Jack Swagger may be one of the biggest “what could have been” questions in WWE in the modern era. A legitimate amateur wrestler, he found some success on the college wrestling circuit, having participated and gone far in the NCAA competitions. He even pinned a future national champion and set records.
Interestingly, it wasn’t just amateur wrestling that he succeeded at, it was football as well. Being a natural athlete, it comes as no surprise that he chose to pursue an MMA career post-WWE career. It was quite a shame that his run ended the way it did because he definitely had the potential to be a lot bigger than what he became.
He was a World Champion at one point, and although his run didn’t last particularly long, the creative team definitely didn’t do justice to a talent like Swagger. The fact of the matter is that his push was premature and a talent like him should have been in the midcard longer. Despite many fans not realizing, he had quite a long run with WWE and some really good matches along the way. Let’s take a look at the five best matches of the All American.
#5.) w/ Dolph Ziggler vs Evan Bourne & Kofi Kingston – Vengeance 2011
This was a fun little tag team match to open the show. Air Boom defended the tag team titles against Dolph Ziggler (who was pulling double duty that night, defending his US title right after the match) and Jack Swagger. This match is an example of why a tag team bout is a great way to kick off a show.
It had a very intense back and forth, with moments that saw the crowd on the edge of their seats. They did not want to see Air Boom lose and Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne showed incredible chemistry together as they finished the team to retain their titles.
# 4.) vs Sami Zayn – NXT 2013
This was in the earlier days of Sami Zayn’s NXT run. He had a lot of buzz about him and became NXT’s first true star, with the crowd fully behind him. This coincided with the time that he had defeated Cesaro, and this brought out Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter to see if Zayn was the real deal.
Mind you, this was quite a while before he became NXT Champion, so the young Zayn had a lot to prove, as he was also feuding with then-NXT Champion Bo Dallas by the side. Zayn was known as the heart and soul of NXT and he’s put on some of the greatest matches in the yellow brand’s history. However, his match with Swagger has been overlooked big time, and given the reactions, you’d think it was a much bigger show.
The crowd was into the match from start to finish, rallying behind Sami Zayn. Swagger even kicked out of the Helluva Kick, sending the crowd into an absolute frenzy. Ultimately, Bo Dallas’ distraction cost Zayn the match, but it was a valiant effort from the future NXT Champion.
#3.) vs Dolph Ziggler, Alex Riley & John Morrison – Night Of Champions 2011
It’s easy to forget how over Alex Riley was at one point of time. Ziggler defended the US title in a Fatal-4-Way and the crowd rallied behind Riley big time. WWE usually does Fatal-4-Ways right and this was no exception as all four competitors fired on all cylinders in an attempt to walk out with the gold.
After an excellent, fast-paced match up, Swagger hit the Gutwrench onto John Morrison, only for Ziggler to shove him and steal the win.
#2.) Elimination Chamber 2013
The Elimination Chamber match in 2013 was to determine the World Heavyweight title challenger at WrestleMania 29. Swagger seemed out of palce in the eyes of many, as the other competitors in the match were Daniel Bryan, Kane, Mark Henry, Randy Orton and Chris Jericho. Swagger was second to enter but he got lucky as he survived the onslaught of Mark Henry, who was eliminating people left and right.
Ultimately, though Henry got a great showing, Swagger last eliminated Orton to seal his road to WrestleMania. It was an excellent showing for all competitors involved.
#1.) vs Rey Mysterio – Money In The Bank 2010
Mysterio turned out to be Swagger’s best opponent as they had a phenomenal match together for the World Championship. Mysterio played an incredible underdog challenger who had to survive the relentless onslaught of Swagger. Ultimately, it was a great story told as the legendary luchador defeated Swagger and became World Heavyweight Champion once again.
Unfortunately, his moment of joy was short lived as Kane walked out with the MITB briefcase and snatched the World title from his hands.