Jack Swagger no longer wrestles for WWE, but as someone who worked for the company from 2006-2017 and was world heavyweight champion, he is well-qualified in deciding who should be WWE’s world champ.
“Cesaro should be world champ,” said Swagger. “I’m not afraid to say it, Cesaro is my favorite wrestler. It used to be Kurt Angle, but it’s now Antonio Cesaro. He’s the strongest guy there, he can go with anybody, and he is a guy that a company can invest in.”
Cesaro made headlines this past Sunday at No Mercy for losing his front teeth in a phenomenal tag match with Sheamus against Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Swagger worked with Cesaro during their time together in 2013 and ‘14 as part of the Real Americans.
“In addition to being gifted athletically and being the strongest guy in the room, Cesaro is very smart upstairs,” said Swagger, whose new website offers some not-safe-for-work t-shirts. “He can go in the back and wrestle a match out in his head, then he’ll add his Cesaro-isms in the ring to really make the match special.
“He knows exactly where to put things and make a match explosive. ‘Sell, sell, sell, then holy sh--, explosion!’ He’s so flexible, and he’s made all his tag team partners better. He made Tyson Kidd better, and he was the driving force for me in the Real Americans tag team. His big swing is gold. He’s very hungry, and coming from the indies, he has a chip on his shoulder and a lot to prove. He uses that as fuel to keep getting better and not get complacent, and he would be the perfect guy to be world champ.”
The 6-foot-7, 35-year-old Swagger–who wrestles as “Formerly known as Jack Swagger” due to WWE owning the trademark–defeated AR Fox in a clash of styles match at a Limitless Wrestling show in Maine this past Friday.
“I’ve been watching AR Fox fly for years, and I prepared for him by watching match after match on the internet,” said Swagger. “A lot goes into a match. You have to have chemistry with an opponent, and you have to have an atmosphere. We had that at Limitless. There are still many parts of the business I have to learn, but the outpouring of support from so many guys in every promotion I’ve worked, instead of going into business for themselves, is something I’m grateful for.”
Despite his wealth of knowledge from working with WWE, Swagger noted that he has already earned a different kind of credibility by working on the indies.
“That’s a combination of the internet, along with a lot of guys out here just busting their ass,” explained Swagger. “I want to make a name for myself on the indie scene. I want to earn my street cred.
“I want to wrestle everywhere. I’m open to wrestling for Global Force, Lucha Underground, even if I’m under a mask, and Ring of Honor. I want to work them all. Everyone is talking about how hot the wrestling scene is in Japan, but the U.K. market, promotion across promotion, is very consistent and growing. I just did WAW (World Association of Wrestling) in Norwich, England, and their television production value was amazing. I wrestled Cody Hall, who had [his father] Razor Ramon in his corner, and that was really cool. I want to grow my brand and help wrestling continue to grow, too.”
Swagger paid close attention to CM Punk’s entry into the world of MMA. With an amateur wrestling pedigree at the University of Oklahoma, Swagger revealed that he is considering a fight with Bellator MMA.
“A fight would be a big risk,” said Swagger. “It could help my pro wrestling career, or it could hurt it.
“Once you’re an amateur wrestler, you’re always an amateur wrestler. I relate everything to amateur wrestling, including the way I watch basketball and the way I watch football. My brain thinks as an amateur wrestler. That’s who I am.”
Although Swagger still puts his right hand on his heart and shouts, “We The People!” before his matches, life has changed for the former WWE champion, whose wife, Catalina Swagger, is now ringside as his manager.
“When I look in the mirror, I’m a husband and a father first,” said Swagger. “This is the most time I’ve ever had to spend with my kids. I have two kids, and they’re my world. I do all this for them.”
Swagger is grateful for the support from fans, who have embraced him on the indies.
“I’m beyond grateful,” said Swagger. “Wrestling for wrestling fans is an honor. A lot of people want me to say negative things about WWE, but I’m very grateful for my career there. They gave me a living and they gave my family a livelihood I would otherwise not be able to afford at this age. Am I happy with everything? No, but it’s not my company.
“It’s time to move on, and receiving the outpouring of support I have since leaving is really special. The one thing I’ll always remember that Dutch Mantel told me is, ‘Brother, be worried when they stop asking for your autograph. Be very thankful for this window.’ I am, and I try to give it back to people.”