Wrestler of the Day – May 5: Jack Swagger

Is this on? Check one two. It’s Jack Swagger.

Swagger started under his real name of Jake Hager, a character based on his own real life experiences as a collegiate wrestler at Oklahoma. He won the FCW Title and defended it on their first television show, airing on October 5, 2008.

Florida Heavyweight Championship: Heath Miller vs. Jake Hager

Miller thinks he’s handsome and gives off a kind of Rick Rude/Johnny Nitro feel. He’s more famous as Heath Slater though. Hager is Jack Swagger and is a cross between Angle and Goldberg. He’s undefeated here and the streak is part of his character. Mixed reaction for Hager who is in regular trunks here. Miller is a rock star without the instruments. I’m not sure if that’s better than one man rock band or not.

Miller also has shoulder length hair which is a weird look for him. Big high knee sends Miller to the floor. Hager is a tweener I think but it’s not really clear. Miller with a nice springboard clothesline to take over as we’re running very low on time. Hager avoids a Zig Zag and hooks the gutwrench for the pin and the end of the show.

Rating: C+. Nothing great here but the idea was to have Hager look like a champion as an introduction to the audience which he certainly did. This was a decent little TV match that gave us something to look forward to on the show. I’m not sure why Hager was fighting him but I guess I can let that slide on a debut for a local TV show. Not bad.

Hager would be brought up to WWE on the ECW roster as Jack Swagger, a much more obnoxious version of his FCW character. He would quickly rise up the ranks and challenge Matt Hardy for the ECW Title on January 13, 2009.

ECW Title: Matt Hardy vs. Jack Swagger

Swagger easily takes him down to the mat to start before cranking on Matt’s arm. We take an early break and come back with Hardy fighting out of a headlock. A bulldog out of the corner gets two for the champion and it’s Swagger in a headlock this time. Swagger forearms him down to the floor and it’s time to work on the arm. Matt’s head is bounced off the mat for two and Jack cranks on the arm even more. A big boot gets two on Hardy and we take another break.

Back with Swagger holding an armbar before grabbing a superplex for two. I suddenly remember why I can’t stand Matt Striker on commentary as he goes on a stupid tangent about political caucuses and how no one challenged in a caucus ever wins. Somehow this is supposed to be about champions never retaining. I’m sure it made sense in Striker’s head and I’m just not smart enough to get it. After all, he used to be a high school history teacher. I say that in jest, but his next line to Todd Grisham is “it’s way over your head.”

Anyway Jack loads up another superplex but gets powerbombed off the top for two. The fans are into this in a hurry. The top turnbuckle pad has been ripped off. Hardy grabs a Russian legsweep for two and the Side Effect gets the same. An armbreaker puts Hardy back down and the running Vader Bomb gets a close two. Off to another armbar but Hardy is quickly to his feet before getting caught in an electric chair. Swagger sends him face first into the exposed buckle and the gutwrench powerbomb gives Swagger the title. Jack laughing at stunned children is a great touch.

Rating: C+. I remember liking this match back when I watched it live and I still like it now. Swagger is a guy that had a lot of potential and that powerbomb is something he should use more often instead of the ankle lock. Hardy could have been a solid option as a champion and I was kind of surprised he was a glorified transitional champion.

Hardy got a rematch at the 2009 Royal Rumble.

ECW Title: Jack Swagger vs. Matt Hardy

Swagger won the title about two weeks ago and this is Hardy’s rematch. We actually get big match intros for this, which is a rare sight for an ECW Title match. Matt takes him into the corner to start before punching Jack in the face. Striker calls that a pugilistic endeavor to sound smart. Another punch sends Swagger to the floor and we head back inside for a clothesline from Matt.

Jack heads to the floor to hide after Matt swings again. Back in and Swagger takes Hardy to the mat and cranks on the arm a bit. Hardy comes back with a dropkick in the corner and a bulldog for two, only to go up and get shoved down to the floor. Back in and Swagger starts in on the arm but Hardy quickly escapes a key lock. A punch to Hardy’s arm blocks a clothesline and a big boot gets two for the champion.

