The Wrestling 5 & 1 02.23.13: Stacy Keibler and Kaitlyn get their Swagger on!
It’s been a crazy week for Jack Swagger, one that we’re more than ready to discuss!
But first…BRING ON THE GIRLS!
With Greg DeMarco
Stacy Keibler, the Versus Royal Rumble winner, continued her Hall of Bang match-ups as she defeated Candice Michelle and advanced to take on Tony Acero favorite AJ Lee.
The results are in, and we have a winner!
Now then, Stacy already beat Candice, so we’re moving on to what many might call a dream rematch…
Currently #8 in the Hall of Bang, Stacy Keibler takes on one of the hottest sensations in wrestling today…#7 Kaitlyn!
Who will continue on to face challenge Kaitlyn’s #7 spot? That’s up to you!
The poll now expires Wednesday night, and you can vote once every 12 hours. Now get voting!
If last week’s Wrestling 5&1 followed a Mark Henry theme, then this week you’r ein for a Jack Swagger theme! It’s been the crazies week of Jack Swagger’s career, and we wrote about it all week. Take a look at these points and see how our feelings towards Jack Swagger, Zeb Colter and the entire “We The People” angle moved and changed before our eyes.
Monday February 18, Following Raw:
Zeb Colter Is Not The Jack Swagger Push I Want To See
with Greg DeMarco
If you’ve spent any time at all listening to my radio show(s) or reading my articles online, you know my feelings on wrestling. It’s an escape—from life, the real world, stress…everything! For me, wrestling is a fantasy world full of super human individuals completing amazing acts of grace, brilliance, aggression and emotion.
Watching Zeb Colter spouting off about the state of our union, yapping about the solidarity of our borders, and hearing Jack Swagger chant “We The People” like a Gregorian
moronmonk puts me in a bad place. One where I want this whole entire angle to end—and NOW.
It’s not that I’m against the WWE pushing Jack Swagger to the moon. I have no problem with him challenging Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 29. But, in the immortal words of Jim Ross—”NOT THIS WAY!”
Jack Swagger is a very capable athlete and a great worker. Hell, he’s a former Money in the Bank briefcase holder and a former World Heavyweight Champion himself. Prior to his current return, he faced two years of terrible booking that put him in a position to need a reset. But this is not he reset I was looking for!
Now, if Alberto Del Rio was the United States Champion, and this feud were the side-show it should only be, I’d likely be singing its praises. That actually elevates the US title (although Antonio Cesaro is doing a great job with it right now). What they’re doing devalues the World Heavyweight Championship. It makes it secondary to the story. Thus it undermines both champion and challenger.
What’s worse is that it’s a desperate grab for attention from a company that will do anything for mainstream media attention. Problem is, in true Vince McMahon form, it comes too late. While border control is still a hotly contested issue in United States politics, it’s not the hot-button topic it was a few years ago. This reminds me that we are about 18 months away from Vince McMahon-nam Style, and two years away from The Stamford Shake. Next year we should have a WWE lockout.
The one thing holding Jack Swagger back is his promo ability, which is still apparent as of the February 18 RAW broadcast. And while he might need a mouth piece, Dutch Mantell’s Uncle Zebekiah isn’t the answer.
But you know who is? Paul Heyman, that’s who!
Imagine Swagger busting out a new, dare I say MMA-influenced finisher to win the Chamber match. Then let Heyman do the talking, explaining how he hooked Swagger up with Brock Lesnar. Sell Swagger as a legit badass who could kick your ass if you even look at him the wrong way.
Now imagine Swagger being Lesnar’s running buddy, but eventually growing tired of doing his dirty work. Imagine Swagger going over Lesnar on a big PPV, giving Swagger the biggest rub of his career. What we have right now couldn’t be farther from the biggest rub of Jack Swagger’s WWE career.
And with this being a racial thing, it likely doesn’t end well for Jack Swagger either. The last WWE Superstar to become racially motivated? Muhammed Hassan. What happens when Kmart or Mattel don’t like something Swagger or Colter says? What if he makes an inappropriate hand gesture towards Ricardo?
