Clash of the Toy-tans: Dusty Rhodes vs. Jack Swagger
If Dusty Rhodes is, in fact, “The American Dream,” then “The All-American American” Jack Swagger would strive to be Rhodes’ harshest of wakeup calls.
With a chance to go one-on-one with the WWE Hall of Famer, Swagger is more interested in establishing red, white and blue dominance than golden glory. For Rhodes, a “common man” whose ring career suggests anything but, it’s about sharing his spotlight of prominence with the working class.
A former World Heavyweight Champion like Swagger was practically born in the squared circle, collecting state titles and cultivating an amateur background in the tradition of WWE Legend Bob Backlund and Hall of Famers Jack and Gerald Brisco. A blue-collared upbringing in Texas made Rhodes more appreciative of his natural talents and opportunities, working his way from hard times sleeping in alleys and having “dined on pork and beans” to World Championships and a WWE Hall of Fame nod.
There would be nothing civil about a war between these two Americans. The only question their conflict would answer is whether a dream would prevail ... or a nightmare.
There’s no denying that Jack Swagger is the more natural athlete, even if he were the one who told you so. And he most definitely would – his name is Swagger – while he laid you out with a gutwrench powerbomb and did push-ups over your prone form. The same conclusion must be made with regards to straight-out grappling technique. Just as an opponent seems to have the upper hand, Swagger can counter with a move that would promptly force said hand to tap out on the canvas.
Case in point: The All-American American’s ankle lock, which has brutally twisted the joints of countless Superstars, including Big Show, Evan Bourne and Jerry “The King” Lawler. Swagger doesn’t even have to make his opponent submit to the ankle lock; once the move is cinched in, the damage is quickly done, even if Swagger’s prey successfully reaches the ropes to break the hold. And therein lies this former World Champion’s sole weakness. Instead of capitalizing, he’d rather run circles around the ring to celebrate a win he hasn’t yet achieved.
Rhodes, on the other hand, doesn’t possess such weakness. His solid frame can take anything that’s dished out, and although his offense doesn’t look polished, it has uncrowned World Champions the likes of Harley Race and Ric Flair. Dusty can be a tad flamboyant, jukin’ and jivin’ while his adversary reels from a flurry of jabs so lightning-fast you can’t help but do a double-take toward the source. And his exuberance is endless – it fuels the crowd, and the crowd in turn fires up this ever-charismatic legend.
Then there’s Rhodes’ coup de grâce, surrounded by a cushioned right pad that’s for your protection more than his. The Bionic Elbow has felled veritable mountains of the mat like Abdullah the Butcher, Nikita Koloff and Blackjack Mulligan. If ever a move defined a Superstar’s tide-turner, it has been this simplest of attacks by Rhodes.
Jack Swagger has the advantage in all but where it counts most: Heart and integrity. The All-American American can thump his chest all he wants, but when things get down to the nitty-gritty, The American Dream shines like a sweet sapphire as he drops the Bionic Elbow on Swagger’s skull. And when our fans watch Swagger go down, 1-2-3, they’re gonna shower Dusty Rhodes with flowers. That is, until he gets clocked from behind by his now-irate nemesis, who slaps on the ankle lock. Swagger would surely break Rhodes’ appendage if not for the fast action taken by ring officials, who eventually force the unsportsmanlike conductor to break his hold. Sadly, though, there will be no celebratory boogie from the victorious Rhodes this night.
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