upsets Big Show for the title, followed by weeks of build up for Big Show’s rematch, where Del Rio had to prove that his title win over a giant wasn’t a fluke. Instead, we get a match pitting polar opposites. We get the real world angry giant versus the cartoonish Roger Rabbit, prancing around the ring and pulling pranks with his sidekick to retain the title.
As far as Jack Swagger goes, I’ll be the first to admit that I was just as surprised as anyone else that he pulled the upset victory at the Elimination Chamber. And while, I have never been a big fan of Swagger, I saw so much of untapped potential in him.
Sure, after reading this article, some young mark on the website is going to throw his two cents in and try to explain to me why Jack Swagger is the greatest champion of all-time – to that I say, “spend 20 years learning and understanding the ‘business’ first, then we can talk”.
Swagger NEVER won his championships – they were given to him. WWE brass was looking to make a new generation of young superstars and he was one of the chosen ones. Just like Drew Mcintyre, Wade Barrett, Mason Ryan, Alex Riley… oh, I can keep running down names, but I’m sure you get my point. My question is, other than Wade Barrett (who for the record has been repackaged more times than an unwanted Christmas gift), where the fuck are they now?
Let’s break Jack Swagger down: He has a ton of in-ring potential, but his look is the shits. His style looks like it came off the cookie-cutter line at the developmental factory. And his heavy lisp, absolutely fucks up his promos. Giving him a rest for a few months to be repackaged was the best move for a kid who still has his whole future in-front of him. Regardless of his championship wins, no one remembers them, let alone cares. His reigns as champion were never significant and no one ever paid to watch them. Swagger was a filler for the mid-card in hopes that gold around his waist would make him more recognizable among the other young and green clones.
Adding Zeb Colter into the mix was the best thing creative could have done. They could have sparred some expense money to get him a little bit of a wardrobe, but I guess his thriftshop look is part of the gimmick. Zeb is the perfect mouth-piece for Swagger, who shouldn’t be using his mouth at all. And the anti-immigrant angle is a great heat-seeker, that is very reminiscent of Sgt. Slaughter’s Iraqi sympathizer from the 90’s.
The only problem with the gimmick is that how many other immigrants can Swagger go after once his program with Del Rio is over? Yes, there are a few other Mexican’s like Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara, but those don’t qualify as main event feuds. He could go after Sheamus and his heavy Irish roots, but seeing the WWE Universe is admittedly tired of seeing carrot-top make a run for the gold. Then what for Swagger? Does he go after the African-Americans with a rant about how the south will rise again, and how he wants to send all the blacks back to Africa? Perhaps Vince McMahon can slip in a little bit of his Republican political agenda and take jabs at President Obama?
Yes, there is the potential for heat, but WWE creative is making a desperate attempt to catapult Swagger yet again, without letting him grow first. Just because Swagger talks the talk, doesn’t mean he can walk the walk. Just because Zeb calls the Mexicans greasy boarder-hoppers, doesn’t mean that Swagger is helping maintain the heat in the ring. By looking at his, he’s still just Jack Swagger. Nothing has really changed. With that said, does it make sense for him to be pushed hard and test the waters in a match at Wrestlemania?
Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter’s angle should have started months ago, with Swagger squashing the entire ethnic roster. The Primos and Epicos, The Kofis and Truths, … shit, they could have given some ethnic indy talent squash matches like they did in building up Ryback. “We The People” don’t hate Swagger yet… we hate Zeb Colter, but he’s not the one wrestling for the title. Creative needs to do a better job in making the universe hate Swagger to make this match more effective, because as of right now, they are using a spot on the Wrestlemania card for an experiment, while further devaluing the world heavyweight title.
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