NOTE: The following column was typed up literally an hour before I was made aware of Jack Swagger’s run-in with the cops. Consider it a “What If?” if circumstances lead to a de-push for Swagger.
Well, I suppose I was dead wrong about Jack Swagger’s chances at the Elimination Chamber, but can you really blame me? The majority of my contemporaries here at the Pulse felt the same way; that for a match at Wrestlemania, a more well-established opponent would be a better fit for Alberto del Rio. The irony of that statement is that it seems to be counter-productive to our belief that it’s time to build and establish new blood within the WWE.
So with that being said, why did the WWE go ahead and pull the trigger on Jack Swagger so soon into his return?
Personally, I think there are two major reasons for the otherwise questionable placement of Swagger in a main event position at Wrestlemania XXIX. The first is most obviously as fodder for del Rio’s burgeoning face, a representation of minorities across the country struggling to overcome adversity while maintaining a cultural identity embedded within generations upon generations of immigrants. Del Rio’s turn started off great but has simmered in recent weeks due to the repetitive nature of his Big Show feud. There are sparks of life in his matches against more athletic opponents his size (like Dolph Ziggler), as evidenced by the crowd’s reaction to his various spots. A feud with a returning Swagger would indeed be something fresh and would make for a more competitive match-up than the lumbering giant. Swagger’s role as an anti-immigrant patriotic bigot fits perfectly as an antithesis to del Rio.
While the reason for their feud seems obvious, the timing most certainly does not. Del Rio and Swagger, for all their years of professional wrestling, are a bit untested for the WWE’s main event scene; Swagger had his opportunity years ago but was not yet ready, and del Rio spent the majority of his time in the company as an upper-card heel.
So why now, at this juncture, this close to Wrestlemania, where mistakes can be costly and former viewers are drawn back to the TV screen with the intention of keeping their eyes glued for the foreseeable future?
Reason 2: mainstream buzz.
The WWE can deny it all they want, but it’s more than just coincidence that Swagger’s new mentality and the return of Zeb Colter just “happen” to correlate to a more outlandish version of the Tea Party Movement. McMahon has always had a knack for knocking political agendas in the past. Remember Right to Censor, the parody of the Parents Television Council, who sought to remove what they believed to be inappropriate content from the airwaves? With the world setting its sights on Wrestlemania season anyway, what better way to garner more media attention than with a parody of such a hot button issue?
I must admit it took me a while to figure out why the WWE would take a risk such as this, but one must not forget that the World Heavyweight Championship hasn’t exactly been treated like gold (pardon the pun) in the last few years. There’s no harm in giving us del Rio vs Swagger, especially since the WWE Championship truly is the company’s crown jewel. It’s quite narcissistic if you think about it: the company’s own title representation is more valued than a belt meant to prove that one is the best of the heavyweights in the entire world. i say the hell with it; let’s go down this road and see where it takes us.
We could always have a Dolph Ziggler cash-in at Wrestlemania if things don’t work out. ;)
So long, and thanks for all the fish.