WWE Hall Of Famer Jim Ross welcomed Jake Hager, formerly WWE's Jack Swagger, to his Jim Ross Report podcast before Hager's MMA debut at Bellator 214 this past Saturday. Among many other things, Hager talked about All Elite Wrestling and whether he has had any discussions about joining the upstart promotion. Hager weighed in on his WWE departure and his current lifestyle. Additionally, Hager shared some reservations he had about getting into professional wrestling before signing with WWE in 2006.
According to Hager, also known as Lucha Underground's Jake Strong, AEW is changing the landscape of professional wrestling and creating competition.
"I could not be more excited about it," Hager revealed. "I feel like it's changing the landscape of professional wrestling. It's providing competition. I know, Jim, you're like me. I believe competition makes everyone better. So this is great for pro wrestlers. This is great for the boys in the back - it gives them some place to go, it gives them leverage. And it's great for pro wrestling fans! It gives them different styles and shows the different artistic ways we can tell stories. I can't put a finger on how guys like Kenny Omega, guys like The Young Bucks, guys like Cody, over the last two years have just become red-hot and just generated so much momentum. They're just doing the right things at the right times and really making it a great time to be a pro wrestler."
Hager acknowledged that he has spoken with Cody [Rhodes], albeit "briefly," about joining AEW in the future.
"I've kind of had my nose in training camp since September, so I haven't talked with them about it too much, but here and there, I will talk with Cody and you can't help but bring it up. I always think back to what [Chris] Jericho and Kenny Omega did for New Japan [Pro-Wrestling] last year for Wrestle Kingdom. I really feel like they worked everybody, that angle and it was really refreshing to see… it was 2018 at the time, but to see that in pro wrestling where people can still get hooked, still believe it." Hager said, "I expect nothing but more of that and great matches from these guys."
On the subject of Hager's release from WWE in 2017, 'The All American American' shared that has a new perspective since leaving Titan Tower and that he loves his present lifestyle.
"Of course now, a year-and-a-half, almost two years since I left the company, I have a different perspective than I did at the time when I was first leaving," Hager reflected. "When I was first leaving, [I was] angry, upset, wanting, want, want, want, and now I look back and there's a lot that I could have done better to change that outcome. I learned my lesson and I see that and don't make the same mistake twice. And, honestly, Jim, I'm happier than I ever have [been]. I'm home more with my kids and my family. I love being a dad. I love being a family man."
Also during the interview, Hager divulged that he was always scared of being a stereotypical broken down former professional wrestler.
"Honestly, Jim, going into that industry, it always terrified me to be one of those guys [leaving pro wrestling with no money and no family] after having it all," Hager admitted. "It's a scary superstar type deal like be careful what you wish for. If you want to roll with the big dogs on the top level, it's not all glitz and glamor. There [are] a lot of behind-the-scenes decisions that, one bad one could lead you down a path and it's hard to reverse."
Get your fill of 'Slobberknocker Audio' here or in the audio player below. If you use any of the quotations from this article, please credit The Jim Ross Report with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Jim Ross Report