Jacob Hager was born on December 3, 1982 in Perry, Oklahoma, and is well-known by his ring name: Jack Swagger. He signed on to the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), on the ECW brand. In addition, he worked for their developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), and became the inaugural FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion.
Attending the University of Oklahoma, Hager was recruited as a two-sport athlete. He played a defense tackle in football and was a heavyweight wrestler. When he was in junior year, he met WWE’s Head of Talent Relations, Jim Ross. He graduated with a degree in Finance soon after, and pursued a career in wrestling.
In 2006, Hager tried out for the WWE in Deep South Wrestling. In September of that year, he made his in-ring debut in a dark match against Antonio Mestre. After a series of dark matches, he was moved to Ohio Valley Wrestling in January the next year. His debut was marked by his victory over Atlas DaBone, and later began a feud with K.C. James. Hager was reassigned to Florida Championship Wrestling in August of 2007, and there he began a feud with TJ Wilson. The next year, he defeated Ted DiBiase Jr. at the Florida State Fair, and soon became the first ever FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion.
Hager’s debut on the ECW brand was in September 9, 2008, where he finally took on the ring name Jack Swagger. He established himself as a heel, following it up with a feud with ECW Original Tommy Dreamer. Their feud ended in an Extreme Rules match, wherein Swagger won and maintained his undefeated streak. In December, Swagger was named the number 1 contender on Matt Hardy’s ECW Championship. He defeated Hardy in January 2009, but he lost to Finlay the next month and ended his streak of victory.