Back to the key lock as Jack stays on the arm. He lifts Hardy off the mat by the arm a few times as the fans cheer for the challenger. Matt fights back but he’s basically fighting with one arm here. A bulldog puts Jack down for two and a middle rope elbow to Swagger’s back gets the same.

Hardy walks into a belly to belly suplex from Jack for two though and both guys are down. A DDT on the arm gets two for the champion but Matt blocks a belly to back superplex. Matt hits a decent looking moonsault for two and the fans are getting into these kickouts. The Twist is countered and Jack sends Matt shoulder and possibly head first into the post. The Swagger Bomb retains the title.

Rating: B-. Better match than I was expecting here with both guys looking good out there. Matt was getting close to being something decent as a singles guy and this was his way off ECW and onto Smackdown. Swagger would go on to win a world title and shock the world in the process before falling through the floor soon after. Solid opener here.

We’ll move on to another guy challenging Swagger for the title, this time at No Way Out 2009.

ECW Title: Finlay vs. Jack Swagger

Swags has the title here of course. Christian would come back soon to really get the title going but for now we have this still. You can literally see people heading to get popcorn and drinks as Swagger comes out. Horny helped Finlay break Swagger’s undefeated streak so there’s your reason for this match. Ok, apparently Christian is already back. That came out of nowhere.

Finlay works on the knee but has his shoulder rammed into the post. The fans aren’t exactly impressed. Shoulderbreaker gets two. The fans are more or less openly booing this now. Swagger hammers on the arm as Finlay is in trouble. He gets a move that doesn’t really have a name but Christian has done it before. You set for a reverse DDT but drive the other guy’s back into a knee.

Swagger charges at Finlay in the corner but the Irish dude gets a rolling cradle for one as he couldn’t get the shoulders down. Swagger puts Finlay on the top but they get down without anything of note happening. Crowd is mostly dead but not quite. Here comes Horny again for no apparent reason. Cross body off the middle rope gets two for Finlay. Celtic Cross is set up but for absolutely zero reason at all, Horny gets on the apron (he’s called a child again despite having abeard). Finlay is rammed into him and the gutwrench powerbomb ends this.

Rating: D. Weak match and no one bought Finlay as having a chance with Christian being back now. Horny being up there like that made zero sense at all unless they’re trying to make him out to be a child which is rather stupid as HE HAS A BEARD. Why am I trying to figure out Leprechaun facial hair? Match was kind of there.

Swagger would lose the title to Christian soon after this. He would receive a rematch in a Scramble match at The Bash.

ECW Title: Christian vs. Tommy Dreamer vs. Jack Swagger vs. Mark Henry vs. Finlay

This is a Scramble match which is more or less a gauntlet. Every three minutes someone else comes in and whoever gets the final pin is champion but you have to pin the champion for the pin to count. Uh…sure. Christian and Swagger start us off. Wow it’s weird to see Swagger as champion before Christian. I miss the pushups.

Ok so if Swagger pins Christian he’s IT more or less? I guess that makes sense. I’m assuming that there will be a clock once everyone comes in. Striker implies a heel turn for Christian but nothing ever came for that. The clock begins far before three minutes is up and it’s Finlay. Striker talks about Irishmen from centuries ago as no one cares at all. Swagger pokes Finlay in the eye and rolls him up to become IT.

Christian and Swagger do a nice little sequence that gets two for the Canadian. He beats Christian down as Dreamer is number four. Dreamer beats up everyone with incredibly basic stuff but throws out a Sky High. Ok apparently it’s not Swagger that has to lose the title as it’s just the last pin. Uh…that kind of makes sense I suppose.

They blow a spot where Christian is on the mat and Dreamer gets thrown onto him. It just looked really awkward. Finlay finally comes back to life and hits the Celtic Cross on Swagger to become IT. Finlay and Dreamer don’t work well together to put it mildly. And here’s Henry to suck the life out of the match. Ok so now we have five minutes left and whoever gets the last fall is champion. Got it.

Dreamer takes the World’s Worst Finisher with 4:15 to make Henry IT. Everyone not named Dreamer beats Henry up and the people start booing for some reason. Finlay hits a suicide dive onto Swagger. Have to love old men flying all over the place. Henry teases a top rope dive but for the sake of the gravitational pull, Swagger saves him and gets the pin to become it with about 2:20 to go.