Jack Swagger has a chance to really be a major player in the WWE for many years to come. But the only thing Uncle Zeb is serving up for Swagger is guaranteed disconnect with the fans and a storyline that could end his WWE career.
You Decide: Is Zeb Colter the right type of manager for Jack Swagger?
Tuesday, February 19:
The Problem with Del Rio vs. Swagger at WrestleMania 29
With Derek Gordon
So, who’s excited for the Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger heavyweight championship match set for Wrestlemania? Anyone…? Anyone…??
It was a bold move by WWE creative to greenlight this match for Wrestlemania, especially when most were expecting to see a match pitting more established and high caliber stars such as Randy Orton and Sheamus. Now don’t get me wrong, Del Rio vs. Swagger could turn out to be a fine match between two talented competitors, but as a Wrestlemania championship match…? Yeah, FUCK THAT!
Strap or not, Del Rio has been in a slump. The once golden boy who was expected to be a monster heel in the mold of what Ted DiBiase was as The Million Dollar Man in the 80’s, lost his stride and swagger along the way. His turn as a babyface may not be as effective as needed, but it works considering that Del Rio really didn’t have anyone else to work on the roster as a heel. The problem is that WWE’s creative storytellers got lazy, and turned a legitimate heel into a cheap-pop comedy show.
Del Rio’s feud with Big Show could have been the push he needed to stake his claim as one of the top stars in the WWE Universe, but creative chose to have Del Rio play the slapstick comedy routine rather than balance Big Show’s straight-faced storytelling. Watching this feud made me cringe in-front of my TV. The disappointment was written all over Show’s face, how he spent months redefining himself as a deadly giant and reigning champion, only to piss it all away in a series of “popcorn” matches. For those who don’t know what a “popcorn” match is, it’s the meaningless throw away match in the middle of the card (usually after intermission) that most people miss because they are still at the concession stand getting popcorn.
This feud should have been two matches, TOPS! One match, where Del Rio upsets Big Show for the title, followed by weeks of build up for Big Show’s rematch, where Del Rio had to prove that his title win over a giant wasn’t a fluke. Instead, we get a match pitting polar opposites. We get the real world angry giant versus the cartoonish Roger Rabbit, prancing around the ring and pulling pranks with his sidekick to retain the title.
As far as Jack Swagger goes, I’ll be the first to admit that I was just as surprised as anyone else that he pulled the upset victory at the Elimination Chamber. And while, I have never been a big fan of Swagger, I saw so much of untapped potential in him.
Sure, after reading this article, some young mark on the website is going to throw his two cents in and try to explain to me why Jack Swagger is the greatest champion of all-time – to that I say, “spend 20 years learning and understanding the ‘business’ first, then we can talk”.
Swagger NEVER won his championships – they were given to him. WWE brass was looking to make a new generation of young superstars and he was one of the chosen ones. Just like Drew Mcintyre, Wade Barrett, Mason Ryan, Alex Riley… oh, I can keep running down names, but I’m sure you get my point. My question is, other than Wade Barrett (who for the record has been repackaged more times than an unwanted Christmas gift), where the fuck are they now?
Let’s break Jack Swagger down: He has a ton of in-ring potential, but his look is the shits. His style looks like it came off the cookie-cutter line at the developmental factory. And his heavy lisp, absolutely fucks up his promos. Giving him a rest for a few months to be repackaged was the best move for a kid who still has his whole future in-front of him. Regardless of his championship wins, no one remembers them, let alone cares. His reigns as champion were never significant and no one ever paid to watch them. Swagger was a filler for the mid-card in hopes that gold around his waist would make him more recognizable among the other young and green clones.
Adding Zeb Colter into the mix was the best thing creative could have done. They could have sparred some expense money to get him a little bit of a wardrobe, but I guess his thriftshop look is part of the gimmick. Zeb is the perfect mouth-piece for Swagger, who shouldn’t be using his mouth at all. And the anti-immigrant angle is a great heat-seeker, that is very reminiscent of Sgt. Slaughter’s Iraqi sympathizer from the 90’s.
