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Jack Swagger Opens Up About Leaving WWE, Working with Zeb Colter
Posted By: Caylon Knox on Jun 04, 2017
Former WWE United States Champion, ECW Champion, and World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger recently appeared on The Two-Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast.
His recent departure from WWE:
“The main thing was my contract wasn’t up until January ’18 and they picked up an option (which they only had the option for) I didn’t have any control over it and they picked it up and extended it for another year. The timing of when they did that was when they took Dutch (Zeb Colter) away from me and put him with Alberto, so it was kind of like a two-fold punch in the face.
“About six months after that I felt like I needed to renegotiate and it was now the brand split again and moving me back to Smackdown, so I was thinking maybe we are going to do something and for whatever reason, they didn’t like me over there so I said let’s push the contract negotiations. Pretty much they told me that I deserved a raise and they wanted to sign me for another five years and into my 40s. What they were offering and what I had averaged over the decade that I had worked for them was way off.
“So after ten years with the company, I needed a change and like I said earlier I need to journey out and become the best professional wrestler I can but also I needed a change to make them miss me and want me back. I need to make them want me and the main thing is they were not growing my brand anymore. Bottom line.
“It happens and you can get angry about it but it is all business and it is all dollars. I was angry for a long time but once this all came down and I looked at it as a business decision so I understood their side, understood my side and we left on good terms and it is just something we had to do. I look forward to getting out there and showing everyone ALL of the Jack Swagger brand not just what they wanted to show you guys.”
Was taking Zeb Colter away from him the key point in knowing they were losing faith in the character?
“It wasn’t the tipping point, it was just another thing added on to the long list of the same thing of where it is very hard to get momentum going and it is even harder to be natural like “We The People” had become. “We The People” was transforming into a whole different climate and it was no longer a political movement it was simply a movement for the people and it was not more evident than when I went out of the country and went to Mexico and these were the very people we spoke of so harshly and they would stand up and say “We The People.” It was such a cool movement and it transformed so naturally and they tried to cut it off on so many levels but it kept coming back. They took Cesaro away from The Real Americans and tried to cut off “We The People”, we turned baby face, we wrestle a Russian, we have one of the biggest matchups of the year and one of the biggest matches of my career against Rusev and I turned babyface instantly over night. That is “We The People.” After that, nothing, and they cut the legs out from it again. I am not complaining because I am very grateful for the ten year career I had and that is way above average but it is just another thing because it is not my company and I don’t make the business decisions but one thing that Dutch always said about these types of things that I always took to heart was; “You can either do it or you can go start your own wrestling promotion.” So when you put it like that it puts it in perspective.”
His relationship and pairing with Dutch Mantell:
“It was one of the biggest honors of my career for me to drive him for two years and to listen to him complain about my driving (laughing) for two years. But it was such a blessing and such an honor to listen to this guy. The first show we did together and if you know Dutch you are going to believe this. We wrestled our match right before intermission and Taker had come by and we were talking with him and I was watching the rest of the matches and Dutch was ready to go and get on the road. I said that they kind of want us to stay here and watch all of the matches out of respect and Dutch said: “Respect? Well, don’t you want to learn? You can learn more from me riding in the car in thirty minutes than you will in two hours watching matches, I promise you.” After that, we got done wrestling and we got in the car and that is just the way it was. Dutch isn’t a cocky person but he knows what he is talking about and after that, I laughed and I never doubted him.”
What was the best advice Dutch gave him:
“That is a great question. There is so much he gives without even most people picking up on it. One of the biggest things with me was if you watched my career I’m 6’4” and 270 pounds but I move very well and I like to wrestle almost like a smaller guy than I am so when he came aboard he saw that right away and he always worked with me on protecting my size and protecting myself. You can do so much more when you can work the size that you are and he really helped me on that side of things but also on a personal level and just as a friend I would almost say that his advice was even more valuable on that side of things. He is so endearing and he is so caring and has been through so much that he just knows and understands so many situations. Having him as a friend was just as good as having him as a teacher.”
Who came up with “We The People”:
“I came up with the t-shirt and was trying to sell it to WWE for the longest time and I just had it made myself and I wore it on the Money In The Bank pay per view and literally as soon as I came back through the curtain the entire merchandise department was there waiting for me and headquarters had called them and they wanted the shirt made. That is how that came about and it is good advice for anyone listening that is still in there. Go ahead and make the shirt you want made and wear it on TV and they will want it.”
The “We The People” is such a cool story. We just so happened to be in Nashville where Dutch lives a couple of weeks after the Elimination Chamber where I beat Randy to go on to WrestleMania with Alberto. They were looking for a mouthpiece for me and they say I can’t talk (but I think I am doing just fine) so being in Nashville and I think it was Hunter’s idea to bring him in and they had Dutch do a couple of promos on video and would play it for Vince later in the day. He did one or two and on the third one he added in “We The People” at the end and everybody when he said that to close it were like; “WOW.” When he said it, it was just one of those moments where you get goosebumps and it was just something that Dutch and his brilliant mind had just thrown in there and event though he didn’t say it in the first two promos he said it in that third one and when Vince watched it he said that’s my guy. So you can add “We The People” to the long list of brilliant things that Dutch has come up with.”
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