I like knowing how much longer to go at times and this is one of them. Christian hits the Killswitch on Swagger but Dreamer DDTs him at 1:20 to become IT. It becomes a big mess now which makes sense at least. On instinct Dreamer goes for a cover which they don’t point out the stupidity of. Everyone goes for covers but the clock runs out and Dreamer retains. He screams “I WON???” in a funny moment.

Rating: C+. These matches are hard to call but I liked it. Thankfully they haven’t killed them by having them every two weeks or something like that. This still feels fresh though and it comes off as a good way to be different. Also it makes Dreamer look like a competent champion and not a jobber which I can’t complain about. This worked but was still a little bit weird.

After falling through the floor for awhile, Swagger would make it to the Money in the Bank match at Wrestlemania 26.

Kofi Kingston vs. MVP vs. Evan Bourne vs. Jack Swagger vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Matt Hardy vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Kane vs. Christian

Kane has a BIG black eye for reasons never explained. Remember when I said eight man matches were too busy? Well here’s a TEN man version. It’s a big brawl to start until MVP throws in the first ladder. Drew tries to go up but gets shoved over by Matt. MVP hits a big running boot to knock Drew to the floor. Nine people fight for two sides of a ladder to climb but Kane cleans house and sends about five guys to the floor.

Christian and Matt go up but Kofi (in the rare white trunks) makes the save. Ziggler hits a kind of Zig Zag off the ladder to Christian but Kane and MVP get back inside. Things are already really congested here. Kane is put into the corner and has a ladder rammed into his ribs. Kofi stumbles up the ladder and falls onto the steel. Shelton comes in with Paydirt to MVP and loads up the big ladder, only to be stabbed with a ladder by Swagger. Jack winds up inside the ladder and gets speared from either side with the tops of ladders between the rungs of the big ladder by Christian and Matt.

Now the ladders Matt and Christian used are bridged across the top rope like a big cross kind of thing. Matt and Christian climb up while Bourne climbs up the side of the ladder. The ladder Matt is standing on falls out and Bourne kicks Christian down, but instead of GETTING THE CASE, Evan hits the Shooting Star on Christian. Now Matt stops Bourne but Swagger comes up and throws Matt onto the other bridged ladder, leaving everyone down.

MVP and Shelton go up but a rana by Benjamin send both guys out to the floor. Kane is the first person back inside but Ziggler makes the stop. He actually climbs over Kane but the big man shoves the ladder over to make the stop. A chokeslam onto the ladder has Dolph in trouble, much like Kane actually slamming the ladder onto Ziggler so hard he BREAKS THE LADDER. In the creative spot of the night, Kofi picks up the two broken pieces and walks on the like stilts.

McIntyre finally makes the save and brings the big ladder back inside. Hardy finally makes the save by shoving Drew off the ladder and onto the top rope for a big crotching. Matt is alone but can’t quite pull the thing down. Christian and Kane join him on top and it’s the big bald being shoved down. Christian hits the reverse DDT (called the Twist of Fate by that schnook Cole) and here’s Swagger back inside. It’s Swagger and Christian on top and a case to the head allows Swagger to (FINALLY as it takes forever) pull down the case to win.

Rating: B-. C+. WAY too many people in there which led to way too much laying around. It’s not a terrible match or anything, but these are getting weaker and weaker as they keep going. Kofi’s stilts spot was great but other than that there’s nothing to see here. We’ve seen these same spots so many times now and they’re getting repetitive, making them weaker every time.

Swagger would win the title about eight days later. His first PPV defense was against Randy Orton (who pinned him less than a week after he won the title to set this up because WWE is stupid sometimes). From Extreme Rules 2010.

Smackdown World Title: Randy Orton vs. Jack Swagger

Remember it’s Extreme Rules which I guess means no rules? Crowd loves them some Orton. Swagger controls early on as you would expect. I’m hoping they don’t make the switch tonight. Orton chasing the title for a few months would be nice. Also Swagger needs the credibility that the title gives him.

I love how more or less the announcers say Orton has nothing but the RKO. That’s not that nice. Swagger is dominating but Orton gets a belt shot to break that up. Ok then. Orton hits that same powerslam that Punk hit earlier. Swagger counters the elevated DDT too. Nicely done. It’s garbage can time.

