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Jack Swagger (Donald Hager Jr.) was granted a release from WWE, according to Chael Sonnen (who would know based on a common friendship with Swagger) on Twitter today. PWTorch has not yet independently confirmed the news and Swagger is still listed on WWE.com’s “Superstars” roster page.
— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) March 1, 2017
He was involved in a strange post-Roster Split angle where his “Raw contract expired” and he was “picked up by Smackdown.” He lost to Jinder Mahal on Raw in his last Raw match, even though Jinder almost never won on TV. Shane McMahon had boasted on Talking Smack he “doesn’t watch Raw” and Smackdown treated the signing of Swagger as some sort of proud acquisition, yet they never really pushed Swagger after that.
Swagger was a product of the WWE Developmental system and was pushed early due to his pedigree as an amateur wrestler at the University of Oklahoma and his size and marketable look. He became ECW Champion in January 2009. He ended up moving to the main roster in the summer of 2009 and had a short run as World Champion. He also won Money in the Bank in 2010 and had a U.S. Title run.
Keller’s Analysis: Swagger had a few starts and stops in WWE in terms of his push and seeming momentum, but he’ll be among the lowest rung “former World Champions” in WWE history in the sense that every time he was mentioned as a former World Champion, it felt out of whack with the push he was getting at the time. When he wasn’t part of this year’s Royal Rumble or any recent Smackdowns, it seemed a departure could be around the corner. Although I haven’t heard anything at this point indicating so, I wouldn’t be shocked if he showed up in TNA as a way to fill out the roster given the departures this week headed into their next set of TV tapings. I always thought he had a high upside, but something held back WWE’s enthusiasm for getting behind him for any consistent stretch. He was managed by Uncle Zeb, a/k/a Dutch Mantel, who is now a creative team member in TNA.