The Undertaker returned to WWE on Saturday night, and now we are all anxiously waiting in anticipation of his likely return to Raw on Monday. Though we do not yet know who The Deadman will target as his WrestleMania 29 opponent, I for one do have an interesting name in mind: Jack Swagger.
Only it’s not going to happen.
I suppose this column could be considered a bit of a fantasy booking on my part, and though I usually do not go this route, for me this is one match that makes sense on many different levels.
But none of those levels apply to the current WWE story line. Just a minor detail.
Okay, now to be specific. As we all know, Jack Swagger has been red-hot since his return to WWE back on February 1. His career went from that of an uncomfortable mid-carder to that of a main-event-level World Title contender.
His spot in the pecking order has now caught up to his ability in the ring, and for the first time in his WWE career, Jack Swagger is finally relevant, believable and accepted. He has arrived.
This is all thanks to his new gimmick, of course, in which he has been openly critical of illegal immigrants, and anyone else who he feels does not belong in this country. As we all know, Swagger has gained an incredible amount of heat for this, especially from right wing Conservatives who feel his rhetoric is mocking them directly.
Last time I checked, this was pro wrestling entertainment, not deep social commentary. Huh.
But this has brought some priceless publicity to Vince McMahon’s company and to the man who at one point was barely just a blip on the radar of WWE fans. The angle is getting over in a big way thanks to Swagger, of course, and also to his “mentor” Zeb Colter.
Colter, aka Dutch Mantell, is an old-school pro wrestler who has been in and around the business for a very long time. From a distance, it appears as though he and Swagger would have very little in common, but once Colter opened his mouth, their association suddenly made sense.
So, what does the fastest-rising heel duo in WWE have in common with The Undertaker? In Taker’s present gimmick, not very much. However, as The American Badass?
Well, that’s a story line that just writes itself.
Who else in WWE would have a major problem with Swagger’s outspoken point of view than the man who rode down to the ring with an American flag on the back of his bike? That version of Undertaker would have been the first man to step up and call Jack Swagger out. He simply would not have tolerated the brash, holier-than-thou Swagger for very long without doing something about him.
The Real American Jack Swagger versus The American Badass, The Undertaker. That is a match that I would definitely pay money to see.
But yeah, it’s not happening.
An obvious reason why is because Taker is back as the dark and mysterious Deadman that we all know and love. The gear, the long flowing robe, the smoke and fire, this is the classic version of The Undertaker, the Phenom we have seen in recent years.
Anything could change, of course, but at the moment there is virtually no reason to believe that Taker would come back as anything other than the shadowy figure we know him to be.
Another reason why this match is not taking place is the fact that Swagger has a date with Alberto Del Rio at WrestleMania for the World Heavyweight Championship.
This is a match that is perfect in nearly every way, the booking is just spot on. Swagger as the heel, the would-be American patriot, against the baby face Del Rio, the Latino Superstar who will be fighting to defend the honor of his people. This is not just good booking, this is central casting.
There is a lot to work with here, and I believe that WWE has just barely scraped the tip of the iceberg with this rivalry. Its tone is perfect and each man involved is fully capable of playing his part to the hilt.
No doubt about it, if executed properly, this feud should end up as one of the best we have seen so far this year.
But the biggest reason why Taker vs. Swagger is not happening at WrestleMania is the fact that Jack has just not had enough time.
He did just get back and this gimmick is still so new that to face a legend like The Undertaker could possibly squash any forward progress he has made.
Perhaps if he had been in this new character for an extended period of time, then came face to face with The Deadman, that would have been a much more intriguing match-up. Add to this the fact that Taker only works one match per year now, and there simply would not be any reason for the two men to even make contact at this point.
But, a firmly established Swagger in the role that he now has, against a very active Undertaker who is willing to “make him famous” by putting on one great match on the grandest stage of them all. For me, that is well worth the price of admission.
While I cannot call this a “dream match,” Undertaker versus Jack Swagger would have been a very interesting WrestleMania moment. Jack’s current gimmick paired with Taker’s previous gimmick would have been like adding gas to a fire and likely could have made a very big impact in WWE.
Fantasy booking? Fine, I can live with that.
BY: TOM CLARK
Although CM Punk's 434-day WWEChampionship reign came to an end when he lost to The Rock at the Royal Rumble, he will have a chance to regain his prize at Elimination Chamber. To make things a bit more interesting, a stipulation was added that will result in The Rock dropping the title if he is disqualified or counted out. There is no question that it could totally change the complexion of the contest.
The manner in which the stipulation was added is certainly curious. Paul Heymanrequested that Vince McMahon agree to such terms and McMahon did precisely that, despite the fact that Brock Lesnar attacked him a couple weeks earlier. With that in mind, both Heyman and McMahon figure to have something up their respective sleeves.