SICK shots with it from Orton. Those were nice. Orton is going off now and it’s awesome. Orton does a stomp to Swagger’s head while he’s on the steps. Ow. The knee drop misses though and Swagger hits the floor. Naturally he gets caught in the elevated DDT though and it’s Orton setting for the RKO now. Hint: when he slaps the mat and shouts, it means RKO is coming.

Instead though he sets up a chair but the RKO onto it is countered. Well kind of it was. The look came off terribly but I get the concept. Gutwrench powerbomb hits and Swagger gets the pin. HUGE win there. That was all Swagger as he countered the RKO and got the pin. All Swagger there. Post match Orton gets the RKO to keep the tweener thing going.

Rating: B-. Not great but the booking was exactly right. This was a decent little match as Swagger is getting better and better in the ring. For the life of me though I have do not agree with having Swagger lose to set up the match. He’s already not a strong champion so they have him get pinned? Have it be a DQ or countout at least. As for the match, I liked it for what it was. It’s no classic but not bad at all.

The title reign wouldn’t last long as people expected it wouldn’t. Swagger would stick around the midcard until the end of the year when he would get a US Title shot at TLC. Swagger wouldn’t win, but he wanted a rematch in regular wrestling. The match too place on the December 30, 2010 episode of Smackdown.

Intercontinental Title: Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger

Unless there’s something extra at the end, there is a ton of time for this at over 15 minutes left of time in the videos, not including commercials.  Striker calls Vickie Haystacks.  For an old school fan like me, Striker’s little one liners are awesome.  Commercial before the match starts so we don’t miss the opening.  And we’re off.

They double team Kofi to start as the commentators like Dolph to retain.  Ah Josh goes with Kofi for his athleticism.  The big elbow hits Kofi as he’s in big trouble.  The fans cheer for him as we’re three minutes into this and it’s been the exact same thing the entire time.  Swagger tells the fans that he’s their hero.

The guy that might be from Africa but might be from the Caribbean takes over and takes out both guys with a big old suicide dive as we take a break.  Back with Kofi holding Swagger in an armbar as Ziggler is still on the floor.  Dolph breaks up what was presumably going to be the Boom Drop and takes Kofi down on the floor.

Back in the ring a Fameasser to Swagger gets two for the champion.  Vickie yells when a Ziggler neckbreaker gets two on Kofi.  Swagger tries to get back up so Dolph drills him off the apron to get back to Kofi.  That’s rather intelligent indeed and a good thing to see in matches.  Dolph cranks on a chinlock as Kofi is in trouble.

Swagger has been on the floor for a long time here.  Kofi fights back and hits a Superman Punch to drop Dolph for awhile.  Boom Drop hits and it’s Kofi in control.  Here comes Trouble in Paradise but Swagger pops up and pulls Kofi out of the air with a German.  Kofi and Dolph ram heads on the suplex and both are down.  Swagger covers both for long twos as the crowd is getting way into this very quickly.

Back up Dolph can’t get a superplex on Kofi so Swagger powerbombs the heck out of the champion instead.  HUGE crossbody by Kofi only gets two.  Swagger takes out the knee as we’re about to go after the ankle.  Kofi counters it but whiffs on Trouble in Paradise.  Ankle Lock goes on but Dolph hooks the Zig Zag on Swagger for two as Kofi makes the save.

This is GREAT stuff if you didn’t get that.  Kofi vs. Swagger at the moment and Kofi gets something similar to a tornado DDT as Swagger stopped the spin part but Kofi dropped him straight down for two as Vickie puts Swagger’s foot on the rope.  Doctor Bomb is reversed and Trouble in Paradise puts Swagger out cold.  Dolph runs in and rolls up Kofi to steal the pin and keep the title at 12:50 shown of 16:20.

Rating: A. Now I’m not a person that likes triple threats for the most part.  For a big time showdown for a title I’m a traditionalist and want to see two people square off for the gold.  This match was great though with great storytelling, a TON of close near falls and an ending that fit it perfectly.  Dolph kept making sure he was in the ring for the vast majority of the time because he knew he had to protect the title.

