In a recent radio appearance, All Elite Wrestling star Jake Hager — formerly known in WWE as Jack Swagger — discussed a number of topics related to his in-ring career, including the difference between the backstage environments in both his former and current promotion.
As quoted by Wrestling Inc., Hager recently guested on Busted Open Radio, where he sat down with hosts Bully Ray and Dave LaGreca and, among other topics, explained why he prefers the locker-room interactions in AEW to the ones he supposedly had in WWE. He said that the difference between both companies in this regard is like “night and day,” pointing out in particular that he sees AEW president Tony Khan as an accessible boss, unlike WWE owner Vince McMahon, whom he suggested wasn’t the easiest person to deal with during his time with his former employer.
According to Hager, speaking to Khan is much less stressful than speaking to McMahon, who, as the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion recalled, wasn’t always in the best mood while supervising his wrestlers and other employees backstage during shows. The 37-year-old grappler added that as part of the AEW roster, he enjoys seeing Khan’s positive attitude rub off on his colleagues.
“It’s nice and I think you see that attitude trickled down from the top all away across. You see that as professional wrestlers they always say that the boys ruin it for the boys but what I see is a bunch of young and hungry [wrestlers who] really want to be a part of something and [are] really trying to build a future outside of the WWE.”
Hager also discussed another one of his bigger frustrations with the backstage environment in WWE — the company’s alleged tendency to drop hot storylines at the last minute. He contrasted this to his experience during the few weeks since he joined the AEW roster, where scripts are memorized well in advance, thus giving wrestlers more time to focus on how to give it their all on-air and contribute to an entertaining show.
This isn’t the first time in recent days that Hager has illustrated the difference between working for WWE and working for AEW and why he prefers the latter company. Speaking to Wrestling Inc. last week, Hager, who also competes in MMA promotion Bellator’s heavyweight division, said that his old Jack Swagger character “felt choreographed,” as opposed to his current persona, where he uses his real name and stands out as a “smarter, more well-developed” individual than he was in his 20s.