Earlier this year, Jack Swagger was released from his WWE contract and the former World Champion recently described who inspired his current indie run.
For over 15 years now, WWE has been the pinnacle of the pro wrestling business. Even before that—when WCW still existed—most performers who were with the now defunct company at the time would admit that they were using it as a stepping stone to get to WWE. To do that now, most wrestlers have to ply their trade on the independent circuit for a number of years.
WWE is absolutely teeming with talent that made names for themselves on the indies right now. Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose, Finn Balor, and more are all current WWE Superstars who worked extremely hard to get to pro wrestling's top table. There are sometimes examples of wrestlers who haven't had to do that though. Exceptions to the rule that are plucked out of the masses by WWE straight out of college or another sport such as football.
Jack Swagger was one of those guys. The Real American never worked the independents and was shot straight into the big time as he joined WWE right out of college. He was given a chance to hone his craft in OVW and FCW, but that was it. Earlier this year though, Swagger was released from his WWE contract after eleven years with them. Not wanting to give up the business Swagger has since taken to the indies for the first time in his career.
Swagger was recently a guest on the Arm Drag Takedown Podcast with Pollo Del Mar during which he divulged how his time on the independent circuit has gone so far. He actually spoke of how inspired he was by Cody Rhodes who has been a trailblazer when it comes to ex WWE guys making a name for themselves elsewhere. "He has a very good brain for this business," Swagger said of Rhodes, "he really knew his game plan and what he wanted to do."
In a strange way, Cody and Swagger's career trajectories have been very similar. They both enjoyed hot periods in WWE followed by a slow descent back down the card. With that in mind, it's no wonder that Swagger has taken inspiration from what the current Ring of Honor Champion has done on the indies so far and there's no reason why he can't be just as successful outside of WWE.