Other than that you had both guys trying to avoid finishers and using their experience against each other to counter the known moves.  This was incredibly fun and well worth watching as even knowing who wound up winning I got sucked into it.  Great match and great to see the young guys get to show off to end the year.

Swagger would become Michael Cole’s coach for Cole’s showdown with Jerry Lawler at Wrestlemania XXVII. Cole would win (and we’ll leave that disaster at that) and there would be a tag team match to follow up at Extreme Rules 2011.

Michael Cole/Jack Swagger vs. Jim Ross/Jerry Lawler

Country whipping match here, which means they all have straps.  Cole, I kid you not, is wrapped in bubble wrap.  Ross has a legit broken hand after beating Cole up Monday.  Cole gives us his resume as a reporter and insults all of Florida by saying everyone is old.  Lawler vs. Cole to start as Lawler can’t hurt him.  Lawler goes for the only unprotected part: Cole’s face.  There goes the bubble wrap and it’s off to Swagger.

Basically this is Lawler vs. Swagger for all intents and purposes as they have a one on one match for a few minutes.  Lawler gets him down but takes a chop block as he goes after Cole.  Ankle Lock goes on for like 30 seconds as Ross WEAKLY hits Swagger to break the hold.  Off to JR who puts an ankle lock on Swagger!  Swagger escapes and I think accidentally tags Cole.  Ross wastes WAY too much time for a clothesline and whips Cole a bit.  Ankle lock goes on Cole and even takes Swagger out with a low blow.  He turns to whip Swagger….and gets rolled up by Cole to end it.  Dang it this is going to keep going isn’t it?

Rating: F. Hey look, Cole wins again and gets to run his mouth a bit more.  Not as bad as Mania but still, DO SOMETHING ELSE!  This has been done and it’s been done multiple times already so why do they keep going with it?  Cole can still be a jerk but give us SOMETHING for a change instead.  Match sucked too.

He wouldn’t be an All-American American if he didn’t wrestle on the Fourth of July would he? From 2011.

Sgt. Slaughter vs. Jack Swagger

Slaughter is very bald.  If you’ve seen any Sarge match where he’s a legend you’ll seen this one.  Sarge gets the jump on him a few seconds into the match and gets the Cobra Clutch but Swagger escapes and a Vader Bomb ends this at 1:18.

In late 2011, the hottest star in the company was Zack Ryder. WWE then decided that having him over in the midcard and selling a ton of merchandise was a bad thing, so they had Kane beat him up and then defend the US Title against Jack Swagger on January 16, 2012’s Raw.

US Title: Jack Swagger vs. Zack Ryder

Swagger goes straight for the ribs and Ryder’s offense can’t do much. Vader Bomb to the back gets two. Gutwrench powerbomb barely gets two. Another gets the same. He drops elbows on Ryder’s ribs and slaps him around before hitting a third powerbomb…and he wins the freaking title at 2:35.

Swagger wouldn’t do much more for the rest of the year due to injuries and various other issues. We’ll pick things up at Elimination Chamber 2013. Swagger would return to TV at the side of Zeb Colter, a man who was basically a caricature of the Tea Party political movement. This would work well for Swagger though, as he would qualify for the Elimination Chamber match where the winner would receive a World Title match at Wrestlemania XXIX.

Jack Swagger vs. Kane vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry vs. Chris Jericho

Swagger has new music and Zeb Coulter with him. Jack says that when he talks, he showers us with truth. The mustache with Coulter attached talks about the Louisiana Purchase and how disappointed Thomas Jefferson would be with what has become of the once great nation. He doesn’t like illegal immigrants asking for handouts, so the two of them will make things right. Tonight marks the beginning of a Jack Swagger America. The starters are going to be Jericho and Bryan.

Jericho snaps off some armdrags and hooks a headlock on the mat. Bryan counters into a NO Lock attempt but Jericho rolls out into an attempt at the Walls. Bryan rolls out of that to send Jericho into the corner before hitting some NO kicks. Daniel moonsaults out of the corner but gets sent to the cage on the outside. They fight to try to slam each other onto the Chamber floor but Bryan tries the NO Lock again. Jericho counters into a slingshot into the cage as they head back inside.

