It seems as every wrestling free agent has had their name linked to AEW since their official launch, and Jack Swagger is no different. He's been wrestling on the indie scene in addition to his MMA work with Bellator, and Swagger joined our WINCLY podcast to talk to Wrestling Inc. about AEW possibilities.
"I'm very good friends with a lot of those guys: Chris [Jericho] and Cody and I've met the Bucks," said Swagger. "It's crazy – Kenny Omega was at Deep South Wrestling in 2006 with me unsigned by WWE. He was going through hell like the rest of us, so it's cool to see the success that these people have had.
"You really care about them. You care about the characters they portray and you hate them at times and really like them at times.
"I talk to them sporadically. We haven't brought [me working with AEW] up so far. It's just been congratulations, patting each other on the back type deal."
A recent report stated that a couple of WWE talents wanted out of their contracts and could possibly end up in AEW. Swagger had his requested release granted two years ago and he spoke about the current environment in pro wrestling has Superstars looking at other options.
"It's a very exciting time. Not since I was in seventh grade have pro wrestlers had other options," stated Swagger. "No disrespect to wrestlers who went to Impact/TNA but as far as supplementing your income and a paycheck you can rely on, they weren't that.
"It's very exciting to see that there is so much life, not that there is life outside of WWE. There is so much life outside of WWE. I think that's gonna make WWE step up their game, their programming, their storylines and wrestlers are definitely gonna respond to that backstage. I think it's gonna be awesome. Does AEW need to compete with WWE? No, but they just need to be a great place to come wrestle and to come watch wrestling."
WWE releases aren't just limited to wrestlers as Arn Anderson was released from his backstage producer position. Swagger said that Anderson should land on his feet and will likely have numerous suitors on the market.
"Surprised yes. But at the same time, no I'm not surprised," Swagger said on Anderson's release. "I know he's a smart man and saved his money so he can step back for a period.
"I love Arn Anderson. I don't think you'll find a wrestler who worked with him that won't say that. Just an amazing person – good-hearted, cares about you, sincere, honest. You can just drop it right there at honest because in the entertainment business, that's the most rare thing there is.
Arn Anderson is already in the WWE Hall of Fame for his work with the Four Horseman, but Swagger said he would be deserving of another wing in the hall due to his backstage work.
"If there was a Hall of Fame for producing, he'd definitely be up there. He always had the big matches and his record speaks for itself. I would not be surprised if he ends up wearing black and gold [of AEW]," said Swagger.
The full audio from Jack Swagger's exclusive Wrestling Inc interview was included as part of a today's episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard in the embedded player below. In the full interview Jack discusses being victorious in his Bellator debut, did Vince McMahon call him?, his next Bellator fight, his friendship with R-Truth, the future of Lucha Underground, Arn Anderson's WWE release, the launch of AEW and more.