After his release from the WWE, Jack Swagger can look back with fondness over a successful WWE tenure of over 10 years, in which he can boast a reign with the ECW championship, a United States Championship, and World Heavyweight Championship. He also was a part of a number of entertaining storylines, most notably with Cesaro as The Real Americans. He now looks to embark on a thrilling journey across the wrestling world, in which we will likely see him come up against some of the hottest Indie talents that Professional Wrestling has to offer. He spoke to us about all of this, as well as his mutual love with his fans.
What was the reasoning behind leaving WWE?
So, it was a tough decision – one that my wife and I thought about for years. I’m very thankful for the career that I had in the WWE. Getting out there and seeing different cultures was a really big perk for me. When it came down to it, I just feel like people had lost each other – communication wasn’t where it needed to be. We’d both started this path together ten years ago. But I just feel like I needed a change, and they needed a change. We can always possibly get back to it down the road. But for me, I was lucky to come out of college and go straight into the developmental programme. So, there’s a lot of wrestling from me across the world to see still. It’s very exciting – the opportunity is just immense.
What are you excited about in terms of your development as a wrestler?
I think the thing that I’m feeling the most is the freedom – the best things in pro wrestling happen naturally. Whether it’s the fans gravitating towards something, or a character developing a certain way. The best ones develop naturally and you have to have freedom in order to do that. The promotions are really becoming their own brands and some are working together and some are doing very good business. And they are providing wresters outside of WWE a very good opportunity in this day of social media and the internet to really have the freedom to create their own character and really run with it.
Don’t get me wrong, the WWE has some great people who work on this stuff everyday. A lot of their angles are brilliant and fun to watch. They just tend to get micromanaged a lot. But now I work for my own company, so I guess I make the head decisions on those sorts of things now.
What are we expecting to see from your character point of view – including the question of the name ‘Jack Swagger’?
Intellectually, they own ‘Jack Swagger’, but I’ve been that for 10 years now, so I think the easiest way for me, at this point, to not get into any issues, and not to get into any red tape, I’m going as ‘Formerly Known as Jack Swagger’. It’s very silly when you’re talking about human beings, but it’s kind of what we have to do right now. Or, I might just become ‘The Real French-American’ and change my name to ‘Jacques Swagger’! (Laughs)
What do you have planned for when you come to the UK?
Honestly, I’m going to wrestle everywhere. I know Drew Galloway coined the phrase ‘The hardest working wrestler alive’, well I’m going to be ‘The second hardest working wrestler alive’ – I don’t want to infringe, but I want to work everywhere – the UK is a very good market and I’m very impressed with the promotions I see out there. July 1st will be my first UK show with Southside (SWE). I have some shows lined up with 5 Star Wrestling in July. I want to show the UK fans that I’m not here to play around – I’m committed and I want to put on five-star matches every time I put on my boots. I think the biggest exciting, kind of silver lining, is that my wife is going to start performing with me and becoming a character. It’s always more exciting when you have a hot girl out there causing trouble.
It’s going to start as a valet role. We actually met in WWE Developmental and I quickly rescued her out of there and said “no, you need to be married to me!” and so she has a background and she is very talented. We have two young kids so she’s been super-mom for a few years and now the kids are old enough so she can go away for longer periods of time. It’s definitely going to help my goofy ass.
How have the fans reacted to such a big change in your career?
It’s really been awesome. It’s been a lot of love, and people have been reaching out. It really shows you how far wrestling can transcend, and once you make people feel a certain way, they feel that way forever. They always remember the way you made the feel on that night. So, it’s been nothing but support, and excitement to see me outside of the WWE. It’s been a little bit of an ego boost.
What do you think of the modern product, in terms of quality of wrestling and quality of storylines?
I feel like every decade and generation of wrestlers kind of dictate the product, and right now I feel like there’s a young batch of guys that are really doing well. They have most of the workload on their shoulders, in terms of big matches, night after night. Really impressive stuff to be able to continue it for so long. I don’t get to watch a lot of it, with the kids, but I think the roster at the WWE is phenomenal. Definitely in the last couple of years it’s been so athletic and not only that, actual good people wanting to help each other.
Is there anyone you’ve set your sights on, that you could give the match of their life?
I’d like to think that I could work with anybody, and if you do step in the ring with me, I’m going to give you a great match.
You can catch Jack Swagger at the Fanatic Expo along with Sting and Vickie Guerrero in September in Harrogate!
And don’t to forget to follow Swagger here and keep an eye out for updates on his new merchandise website!