Back in and a belly to back suplex gets two for Chris. Jack Swagger is in third and he goes right after Jericho. Bryan gets rammed into the cage wall a few times and Swagger follows up with a splash to crush Goat Face again. Swagger drives his knee into Bryan’s head to mash it against the Chamber floor but Jericho makes a save. Jack sends the Canadian into the cage a few times but Bryan comes back with a running knee to Swagger’s head to put him down again.

The swan dive from Bryan misses Jericho and Kane is in fourth. Kane and Bryan team up on Jericho and Swagger but Bryan turns on Kane with a rollup for two. Bryan wants to hug it out but instead Kane hits him in the face. The NO kicks have Kane in some trouble but the NO Lock is countered into a side slam for two. Kane goes up top but Bryan breaks up the clothesline. Jericho comes back in and plays Animal to Kane’s Hawk in a Doomsday Device on Bryan. That gets two for Swagger but he can’t suplex Kane a second later.

Randy Orton comes in fifth. He cleans house and hits a slingshot suplex on Bryan followed by the Elevated DDT on Kane onto the Chamber. In a cool visual, Orton superplexes Swagger just before Jericho superplexes Bryan to put all five guys down. Henry is desperate to get in and there goes the clock, giving us all six guys in the Chamber at once. House is cleaned again and a World’s Strongest Slam eliminates Bryan to get us down to five.

Henry easily tosses Orton through the glass of a pod in a painful looking visual. Back inside it’s Henry vs. Kane and the masked man staggers Henry with a big boot. The top rope clothesline is countered into another World’s Strongest Slam to eliminate Kane and get us down to four. Henry loads up Jericho but Chris escapes and sends Henry into the pod wall. Swagger helps Jericho out and they hit a double suplex onto the Chamber floor. Jericho and Swagger head back in and a cross body off the top gets two for Chris.

The gutwrench powerbomb is blocked by Jericho but he can’t hook the Walls. A bulldog looks to set up the Lionsault but Henry catches Jericho by the throat and throws him into the Chamber wall. Mark launches Jericho onto Swagger and both blonde haired guys are down. Henry misses a Vader Bomb onto both guys and it’s a Codebreaker and RKO to eliminate the World’s Strongest Man.

We’re down to Orton, Swagger and Jericho but all three guys are down. Henry is applauded as he leaves but goes back inside to hit World’s Strongest Slams on all three guys. The fans are digging Henry here and I can’t say I blame them. Booker and Teddy come out to try to stop Henry and they finally get him out of the Chamber. Swagger covers Orton for two and has early control of the three way fight.

Orton and Jericho team up to throw Swagger shoulder and head first into the post/pod. The slugout is on now instead of eliminating Swagger though which could come back to haunt them. Jericho goes up but jumps into a dropkick for two. Swagger is back in now and walks into a powerslam, as does Jericho. Chris breaks up the Elevated DDT on Swagger with a dropkick for two. The Codebreaker to Swagger is countered into a belly to belly suplex for two more.

The running Vader Bomb (popular move tonight) doesn’t connect with Orton but Swagger avoids the boot to the face and hooks the Patriot Act. Jericho hits an enzugiri on Swagger to break up the hold (why?) and there are the Walls on Jack. Orton breaks up the hold (again, why?) and gets two on Jericho before hitting a double Elevated DDT. Randy loads up the RKO but Jericho blocks it, only to miss the Lionsault and walk into the RKO for the elimination. Swagger immediately rolls up Orton for the final pin at 31:25 to go to Wrestlemania.

Rating: B. This was solid stuff and while it was somewhat obvious that Swagger was winning when they got down to three, the match never got dull or uninteresting as they had a very solid triple threat segment at the end. I’m not wild on Swagger winning and getting a shot at the title, but at least they’ve tweaked his character a bit to make him somewhat more interesting. Good Chamber match.

Here’s his title match.

World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger

After all that, Swagger doesn’t even get an entrance. AT WRESTLEMANIA. Colter goes into a rant about how horrible this country is because of how many other languages people speak now, including Chinese and Yiddish. However, Swagger will fix everything tonight by winning the World Heavyweight Championship. Del Rio wears an old school robe and after the big match intros we’re ready to go.

