When he was Jack Swagger in WWE, Jake Hager was a rising star looking to find where he fit in the pro wrestling world. Hager, whose fight with Anthony Garrett at Bellator 231 ended in a no-contest due to illegal knee strikes from Hager to the groin this past weekend, spoke to Wrestling Inc.'s Dan Yanofsky about his growth as a wrestler. During the interview, he discussed the difference between Jack Swagger and Jake Hager.
"As cool as Jack Swagger was, he felt choreographed," Hager stated. "I look at that as a 20-year-old Jake Hager. Now, Jake Hager is in his 30's, he's been around the world a couple of times, he's got culture, he's got experience. He's just a, smarter, more well-developed human being."
Every Wednesday night, AEW is on TNT. Hager is featured as a member of The Inner Circle, the muscle of the group. When Hager isn't performing on Wednesday's, he's training for MMA. The grind does not stop for him. While it is impressive he is doing both, Hager admits the differences between pro wrestling and MMA is staggering.
"The biggest difference so far is the rest days that I have," Hager went on to say. "We normally train Monday through Friday, when my training partners are available, and we'd take the weekends off. Now, with AEW on Wednesday nights on TNT, we changed Wednesday's-Thursday's to our rest days and Friday's-Tuesday's as our work days. It is an exhausting grind, and I have to be really focused on getting my rest on those days off and getting the proper nutrition so I can come home and start right back up again. I can't miss a beat because it is a short window that I have."
With AEW's huge roster and Bellator picking up talent left and right, Jake has a plethora of opponents to choose from. Some are older, some are champions and some are a little out of the box when it comes to challengers.
"At AEW they have such a great roster. Off the top of my head, I can name ten people I want to wrestle there," Hager went on to say. "Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley, The Young Bucks, Rey Fenix, Penta. There are so many guys there that would be a fresh matchup for the Jack Swagger/Jake Hager-style. In MMA, I'm very excited about the heavyweight division. I definitely want to fight (Heavyweight Champion) Ryan Bader. I would love to fight Fedor Emelianenko in Russia, maybe we can make that happen. As for a third, can I say a politician? Chuck Schumer."
Jake's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post, or via the video player at the top. You can check out past episodes of the WINCLY here. Subscribe to Wrestling Inc. Audio on iTunes or Google Play. Listen to the show via Spotify here or through TuneIn here.