We may never find out what Cody Rhodes advised his former WWE colleagues to do that were considering leaving the company. But there’s been another recent WWE release who’s been more than happy to offer some tips and pointers for disgruntled WWE Superstars as we learned earlier this week from Jack Swagger’s interview with FloSlam.
Talking about the months since he requested his release from WWE, Swagger said that he felt as if he was starting from scratch and regaining his momentum after all those years spent with the self-proclaimed worldwide leader in sports entertainment. He did, however, add that he has been getting good reviews from fans, and that things have gone just as he had planned when he decided to walk away after hardly being used in his last few months with the WWE.
In quotes published by Wrestling Inc., Swagger stressed the importance of making sure everything is in order before one decides to leave the WWE for a career in the independent scene. Specifically, he advised would-be WWE “future endeavors” to get the benefits they’d likely lose once no longer connected with the company.
"You just have to remember that when you are with the WWE, it is a corporate job so you have certain benefits you need to get in line before you lose them,” said Swagger. “It's real important to get stuff like your mortgage and insurance in check before you decide to leave. Stuff like that becomes very difficult when you become an independent star."
A former collegiate wrestling star at Oklahoma, Jack Swagger (aka Jake Hager in real life) signed a developmental contract with WWE in 2006, making his debut on the main roster as part of the ECW brand two years later. While he achieved some success in the main event, successfully cashing in his Money in the Bank Contract and beating Chris Jericho in a March 2010 episode of SmackDown, Swagger was mostly a staple of the mid-card scene. A potential move back to the main event picture and a hot feud with Alberto Del Rio ahead of WrestleMania XXIX was derailed by an arrest for DUI and marijuana possession, and that arguably led to a long downhill slide down the card. In late 2016, Swagger moved from Raw (where he was drafted in last year's brand split) to SmackDown, but barely made any appearances on the blue brand before his March 2017 release.
Looking at Swagger's advice, we've got to agree with the one-time "All-American American." WWE has often been criticized for its questionable labor practices, but the company does offer several benefits that wrestlers couldn't take advantage of when working in the indies. So while it may be tempting to enjoy greater creative freedom, a lighter schedule, and potential Cody Rhodes-esque success in the independent scene; there are numerous caveats. We've got to give credit to Swagger for warning his colleagues about these catches and downsides to life in the indies.