I was very excited when I saw Alberto Del Rio return to WWE. In a past article for SLTD Wrestling, I mentioned that he’d be much better continuing on with Lucha Underground and AAA rather than continuing on with WWE. However, I’m still think it’s great that he’s with WWE and so far, he’s been booked well. He beat John Cena clean on his first night and is the WWE United States Champion. However, there are a few parts of his booking which I have a problem with. The partnership with Del Rio and Zeb Colter is one thing but it’s the possibility of Del Rio’s first challenger being Jack Swagger.
Here’s the deal. Alberto Del Rio won the WWE United States Championship by beating John Cena of all people, clean. That’s huge. The idea that the United States Champion and AAA Mega Champion goes from John Cena to Jack Swagger in the space of a few weeks seems a bit absurd and it’s all to do with how Jack Swagger has been treated since the start of the year, when he lost a feud against Rusev. Ironically enough, that feud was over the United States Championship.
What has Jack Swagger done since then? How many pay-per-views has Jack Swagger been a part of in 2015? Two. That’s right… two. Both of these matches were battle royal matches, the Royal Rumble and the Andre The Giant battle royal. He was part of multi-man matches and basically used to fill up the numbers. He’s rarely appeared on RAW and all of a sudden, Swagger is back on RAW television. It’s not a slow build for Swagger no. He’s been entered into a feud with the United States Champion Alberto Del Rio.
What has Jack Swagger done to earn a United States Championship match? Has he won a number one contendership match? No. Did he win a tournament? No, he’s just started having trouble with Del Rio which will most likely lead to a US title match at Survivor Series. That alone is not going to make Swagger a legitimate challenge to Del Rio. Actually let’s talk about Del Rio. Alberto Del Rio has actually appeared on less PPVs this year then Swagger (obviously, Del Rio only returned recently) and yet somehow, Swagger looks like nothing compared to him. Why? Because Del Rio beat the best upon his arrival and has legitimate WWE credentials. He’s a three time world champion in WWE, won Money In The Bank and won the only 40 man rumble in history. WWE wouldn’t recognise this but he is still currently a world champion in his own right, being the AAA Mega Champion. It’s not like he’s not wrestled at all since he was fired last year. He’s got an MMA background. Getting him back and noticed wasn’t exactly hard. For Swagger, it’s difficult because WWE have allowed it to be difficult.
If WWE knew that Jack Swagger was going to compete for the United States Championship soon, surely Swagger be put on RAW a lot more frequently. The Del Rio signing was a bit sudden so it’s not like WWE have been planning this. However, if you’re building up a contender it helps to build him up a little. Nobody is going to care that Jack Swagger is winning on house shows or Main Event or SmackDown! RAW is the flagship show for a reason. He needs wins on RAW and he needs to look credible and not just be among the crowd, especially if you’re first feud in a year for him is him going up against a man that just beat John Cena.
What’s disappointing about the negative aspect of this feud is that on paper, it’s actually a decent feud. These two have feuded before with Alberto Del Rio beating Swagger for the World title at Wrestlemania 29 and again a month later. Swagger’s never gotten a big win over Del Rio and must prove it to himself that he cane beat the man. That on paper is great and is all you really need to get this feud running. You don’t really need Zeb Colter at all, although his involvement does add a bit to it. The point is that it’s got the ingredients for a great feud. All you need is for Jack to look credible enough to validate him going up against Del Rio. With that along with the storyline mentioned earlier, people can get behind Swagger and you can get him over. You don’t need Michael Cole to sit there on commentary and say “Man, these two have had quite the rivalry in the past few years,” or “Man, this rivalry has gotten personal” or anything like that.
Give Swagger a lot more motivation to go up against Del Rio over rather than having Zeb Colter being the focal point. Del Rio and Swagger have actually had good matches in the past so you can actually have a decent feud with Swagger proving himself being the focal point instead. It takes away people’s interest in Swagger if you make the match about Colter.
If all of this business with Del Rio and Swagger is filler until John Cena returns, fine. Whatever. However, you can still make Swagger and Del Rio good coming out of it except Swagger’s not looked good going into it. There’s no real reason for the audience to believe that a man that’s not done anything note worthy in the last year despite being active is going to be on par with a man that holds the second most important title in the company and has beaten the best to win it.