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Former WCW Manager Was Supposed To Manage Jack Swagger Instead Of Zeb Colter

Jack Swagger Jake Hager WWE Article Pic 2 WrestleFeed App

Old School Wrestling Manager ‘Father’ James Mitchell was recently interviewed by WrestlingNews and spoke about ideas WWE pitched for him over the years.

He revealed that WWE not only wanted him to manage Lord Tensai (fka A-Train) at one point, but another time they also tried to get him to manage Jack Swagger, a spot that was eventually given to Zeb Colter (Dutch Mantell).

Here’s what Mitchell had to say:

“Back in the 90s. Kevin Kelly called. I mean, I was sending him tapes back then, especially after I went to Smoky Mountain Wrestling because then I had TV quality, broadcast quality tapes to send instead of something filmed in a flea market. Kevin Kelly called me once like in ’93. I don’t even know what his job was. He called to let me know he’s looking at my tape. Bruce Prichard called me one time like ’95 or ’94 to look at the tape. He said, ‘We’re gonna go look at this’ and then I never heard from him again.

Then the beginning of 2012, until the beginning of 2013, I think it was, a member of the creative team called me and asked me if I’d be interested in coming in there, and at that point, had been sitting home doing nothing. This was after I left TNA/IMPACT. I was like, ‘Of course, yeah, I’m ready to go.’ He said, ‘Make me a tape. Just talk about something generic. We got an idea.’ Fast forward, he was talking about maybe bringing me into SummerSlam or something like that. I can’t remember. He called me back and he said, ‘Did you watch SummerSlam?’ I said, ‘No, because I don’t watch wrestling that I’m not involved in.’ So turns out Lord Tensai is who they were gonna put me with. He used to be Prince Albert, or that’s who he had pitched, I guess, and they didn’t go with it. Then he said, ‘Hold on. We’ve got another idea.’ There were like three or four phone calls over the course of a year where I would go, ‘Hey, they’ve got an idea for me.’ I go buy drinks for everybody and I wait on the call.

Then the next time I got one of those calls, he said, ‘Hey, did you watch the show last night because the guy we were going to bring you in needed a fresh coat of paint.’ It turned out to be Jack Swagger, but they went with a Dutch Mantell to do the, ‘We The People’ thing. I wouldn’t have fit. I couldn’t do what Dutch did. That’s kind of getting into a political thing and whatnot, but if you’re going to be good at a character, you have to find some piece of it in yourself, you know, something you resonate with, and particularly at that point in my life, I did not give a tinker’s damn about politics. I tuned politics out of my head for like eight or 10 years, and Dutch did a hell of a job. I would have never been able to do anything with that and if they had brought me there, it would have been a failure.”

Mitchell then revealed that Tony Khan’s All Elite Wrestling also contacted him to bring him in as a priest for the Kip Sabian/Penelope Ford wedding:

“Chris Daniels called me out of nowhere. I was in Daytona doing a karaoke show. Jacksonville is three hours from there or something. He just called me and said, ‘Can you be here tomorrow?’ I said, ‘Tomorrow?’ you know, because I was booked in Daytona to do my show for a couple of days. My wife was with me. I just said, ‘Look, drive me to Jacksonville. You come back. You cover the show then you pick me up in the morning.’ Yeah, it was funny because again, I don’t watch any wrestling I’m not involved in. I knew the old school guys, but all the new guys, I didn’t know any of them, so I had no idea who Kip and Penelope were. It was funny. It was kind of thrown together. I mean, it was a great experience. It was great seeing all the old dudes like Jake and Arn and Sting that I hadn’t seen in forever. First Class operation. They paid me real well. I mean, everything was smooth sailing there. But I never got a call back, so it is what it is.”

James Mitchell most famously worked as a pro wrestling manage for Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling (1997-1999) as James Vandenberg, for Paul Heyman’s Extreme Championship Wrestling (2000-2001) as The Sinister Minister, and for Total Nonstop Action!/IMPACT Wrestling (2002-2004, 2005-2008 & 2017-2019).

He’s currently working for Billy Corgan’s National Wrestling Alliance since 2021.

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