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Bellator 214: Hager rocks debut, submits Kiser in one

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It took less than two minutes for Jake Hager to prove that he was no CM Punk.

Hager, better known to wrestling fans as Jack Swagger, submitted the highly overmatched J.W Kiser with an arm triangle in less than two minutes into their heavyweight bout at Bellator 214 at the Forum in Inglewood, California. It was a highly successful debut for the former WWE World heavyweight Champion, a year after signing with the promotion.

Ten years ago, Hager was an All American Wrestler at the University of Oklahoma, setting a record for most pins in a season in his senior year. But he chose to go into pro wrestling, where he held multiple titles and gained fanfare as both a heel and a babyface, with his Tea Party esque ‘We The People’ gimmick. Those words welcomed Hager to the cage tonight, along with his friend Ron “R-Truth” Killings rapping him to the ring. The 6’5 Lucha Underground champion looked ripped at 238 pounds.

Kiser, a tire salesman and prolific amateur fighter from Kansas, backed himself against the cage and caught Hager with a flush right hand, but Hager closed the distance quickly and body locked Kiser, using rear single leg to take him down. Passing him to half guard, Hager briefly went for a straight armbar, but instead secured top position and reigned down several hard elbows to the face of Kiser.

After adding some hammerfists, Hager switched to the arm triangle. Applying the right shoulder pressure, the Oklahoma native needed even need to pass half guard in order to get the submission at 2:09 of the first round.

It was exactly what Bellator needed out of Hager, who had no problem keeping working his pro wrestling gimmick before and after the fight. Some have criticized putting him in with an opponent as limited as Kiser but given the gap in time since Hager was last in real competition and the investment that Bellator must be putting in him, it’s better safe than sorry for all involved.

After the bout, Hager cut an impassioned promo, saying he wanted fighting to be his life for “a decade.” When talking about his old boss, Vince McMahon, he said “Sometimes to convince Vince, you have to con Vince.” That makes no real sense, but at least it sounds good. Hopefully though, we see Hager in much more competitive fight next time. I suspect the athletic and capable Oklahoman will be to handle it.

"Frank has been a wrestling fan since he was two years old. (Don't worry, he's got proof.) He's also a huge boxing and UFC fan and has a long standing love affair with Popeyes Chicken. He still owns a VHS copy of the first Ring of Honor show ever and was watching NXT before it was cool (or good). Bret Hart > Shawn Michaels. You can follow him on Twitter at @FightFanaticPod and on Tumblr at FrankTheFightFanatic." He's also starting his own podcast soon!

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