Jack Swagger aka Jake Hager asked for and was granted his WWE release in 2017 after an 11-year relationship with the company. Swagger had been unhappy for some time and wanted to do other things such as compete in MMA.
“Well when I debuted in 2008 you still had guys like Undertaker, Mick Foley, Edge – true veterans from a past generation that learned the sport a different way. I almost feel like the guys that I debuted with, the Dolph Zigglers, Wade Barretts, Eddie Colons, we were like the last generation of WWE Superstars coming from developmental, but still had that old-school generation show respect type thing installed and that’s how it worked and there were a lot of problems if you had problems with those guys,” said Swagger.
“But as my career continued and those guys were kind of phased off for most of the year, but sporadically they would come back it was a younger generation running the locker room. And you saw, I saw anyway, less politics with the boys and saw more of the Superstars understanding the situation to make the best segments we can and not a lot of animosity and not a lot of politics. People like John Cena were really wanting to help and make the best product possible and I really appreciated that. I worked better in that environment where we’re all there, we’re equals and we’re trying to make the best product possible.”
In the two years since Swagger asked for his release, numerous other Superstars have also asked out, although not all requests have been granted. Swagger was asked if he was shocked to see so many WWE Superstars want out.
“No it’s not a shock, they know exactly how they treat their talent. They know the contracts that they have assigned and they know exactly why we’re unhappy with the way they treat us. So it’s not a shock to me,” stated Swagger. “I’m very thankful now looking back that I was able to leave when I did. I’m very thankful for my 12 years there because it allowed me to do so much. It allows me to do so much now because of my background, that notch on my resume, but at the same time there’s a lot of unhappy people there and it’s not just because of the politics.
“You’re traveling 200 days a year, sometimes you’re only home 36 hours a week, away from your family and then you go out there and you have these storylines that are just bad and you’re like, ‘I’m putting my body through this for THIS’? Like it would be a lot easier if the Superstars up there didn’t care and they just did what they were told, but unfortunately you can’t do a job like that. You have to care, you have to wear your heart on your sleeve in that ring and you have to care about what you are doing and so it doesn’t surprise me at all that people are leaving because it is a problem they need to address.”
Swagger has been fighting under his real name of Jake Hager while with Bellator MMA. Speaking of fighting, he put one up in order to trademark the “Jack Swagger” name for use in both wrestling and MMA, but said it didn’t work out.
“I definitely tried to fight as Jack Swagger, it just didn’t work out,” admitted Swagger. “Now that we’ve got the first fight under our belts, it’s Jake Hager going forward.”