TMZ.com is reporting that current WWE superstar Jack Swagger was arrested last night during a traffic stop in Mississippi. Swagger, whose real name is Jacob Hager, was pulled over for speeding. The arresting officer determined the wrestler to be under the influence. A subsequent search of his vehicle revealed Hager was also in possession of marijuana. He was eventually cited with three misdemeanor charges and released on his own recognizance.
For the character Jack Swagger, this arrest could not have come at a worse time. The wrestling superstar is in the midst of his biggest career push. Swagger returned to the company in the past few months, after a weak and poorly received run in the mid card. Upon his homecoming, he was thrust into the main event role, portraying as a delicately racist American who is interested in returning the country back to its prosperous roots. This past Sunday, Swagger was victorious in a bout at the company's Elimination Chamber pay per view, guaranteeing him a Wrestlemania match against Champion Alberto Del Rio. With the arrest now coming to light, one has to wonder what will become of his career.
Although it's true that Jack Swagger is hardly the first wrestling superstar to be arrested for these misdemeanors, he is still in a compromising situation. For lower level wrestling superstars, an arrest of this nature would categorically be met with immediate suspension and release from their contract. For a wrestler of main event status, they could expect a slap on the wrist and a suspension due to violation of the WWE's Wellness Policy. But Jack Swagger is not a member of either of these groups. The character is in limbo, teetering between the main event push, and still being an experimental character.
Unfortunately for Swagger, if I were a gambling man, I would be willing to bet that his future goes one of two ways. Neither course of action being particularly encouraging to his young career. More than likely, Swagger will be used to be made an example of. His Wrestlemania main event push will probably be scrapped in the storyline and given to a more promising superstar, one who doesn't make waves. He will then be suspended for the violation of the WWE Wellness Policy and be released shortly thereafter. Another scenario, though I see it being less likely, is that Swagger will continue his feud with Alberto Del Rio, and lose at Wrestlemania in fairly breakneck fashion. Swagger will then be suspended after Wrestlemania and be made an example of. I view this as a less likely scenario, only because of the attention the arrest has already gained. People are going to look to the WWE for quick and decisive action, so the first scenario is most likely.
Another thing that could potentially work against Jack Swagger, at least indirectly, is the induction of Bruno Sammartino into the WWE Hall of Fame. After years of outspoken criticism waged against his former employer, the legendary Sammartino accepted the Hall of Fame invitation only after the company changed its direction. In the last few years, the company has become more family oriented and child friendly. Sammartino has also publicly noted in interviews that he respected the WWE's Wellness Policy, due to policy testing being oversaw by Dr. Maroon, who worked with Bruno in the past. Now with Swagger publicly violating the policy, the WWE will look like hypocrites if they do not act fast.
Regardless of the course of action, Jack Swagger can expect some sort of repercussion from this embarrassing incident. But this should be a lesson to all wrestlers, especially the younger ones, that you are not invincible in the eyes of the law.