Del Rio quickly sends him to the floor and sends Swagger into the announcers’ table but gets trippled by Colter. Back inside and Jack sends him shoulder first into the post to take over. A quick rollup gets two for the champion but Jack drops him with a kick to the head. The Vader Bomb gets two but Del Rio counters Jack instead of having his knee wrapped around the post. Back in and Jack runs into a boot to the face before taking a few clotheslines to put the champion back in control.

Alberto stomps on Colter’s hand for good measure before the low superkick gets two. The armbreaker is countered into a kind of powerslam for a very close two as Jack is in control again. Jack takes out the knee and puts on the Patriot Lock but Alberto quickly kicks away. He misses the enziguri in the corner though and Jack stays up. Del Rio comes right back with a series of forearms in the corner and the Backstabber is good for two.

The champion hits a German suplex but takes his time following up. His cross armbreaker is countered into the gutwrench powerbomb to give Swagger a two count and there’s the Patriot Lock again. Alberto is almost to the ropes but Jack pulls him back into the middle. Instead Del Rio pulls him down into the armbreaker but Jack counters that into the Patriot Lock.

This time Alberto makes the ropes before countering another gutwrench suplex into a kick to the head. He limps into the corner enziguri for two as Colter puts Swagger’s leg on the ropes. Zeb goes even more evil by kicking Ricardo’s leg out to draw Del Rio outside, allowing Jack to send him into the barricade. Back in and Alberto grabs the armbreaker out of nowhere to retain the title. It’s as sudden as it sounds.

Rating: C+. This was getting good in the middle but they ran to the finish almost immediately. There’s a chemistry there and I’d love to see them do stuff on the mat and trade submissions for fifteen minutes. Instead it didn’t even get eleven and they cut off the technical stuff to go for the manager. That being said, it’s still a good match but it could have been great.

Swagger’s run was more or less over at this point so the solution was the same as it always is: job him a lot and then throw him into a tag team. In this case it was with Cesaro as the Real Americans. They would be in a fourway Tag Team Title match at TLC 2013.

Tag Titles: Real Americans vs. Big Show/Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes/Goldust vs. Ryback/Curtis Axel

Rhodes and Goldust are defending and this is elimination rules. Ryback and Axel have both beaten the champions in the last few weeks while Big Show and Mysterio have teamed together I believe once. Ryback shoves Rhodes around to start but gets caught in a half crab, allowing Goldust to come in with an elbow to the back of Ryback’s head. Off to Axel for a nice dropkick, only to get caught in a wristlock.

Axel fights up but Goldust makes a tag off to Big Show who keeps up the arm work. There’s the skin ripping chop and the fans want it one more time. Show does it a third time and Axel sells it like he got shot. Mysterio comes in for some forearms but Axel sends him into the corner. Ryback gets the tag and pounds Mysterio down, only to bring Axel back in for something resembling stereo cross bodies to put both guys down.

Double tags bring in Ryback and Goldust with the champion scoring off the uppercut and a spinebuster. Ryback loads up a powerbomb but gets rolled up for the pin by Goldust, getting us down to three teams at 6:12. Cesaro comes in to pummel Goldust in the corner before it’s off to Swagger for a front facelock. The fans start chanting WE THE PEOPLE as Goldust is sent to the floor for a clothesline from Swagger.

Back inside and Cesaro gets two off the gutwrench suplex and we hit the chinlock. Off to Jack again for a bearhug as Big Show plays cheerleader for Goldust. Goldie fights back with right hands and a springboard elbow to the jaw. Cesaro easily takes him down and we get a short version Cesaro Swing. A Swagger belly to belly suplex puts Goldust down again and we get the Vader Bomb/double stomp sequence from the Real Americans for another two.

Antonio puts on another chinlock but this time Goldust escapes with a jawbreaker. Cesaro can’t break up the tag but Swagger runs around the ring and pulls Cody off the apron. Cody is holding his knee as Big Show throws Swagger into the barricade and Goldust catches Cesaro with a hurricanrana. A powerslam puts Cesaro down again and the hot tag brings in Big Show. Cesaro is thrown all over the ring and a shoulder block turns him inside out. Both Americans get punched in the jaw and Big Show pins Cesaro for the elimination at 14:42.