The only problem with the gimmick is that how many other immigrants can Swagger go after once his program with Del Rio is over? Yes, there are a few other Mexican’s like Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara, but those don’t qualify as main event feuds. He could go after Sheamus and his heavy Irish roots, but seeing the WWE Universe is admittedly tired of seeing carrot-top make a run for the gold. Then what for Swagger? Does he go after the African-Americans with a rant about how the south will rise again, and how he wants to send all the blacks back to Africa? Perhaps Vince McMahon can slip in a little bit of his Republican political agenda and take jabs at President Obama?
Yes, there is the potential for heat, but WWE creative is making a desperate attempt to catapult Swagger yet again, without letting him grow first. Just because Swagger talks the talk, doesn’t mean he can walk the walk. Just because Zeb calls the Mexicans greasy boarder-hoppers, doesn’t mean that Swagger is helping maintain the heat in the ring. By looking at his, he’s still just Jack Swagger. Nothing has really changed. With that said, does it make sense for him to be pushed hard and test the waters in a match at Wrestlemania?
Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter’s angle should have started months ago, with Swagger squashing the entire ethnic roster. The Primos and Epicos, The Kofis and Truths, … shit, they could have given some ethnic indy talent squash matches like they did in building up Ryback. “We The People” don’t hate Swagger yet… we hate Zeb Colter, but he’s not the one wrestling for the title. Creative needs to do a better job in making the universe hate Swagger to make this match more effective, because as of right now, they are using a spot on the Wrestlemania card for an experiment, while further devaluing the world heavyweight title.
You Decide: Should Jack Swagger have been given a WrestleMania push?
Late Tuesday, February 19:
Finding Art in the Zeb Colter Character
With Tony Acero
Typically, the WWE raises the ears and heights of groups of people that are quite inconsequential to
the larger America. Whenever a group such as PETA, or GLAAD gets up in the arms about something
the WWE does, I always shake my head and give a chuckle due to the inconsequential nature of the
organizations in relation to the WWE’s future. Yes, the WWE is a public company, and yes it must be
cognizant of what it’s doing with its product, but at the end of the day, almost any complaint towards
the WWE always comes off as a man yelling at a wall; pointless and serving no purpose. Whether it was
Pepper the dog, Billy and Chuck, or even more recently – Zeb Coulter, these are these little groups with
big mouths that seem to scour the earth for the most miniscule of moments only to complain about
Let’s talk about Zeb Coulter for a bit. When Jack Swagger made his return, I saw nothing different aside from his hair cut. He had nothing to differentiate himself from the Jack Swagger that walked out some odd months before. I figured this was going to be nothing but a jump back into the fold too soon to mean anything. I even made claims that it was a waste of a character that could very well have been something great. Boy was I wrong. It wasn’t the presence of Zeb Coulter that caused me to realize the error of my ways, because to be honest even after his first promo, I figured this was nothing but an anti- American character too closely resembling that of Antonio Cesaro. I felt this was another in a long line of this character that is more caricature than anything. Then came Elimination Chamber, and the pre- match promo. Then the Jack Swagger win. THEN the State of the Union address:
Did this promo blow my mind? No, not in the least, but it ADDED something to the character of Jack
Swagger that was so sorely missing. Zeb Coulter went from another anti-American manager to a cult-like figure that may or may not have brainwashed our American American into believing a rhetoric that is spouted everywhere across the country. While Zeb unleashed a thinly veiled shot at a particular champion, Jack Swagger stood at ease, finalizing the segment with a repetitious “We the People.” In this instance, he became a bit more than a racial stereotype (although, that’s still present), and became a character that could get a rise out of some – and perhaps even support from others. Others – that is – with the exception of one Paul Joseph Watson, a writer for the conservative conspirator-believer Alex Jones. I’ve heard far too little to pass any judgment on Jones, or the writer Watson. Still, they sound like dummies. It appears that Watson took offense to the portrayal of Zeb Coulter and Jack Swagger, claiming that the WWE is “creating a racist wrestler to demonize the Tea Party.”