Since The Rock is a face, he certainly wouldn't get himself disqualified and it's unlikely that he would be counted out as well. That would seem to indicate that Heyman has a plan of some sort. He nearly helped Punk escape the Royal Rumble with the title as he enlisted The Shield to attack The Rock, but McMahon reversed the decision. The Rock is the one who stands to lose out due to interference this time, though.
Most fans would probably agree that The Shield, Brock Lesnar or maybe even both entities will get involved in the match at some point. Punk hasn't wrestled a clean pay-per-view match since Night of Champions and I highly doubt that he'll start now. There will be a dirty finish of some kind, but it's tough to pinpoint exactly how things will play out.
Heyman has denied any involvement with The Shield, but McMahon clearly showed a video of him admitting that he paid off The Shield and Brad Maddox to carry out attacks on Punk's behalf. Heyman can deny it all he wants, but everyone knows it to be true. If The Shield is monetarily driven, then there's nothing stopping Heyman from utilizing them once again.
My guess is that Heyman's master plan is for The Shield to attack Punk. This would result in Punk winning via disqualification and—by virtue of the new stipulations that have been added—Punk would be the new WWE Champion. McMahon agreeing to the idea without any pressing from Heyman is a telltale sign that he is privy to Heyman's plan, though.
When The Shield hits the ring, the crowd will expect them to attack The Rock. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns will instead focus their attention on Punk, however. Knowing the plot all along, a smile will come across Punk's face and he will stand still, welcoming The Shield to hit him.
Rather than doing that, though, The Shield will exit the ring, seize Heyman and triplepowerbomb him through the announce table. Punk will be distracted amid all the confusion, resulting in The Rock executing a Rock Bottom for the win. Many will be puzzled about the events of the night, but once everything is explained on Raw, it will suddenly make plenty of sense.
The Shield may have a personal agenda when it comes to preserving justice in theWWE, but they are also mercenaries who are available for hire. McMahon will explain that while Heyman offered The Shield a sizable amount of money, McMahon is the owner of the WWE and he is the one who cuts the checks. Vince could then take a cheap shot at Heyman by mentioning the fact that ECW went bankrupt
I realize that this may seem like a labyrinth of ideas to put together, but it would make sense from a storyline perspective. It could also further the feud between McMahon andHeyman that would lead to McMahon's guy (Triple H) facing Heyman's guy (Brock Lesnar) at WrestleMania. As for The Shield, some might perceive their actions as a face turn, but that doesn't have to be the case. If anything, it would prove that The Shield has no allegiances and it would make the group look like an even more dangerous and destructive group.
An alternate possibility would involve The Rock outbidding Heyman for The Shield's services. I'm not sure what McMahon's status is in terms of appearing at a live show, so if he isn't well enough to be involved, then The Rock can use his considerable fortune to persuade The Shield to attack Heyman.
It wouldn't mean that The Shield is working for The Rock as it would be a one-time deal and it wouldn't make The Rock is a heel since Heyman is the one who was trying to pull the strings. Whether the former or latter scenario takes place, I fully expect someone to outfox Heyman and pay off The Shield to ensure that Punk doesn't regain the WWEChampionship based on a technicality.
A lot of fans have been critical of The Rock as WWE Champion, but I've enjoyed it and am very excited for his match with Punk at Elimination Chamber. I thought their first encounter was great and the added uncertainties should make the next one even better.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter and listen to him on Ring Rust Radio.
We are currently on the road to WrestleMania 29 and the pieces are starting to fall into place. Storylines are beginning, which will lead up to the matches we will get at the biggest WWE event of the year.
Ever since Brock Lesnar returned the day after WrestleMania 28, speculation began over who his opponent would be at the next WrestleMania.
WWE fans always want to witness a great feud and who doesn't. Feuds are what solely defines one winner and one loser. The patriot himself Jack Swagger has been absent from the WWE for a while after having byfar the worst year of his career. Although one who did have an oceanic year was U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro. Ever since making the transition from ROH to the WWE, Antonio Cesaro has flourished by showing off his tremendous athleticism and also his ferocious arrogance towards the American people on the mic.
People who know me, know that I am unbelievable Triple H fan, and I will go to bat for him any day of the week, and I do trend to go overboard when I defend him, but this time I think I'm right on the dot with this argument.Triple H has been ripped for letting his ego get in the way of how he books matches and feuds when it comes to himself. People say that he "buries" and "trashes" other superstars to pump his character and himself.
He does it again. Antonio Cesaro has continued to impress me, and is one of my favorite superstars in the WWE. He has been able to perform with some terrible opponents like The Great Khali and others. Cesaro has been United States Championship for a while now, and is one of the best superstars in the WWE without a doubt.
This past Wednesday on WWE Main Event, Cesaro retained his US title, and hit his amazing finishing move, "The Neutralizer" on the Great Khali, which was a sight to see.