So we’re down to the two good guy teams but Big Show waits for the champions to get on their feet. A hard shoulder block puts Goldust on the floor and Cody gives him a somewhat angry pep talk. Goldust comes back in for a top rope cross body with Big Show waiting on the impact for about eight seconds. The chokeslam is countered into a DDT for two and it’s off to Cody for a double suplex on Big Show for two. The fans are rapidly losing interest.

Big Show swats a Disaster Kick out of the air and it’s off to Mysterio (remember him?) for a springboard seated senton to Cody. Now the Disaster Kick connects for two on Mysterio and Cody is getting frustrated. Cross Rhodes is countered into the 619 to both champions. Goldust is sent into the barricade by Big Show but Cody sends the giant into the post.

Cody tries a springboard dropkick but gets caught in a powerbomb by Rey (how often do you hear that?) for two. Cross Rhodes are countered again but the 619 is countered into an Alabama Slam which is countered into a sunset flip for a VERY close two. The third attempt at Cross Rhodes FINALLY connects for the pin to retain the titles at 21:06.

Rating: A-. This dragged a bit in the middle but man alive that ending was great. Cody and Goldust are just awesome right now and I’m so glad they didn’t give the titles to another thrown together team. I have no idea why the Usos weren’t in there somehow other than putting in two bigger names. Really good match here though.

We’ll wrap it up with a fourway match for a future Intercontinental Title shot.

Jack Swagger vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Mark Henry vs. Kofi Kingston

One fall to a finish and the winner gets Big E. (on commentary) for the Intercontinental Title at Elimination Chamber. Henry quickly throws Swagger to the floor but gets taken down by Kofi and Rey. The two speed guys get to have a showdown with Rey dropkicking Kofi for two but they have to eliminate Swagger again. Kofi dives over the top to put Jack down again and Rey hits a running seated senton from the apron. Henry is back in and loads up a dive of his own, only to have Swagger take out his leg.

Two straight Vader Bombs have Henry in trouble but Jack has to clothesline Rey down for two. Mysterio comes back with a top rope seated senton for two followed by the sitout bulldog for two more with Kofi making the save. Rey is sent into the post before Kofi bounce up the ropes and dropkicks Swagger down before hitting the Boom Drop. Rey gets knocked off the apron again and Swagger loads up Kingston in a superplex. Henry tries to make it a Tower of Doom but Kofi holds on, meaning it’s only a powerbomb to Swagger.

Henry cleans house but Swagger takes out the leg again and puts on the Patriot Lock, only to have Mark kick him off. Rey hits a 619 to Mark’s ribs and Kofi adds Trouble in Paradise but Jack is on his feet again. Kofi grabs a German suplex on Rey but Jack suplexes both of them at once in a nice power display. Kingston is sent to the floor but slides back in to break up a 619 attempt. Henry makes the save but gets kicked to the floor by Kofi. The distraction lets Swagger catch Kofi in the Patriot Lock for the submission at 8:35.

Rating: C+. Nice match here with everyone doing their job perfectly. I didn’t see the Mysterio knee injury but I’d guess it was on the seated senton from the apron as he went off camera for a few minutes as a result. Swagger getting the shot is a good enough choice as he was the only heel here and Henry vs. Big E. does nothing for me.

Jack Swagger is a guy who has talent and potential to be something great, but the problem for him now is how brand damaged he is. People see Jack Swagger coming to the ring and it’s almost an automatic loss. He’s a guy that would need to be entirely repackaged and given a new character. Not Jack Swagger doing something different but not Jack Swagger anymore. Unfortunately there’s not much you can do with that when Swagger isn’t really a character that you can just have doing something new. He needs to be something completely different, because this character ran dry about three years ago.

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  1. MikeCheyne says:

    The common thing I heard floated around by fans prior to the Zeb reboot was turn Swagger face and make the patriot thing more of a good guy thing, like having him run in to make the save a few times. I am not sure if Swagger is really capable of doing that–the fans seem to like his patriot music and the “We the people” catch phrase, so maybe there’s a way to turn that face? On the other hand, he’s a reliable midcard heel.

  2. M.R. says:

    Can’t believe this guy was World Champion

    ted Reply:

    Why not? It’ not like the belts mean anything anymore.