Well now, aren’t we special? To claim that the WWE and its writers are sitting around a table claiming a political stance that is presented through fiction may be just a bit too far-fetched. Watson brings up the Senate run of Linda McMahon as basis of his argument, claiming: “This is part of the divide and conquer tactic of cultural subversion to manufacture racial division and to characterize the Tea Party, conservatives, libertarians, opponents of uncontrolled illegal immigration, and constitutionalists as racist, extremist radicals who should be pushed to the fringes of the political discourse. Now the demonization runs so deep that it’s even being bolstered by WWE wrestling.”
Wowza! This is, quite possibly, the most credit the WWE writers have EVER gotten for a wrestler’s character!
Sure, that’s hyperbole, but the reaction is laughable. Is the message politically driven? Perhaps. Is it from a racial standpoint? Sure. Does it directly reflect any ONE political party though? NO! What it does personify is a body of Americans that truly find immigration from ANY country deplorable. I will not speak on my stance – it’s inconsequential – but the CHARACTER of Zeb Coulter is taking jabs at a Mexican champion while still being an ubberly dirty heel in the process.
What it all comes down to is the fact that Zeb and now Swagger are heels. They are “bad guys.” Racism is a “bad thing.” Del Rio is the face, the “good guy.” Thus far, the promos from Zeb have been just above the cusp of racism in a surprisingly smart way. There are no direct references to Mexico or Del Rio – even IF that’s what they’re alluding to. Truly, I didn’t think the WWE had this type of layered promo mastery. All in all, this is yet another group of people up in arms about something that has absolutely NO affect on the livelihood of…well, anyone, other than someone with a website about information for the mind – yet laced with opinion…kind of like The 5&1.
You Decide: Does the Zeb Colter angle have a place on WWE television? Is it art in storytelling?
Comment Responses with Tony Acero returns next week!
Thursday, February 21:
Timing, Good and Bad, Is Everything
With Greg DeMarco
When Zeb Colter debuted as Jack Swagger’s manager, no one ran to the internet to predict that he would be the man to win the Elimination Chamber and challenge Alberto Del Rio, despite the obvious connection between Del Rio’s heritage and Colter’s insidious ranting.
Of the six men involved in the Elimination Chamber match, Swagger was the least likely man to challenge Del Rio at WrestleMania. Add in Dolph Ziggler, and Swagger is, at minimum, seventh on the list.
(I can give you fifth if you want to remove Kane and Daniel Bryan from consideration.)
Yet here we are, stuck with Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio for the Mexican Aristocrat’s World Heavyweight Championship—in a match that will have NOTHING to do with the title when we get to Met Life Stadium in April.
In both life and art, timing is everything. And Jack Swagger exhibited what could possibly be the worst timing ever exhibited by one person since Rob Van Dam was holding both the WWE and ECW Championships. On Tuesday night, Swagger was pulled over for speeding after the Smackdown taping, and was found to be under the influence (presumably of alcohol) and in possession of marijuana.
Seriously, Jack? Deserved or not, appropriate or not, you were placed into one of the top matches at WrestleMania 29, in an angle that was already receiving mainstream media attention. Despite being a former World Heavyweight Champion yourself, this is the biggest you’ve ever been.
And you do this?
It’s not like Alex Riley, who was already losing his push before he got popped for a DUI. Jack Swagger as on top of the world. Regardless of how you feel about the angle, this was his chance to shine. Opportunity on a silver platter. And he fucked it all up.
Now, at the time of this writing, we don’t know what the WWE will do. Their Wellness Policy gives them the leeway to completely release Swagger. It also gives them the leeway to do nothing.
As of Friday morning, WWE.com features Swagger and Del Rio on the front page, and prominently mentions Zeb Colter in their Smackdown preview. But that is the only mention of the angle. On WWE Main Event, the company aired Swagger’s promo. Due to the turn-around time, WWE Main Event is “live-to-tape,” so it would have been very difficult to make any changes—if even possible.
Smackdown, already in the can, could have some alterations. And by the time you’re reading this, you’ll know what happened, if anything. But Monday’s Raw in Dallas, Texas could be really telling. Does the WWE alter their plans?
