With ratings at their lowest point in decades, the WWE needs a shake up more than ever. Jack Swagger - essentially a glorified jobber who's regularly on television but wins roughly once every six month - is a former NCAA All-American with great size and athleticism. He's not the next Stone Cold, but with the right makeover, he could be a huge asset to the company. Here's what he needs to do:
Change his look. At about 6'6 and 260 pounds, Swagger is solidly built, but he has a goofy face and mannerisms. He needs to be intimidating, and the way to do this is to lose his singlet and stop smiling. More traditional wrestling gear would also make him look less like a cheap Kurt Angle knock-off, which is a very easy critique to make of him.
Change his demeanor.
This is Swagger smiling:
This is what he looks like when he doesn't:
This is what he should go for:
Swagger’s blonde hair and all-American look is perfect for the villain from an 80’s teen movie, and that's the character Swagger should embrace. He doesn't need to be brilliant - his lisp hurts his promo ability, and the good guys are supposed to win the verbal battles any ways - but a guy who's better than you at something and loves to remind you is easy to hate.
Change who he wrestles. Swagger is big, but he's not huge enough to be intimidating, especially against someone like John Cena. Swagger should be placed into feuds with smaller wrestlers like Sin Cara, CM Punk, and Daniel Bryan. His body should stay hunched to complement his mat-based wrestling, only standing straight up when he is face to face with smaller wrestlers, making him seem like an even more legitimate threat.
Change how he wrestles. Despite being called, well, wrestling, pro wrestling features very little amateur style grappling. However, Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit opened a Wrestlemania match with it and it was both entertaining and different. With Swagger's amateur background and wide shoulders, he is perfectly built for UFC and amateur-style takedowns, something that no major professional wrestlers currently use. On top of this, by focusing his attacks on his opponents' legs, Swagger can logically set up his ankle lock finisher. The rest of Swagger's approach should focus on hard strikes and painful-looking holds. One way to book his matches would be for him to wrestle someone to a standstill, get angry, power bomb them, then put on the ankle lock regardless of whether or not his opponent is conscious enough to tap. And the “Swagger Bomb” – a belly flop onto a prone opponent – needs to go, as it doesn’t look like it hurts and requires moving an opponent to the corner of the ring, when a submission specialist like Swagger would logically want to keep his opponent as far from the ropes as possible.
Cheesy Promo/Catchphrase: Ring introduction featuring “More swagger than/So much swagger that” line yelled in his thickest lisp before his music plays.
Where Could He Go From There?
These changes to Swagger’s character would lend themselves perfectly to a feud with any face with a reputation for submission wrestling, as well as any face with a reputation for nerdiness (pre-turn Daniel Bryan, Zack Ryder) due to the Karate Kid comparisons. Swagger’s size and persona could also be used as a means to have him anchor a program focused on smaller, more technical wrestlers, as is rumored for the still-debuting-in-2012-at-least-in-theory WWE Network. This could set up feuds with anyone from Sin Cara to some of the up-and-coming independent stars set to debut for the company in the coming months.
Hopefully, they can get his character turned around.