Jake Hager has been All Elite since 2019 but has now admitted the original plan was to return to WWE and challenge a current Champion.
Hager first appeared in AEW during the debut episode of Dynamite, joining forces with Chris Jericho and forming the Inner Circle before the group developed into the Jericho Appreciation Society.
But before signing for AEW, Hager had planned to dominate the MMA world and fight his way to the top of WWE.
For nearly 11 years, Hager worked for WWE and their development territories. Working under the ring name Jack Swagger, the University of Oklahoma graduate found huge success as part of The Real Americans.
With Zeb Colter (Dutch Mantell) working the microphone, the pair started by delivering anti-immigration focused promos as part of a feud with Alberto Del Rio.
During his time in WWE, Hager secured the ECW Championship, United States Championship, but his biggest highlight was winning the 2010 Money In The Bank contract which he cashed into become World Heavyweight Champion defeating his AEW mentor Chris Jericho.
Hager was released by WWE in March 2017 following his own request and has now shared his reason for leaving and how he had planned to place himself in the main event picture if he returned to the company.
The former United States Champion recently too part in a signing with K & S WrestleFest and opened up on his desire to make a name for himself in MMA before laying down a challenge to Roman Reigns.
“When I left WWE, my plan was to go to MMA, get really good, be undefeated and then go back to WWE and wrestle Roman Reigns at WrestleMania.
A little slight turn. A lot of that happened. We were close. I’d kick Roman’s butt. He knows it, I know it. If you want to tell him that, tell him that,”
Jake Hager Announces Retirement From Bellator
After signing with Bellator in 2017, Jake Hager has remained unbeaten winning three fights and competing in one further no contest fight.
Hager defeated Brandon Calton in October 2020 but has not competed in the MMA world since.
During the K & S WrestleFest signing, Jake Hager admitted that he was close to fighting again in 2022 but has now officially retired.
Officially, I’m retired from MMA. I trained hard last year, but Bellator was jerking me off, so I retired and I’m focusing on wrestling now.”
H/t to Fightful