I sure would!
I’m biased, but I hate the storyline to begin with. So this is a way out. A way to get out of it and not have to concern yourself with the negative backlash of the angle.
So what would I do? I’d keep it very simple:
Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter come out to open the show with a promo, ready to spout off their usual drivel. Just as Colter is ready to speak, Alberto Del Rio interrupts. He says it’s obvious to him and everyone where this is headed, but that he’s proud of his family and his heritage. He challenges Swagger to put up or shut up. He’ll put the title on the line, on Raw. But if Swagger loses, he and Zeb are gone. Swagger balks, but Del Rio questions his manhood, allowing Swagger to accept.
In an entertaining and competitive match, Del Rio forces Swagger to submit. Mid-match, Zeb tried to interfere and is stopped (and subsequentially run off) by Ricardo Rodriguez.
Once the match is over, enter Dolph Ziggler. From here you can one of two ways. Ziggler can cash in, beat Del Rio for the title and go on to face Chris Jericho at WrestleMania. Or, Ziggler can neglect to cash in on Raw, instead declaring his title shot for WrestleMania 29.
I would prefer to see Ziggler cash in on Raw and move on to wrestle Jericho at ‘Mania. This opens up Del Rio to be used as a face against one of the many heels who will need WrestleMania opponents.
And any of those options is better than “We The People.”
You Decide: Should the WWE change their plans after Swagger’s arrest?
Friday, February 22:
Zeb Colter May Be Art, But Is It WrestleMania Appropriate?
With Tony Acero
Above this, I defended the “art” of the character that Coulter is. I claimed that in one promo he altered my mindset about the entire segment and future of the Jack Swagger character. I had planned on completely countering that point and declare just WHY this storyline wasn’t worthy of the World Title. Similar to Greg DeMarco’s Reasoning behind not supporting the Del Rio and Swagger feud is more about the storyline than the wrestlers.
I considered exing this due to Swagger’s most recent exploits, but the truth is that I think this could apply to any number of big time feuds that centered around race. Whatever minority that the WWE opts to make the hero, it doesn’t come off as good television. Now, Greg argues that if this were surrounding a mid-card title, it would be a-ok by him, and I understand that to a degree. I’m not saying I don’t want the WWE to ever do a racist angle, but what I feel my strongest point is that almost ANY racial standpoint feud comes off as lazy and cheap. Sure, there are times when it could sit on the pulse of America, but the way the WWE does things are not Saturday Morning cartoon happy, nor are they Lifetime Special motivated. They’re just a means to an end, and it’s far TOO easy, too simple to use as a feud for a World Title, or even a secondary title for that matter.
It’s WrestleMania season, when the storylines are supposed to mean something. When these larger than life characters jump off of the television into our living rooms and become something larger than life. A Mexican hero and a racist American are just far too….simple to be anything more than what they are. The storyline causes a loss of mystique and puts both Swagger and Del Rio on a playing field far too level with that of us “regular” people. Yes, one could argue that we want realistic characters, but – and this may not make any sense – what Del Rio and Swagger come off as are REALISTIC CARICATURES. Oxymoron? Perhaps, but it’s the best way I can describe this fantastical realism which does nothing for me other than wish that Greg’s Paul Heyman-led Jack Swagger would come to fruition instead…
You Decide: Is (was?) the “We The People” angle WrestleMania appropriate?
AIW’s Girls Night Out 8 is coming on March 8, and DeMarcette Veda Scott gets you ready for her match against Leva Bates! Which beauty will qualify for the #1 Contender Ladder Match?
Hit up the ‘Mania on the TWITTER (so Ashish will like me, okay?)
And 1 Model of the Week
With Greg DeMarco
This week we recover from Mae Young with Catalina White?
Don’t know who she is? Well, outside of being under a WWE developmental contract from 2008-2009 as Saylor James, it’s most appropriate that she be the And 1 Model of the Week because she’s Jack Swagger’s wife!
Plenty to talk about in the comments!
Jack Swagger and more Jack Swagger!
And this, readers, is…