Donald Wood: Sunday is the 2015 Royal Rumble from Philadelphia, but you have not been formally announced for the 30-man Royal Rumble match yet. Will the WWE Universe see Jack Swagger make an appearance and what can the fans expect from you if you enter the match?
Jack Swagger: Well you absolutely get to see the Real American in the Royal Rumble. I don’t know what type of Royal Rumble it would be without me. Every year everyone tries to find their place to start, make an impact, a run to the road to WrestleMania, and make it to that championship match. It all starts at the Royal Rumble. Levels are very high right now. Every Superstar that’s going to be in the Royal Rumble is definitely going to raise the bar, try to stand out, to compete, and give the WWE universe what they come to expect from such a match. It is a lot of fun but also a lot of hard work. I think this year is going to be no different, you’re not going to know what to expect, there will be a ton of swerves in there, and hopefully the Real American is standing at the end.
Mike Chiari: The Royal Rumble is viewed by most as the unofficial start to WrestleMania season, and coming off your feud with Rusev you have a clean slate to work with. So, with WrestleMania quickly approaching, what direction do you see yourself heading in? What are your expectations for the next couple months?
Jack Swagger: It’s a fun time of year but it’s also a stressful time of year. WWE really likes to keep its fans on the edge of their seats and on their toes. They are always trying to keep that big swerve in their pocket for as long as possible. Right now I am unattached, so going forward I’m going to do whatever I can behind the scenes and in the ring to secure a match in WrestleMania and make it a good spot.
Brandon Galvin: You’re viewed as one of the top in-ring workers n the company and somebody they can rely on to put on entertaining matches. Do you ever feel this typecasts you as a performer or limits your potential to allow fans to see more of your personality?
Jack Swagger: Yea it’s a double edged sword. It does only give me so many options. I think it’s on the Superstars in this day and age to get your personality out there. We have so many tools now that we didn’t have even when I first started six years ago. Social media is such a powerful media that is a Superstar is type casted or only getting so many opportunities you can go on social media to promote yourself and your brand and give fans a chance to see that other side of your personality. That will only help your in ring performance entertainment wise though. As far as me, after you have been doing it as long as I have you constantly have to stay hungry and growing and reinvent yourself as an artist. Otherwise as an artist you will be dying and that’s what I try to keep doing as much as possible.
Donald Wood: The crowd in Philadelphia is one of the most intense in all of wrestling. With the Royal Rumble being one of the most important events of the year for the company, what is the feeling backstage regarding possible crowd reaction and does performing in front of such a smart group of fans add even more pressure to perform at a high level?
Jack Swagger: I don’t know if it adds more pressure. I always love working in the Northeast, it’s more intense out there, and it’s always fun when the crowd is into it. Whether they are chanting for the match or something completely unrelated to what is going on. As long as they are involved we feed off of that. I think as a wrestler and a Superstar you have to know where you are at and know your audience. Before you go into the ring, know what is going to work and if it doesn’t be ready to have a plan B.
Mike Chiari: One of the most memorable time periods of your career so far was your rivalry with Alberto Del Rio entering WrestleMania 29. There were some really realistic and controversial aspects to that feud that helped you and WWE gain some mainstream attention. Looking back at that angle do you feel like WWE struck gold by toeing that line? Is that the type of thing you’d like to see even more of moving forward?
Jack Swagger: Absolutely. It was a very hot topic across the United States. I think the WWE should do more on it along those lines and still stay PG. It made it fun and more relative to our older fans. With the story lines today, it’s very hard to generate natural interest in the WWE universe. You can’t force it down their throats; they are only going to like what they like. Having something that’s already on the tips of their tongues or on their minds, it just makes it that much easier, fun and intense. Any time you can get Glenn Beck crying it’s a good thing.
Brandon Galvin: You’ve played both sides of the “We the People” character. As a proud American, was it difficult for you to play a villain or did you find it was a more entertaining role for yourself?
Jack Swagger: Growing up in Oklahoma, my High School team was renowned and very good. We would walk into places and they would just boo the hell out of us. So from a young age I got a taste of that and I liked it. The more you boo me the better I’m going to wrestle. You don’t like me? So what. It’s a lot of fun to work like that and wrestle with that mindset. I haven’t been on the other side of the ball or the we the people character. It doesn’t have the same type of fulfillment but it’s different as you can imagine Hear the people actual pop for something good or cheer a victory is nice too. I’m not sure which one I like more right now so maybe I’m going to need a six year face run to make sure.
Donald Wood: Over the last two years, you have worked with legendary manager Zeb Colter. He has been around the business for over 40 years and has seen and done almost everything. What are some of the things that he has taught you that have helped you continue to emerge as one of the most reliable wrestlers on the WWE roster?
Jack Swagger: Zeb Colter is unbelievable, he is priceless. I can’t tell you how many things he has helped me, other Superstars, the creative team, and even Vince with. An all-around good person and his experience is almost incomparable in this day and age in sport entertainment. Riding with him he has made me a better driver because he complains all the time. You almost get into one car accident and he never lets you forget it. That aside, with wrestling, it’s a different generation and mentality that still works. You have to take the match like that, work like that, and have that mentality. I think the main thing with him is he wants physicality. He has worked with me on a lot of things like my size and being more physical and when to do something in a certain spot. The best thing about him being out there is you never know what he is going to say ringside. There has been so many times he has said something and made me pop and I laughed right in the middle of the ring. That may be bad for some matches that’s always a good thing with me.
Mike Chiari: A lot of fans are aware of your background as a wrestler and football player at the University of Oklahoma, but I’m not sure many know what type of role Jim Ross played in terms of getting you into the sports entertainment business. How did that whole situation and opportunity come about and how would you describe your relationship with JR?
Jack Swagger: I started playing football in 2001, the year after the won the National championship. I actually met Jerry Briscoe 2004 when I was half way through and he introduced me to Jim. Whenever they were in town we would get together and talk college wrestling or wrestling in general. We would talk football with Jim and have dinner. Of course they told me about it, I’m a big guy and good looking. They always said finish your degree finish college and if you want to give this a shot we will be here waiting. The last semester of college I interviewed for so many finance firms and security exchanges. There were so many jobs there but the opportunity just wasn’t as good as what the WWE was presenting. You should have seen the look on my parents faces when I told them that I was going to do it but it ended out working out pretty well. I graduated in May 2006 and by July of 2006 I was signed and moved to Deep South Wrestling
Brandon Galvin: You’re known in WWE for your ankle lock submission and your overall submission skills. How difficult is it to create new types of submission holds or even working in different holds into your matches?
Jack Swagger: It is one of the processes of being a Superstar, to always be evolving. It’s hard because everything has been done and seen before. To find something that works you can only find through trying something out there in the ring. You have to try it out there, see how it works, and see what it looks like. It is very difficult but it is very possible. Another thing too with so many guys on the roster and in NXT there are only so many moves you can do without someone else doing them. That is rule number one to me; don’t do anything else that someone else is doing. You want to be yourself and stand out. To find a move that works, stands out, and separates you from everyone else, it is hard but you can do it.