Cross Examination: Swerved Showcases Personalities

restlers have real personalities. That should seem obvious – everyone has a personality. But it’s something we don’t often think about, because WWE goes to such great lengths to hide...
Courtesy WWE Network
Courtesy WWE Network
Wrestlers have real personalities.

That should seem obvious – everyone has a personality. But it’s something we don’t often think about, because WWE goes to such great lengths to hide them. Yet wrestling fans want to know what wrestlers are really like. It’s part of why shoot interviews are so popular.

Social media is changing this, though. We know that King Barrett is a Preston North End fan and that Brie Bella likes getting local, organic food in all the cities she visits. The Unfiltered series helps a lot too. But nothing quite gives us a glimpse into a Superstar or Diva’s actual personality like Swerved does.

Swerved, for the uninitiated, is a WWE Network series produced by Jeff Tremaine – one of the creators and the primary director of the Jackass franchise. The first episode debuted after Monday’s episode of Raw. As a huge Jackass mark, I had high hopes.

Even though none of the pranks in the premier episode involved hidden cameras, the reactions to being pranked were raw and real. That alone makes Swerved worth watching. Plus the pranks are pretty funny.

The first episode cut between three different pranks that were pulled at the expense of various wrestling personalities. Here’s what I thought of them.


This is a classic prank that was , with Wee Man as the subject. There’s no card-thrower involved in the Swerved version, but there’s still a stool that’s rigged to electrocute people’s butts.

The plan is to have Dolph Ziggler sit next to another wrestler or personality, who believes they’re shooting short videos for Network transitions. While the subject of the prank is speaking, the shock stool will be turned on. However, Ziggler didn’t know what the prank was beforehand, and Tremaine took the opportunity.

dolph ziggler shock stool swerved

Ziggler then pranked Zack Ryder, who took forever to realize that it was a prank, and Tom Phillips, who realized it fairly quickly but was drawn back thanks to some clever convincing by Ziggler.

Ziggler actually appeared to feel bad about pranking Phillips (he didn’t seem to feel the same way about Ryder) so for the final Shock Stool prank, Ziggler brought Phillips in to help rib Alex Riley. Riley’s reactions aren’t as good as Ryder’s or Phillips’, but Ziggler and Phillips played it off so well that it was enjoyable. The Shock Stool worked pretty well, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it return in a slightly different setting later in the season.


My favorite prank of the episode, Nacho Surprise had Renee Young hosting a fake Network cooking show called Spooning Turns to Forking. Apparently this didn’t raise a red flag for anyone.

Young was shown with Booker T, Xavier Woods, Natalya and Cameron. They were making “healthy nachos” with three types of food covered. The cheese and beans would be uncovered without hassle, but inevitably, Young would ask her partner to uncover the “nachos.” Hornswoggle would pop up instead, shocking Young’s cohost.

xavier woods nacho surprise swerved

All four had funny reactions, although (somewhat surprisingly) Cameron seemed to be the least scared of the four. Natalya screamed and looked horrified, but she didn’t let the prank stop her from eating the chip in her hand. Booker T was upset he wasn’t actually getting his own cooking show. Woods ended up as the star of the segment, eventually getting revenge on Hornswoggle for the scare. The revenge pushed this prank over the top. It reminded me of the , when Bam Margera thought he was pranking Tremaine, but it was really a Johnny Knoxville trick to prank Margera. Similarly, Hornswoggle thought he was shooting a pickup shot for the Woods prank, but really, Woods was pranking Hornswoggle. Great stuff.


In my opinion, this prank fell a bit flat. Interviewing wrestlers with a smelly microphone at the Hall of Fame ceremony was a good idea, but it didn’t work in execution. Most of the subjects of the joke didn’t seem to pick up on it, and eventually the interviewer straight up asked the Usos “How do you feel about poop on a microphone?” and they didn’t seem to know what to say. Really, the only positive about this was Darren Young getting so agitated about the prank that he repeatedly swore in front of Titus O’Neil’s children.

poo microphone swerved

Overall, though, it was a very entertaining show. This format is Tremaine’s bread and butter, so it’s not surprising that it was well done. Hopefully this will encourage WWE to look outside the family for future Network specials and shows, particularly offbeat shows like Swerved. columnist Evan Cross can be reached at . Follow him on Twitter at .

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