It’s set to be the biggest match of Swerve Strickland’s AEW career.
The AEW World Championship will either remain with the team of Swerve in our Glory, Strickland and Keith Lee, when the Grand Slam concludes on television and for the thousands of fans in attendance at Arthur Ashe Stadium, or it will be taken away from them by The Acclaimed, who some thought should have won the straps at All Out due to the excitement of the crowd. Either the impromptu combo of ex-NXTers will survive to fight another day, or they will begin their Team Taz-esque breakdown in front of millions of fans across the globe.
Nonetheless, Swerve Strickland doesn’t seem to care either way. Even if his reign as champion only lasts 71 days, the fact that he is employed by a firm that values his input and supports his artistic vision is what matters most to the 31-year-old at this point in his career, as he explained to Renee Paquette on her podcast, The Sessions.
Todays the day! It’s @SwerveConfident day on the pod! From Killshot, to @NXT to @WWE, to @AEW and becoming tag champs with @RealKeithLee. We cover it ALL! Check out the episode today! ⚡️👊🏼⚡️ pic.twitter.com/atyrZ4wu1o
— Renee Paquette (@ReneePaquette) September 20, 2022
Swerve Strickland is fully embracing himself in AEW.
Numerous fans have pleaded for Strickland to return to WWE and complete what was previously known as Hit Row, but Strickland has been insistent that reuniting with Top Dolla, Ashante “Thee” Adonis, and B-Fab isn’t his cup of tea. Despite his public praise and sharing of the trio’s work on social media, Swerve Strickland is not interested in returning to the rigid framework of WWE. He sees it as a potential threat to his creativity and is unwilling to make that sacrifice at this point in his career.
Swerve Strickland said to Paquette, as translated by Fightful, “I made a trip to LA [because] I couldn’t walk in as just me the wrestler, I must come in with a whole lot of assets that I can contribute to whatever product that I’m going to go to.” I just spent two weeks in Los Angeles, where I made connections in the entertainment industry and formed a team of individuals that believe in and help promote my podcast, music, and other endeavors. I didn’t want an entrance song imposed on me when I was signed since I already had my own music and the producer who created it had won two Grammys.
So then he’s like “Oh good, use it.” OK, it makes sense. That made me stand out, and now I’m doing this and making appearances, like, at the Grammys and other events. Then I said, “Oh, by the way, I have Kevin Gates, we can bring him in.” So for now, I’m simply going to… After three months with AEW, I had already forgotten everything I had experienced in WWE during the previous three years. All that anger and frustration is now channeled into a productive project.
Seven months in, I can say with absolute certainty that I am the finest business acquisition of 2022. I haven’t suddenly appeared in a wrestling ring; I’ve been constant. You can’t escape me; I seem to pop up anywhere there’s a camera. There will be an interview, and I will be there. I’ll rap on anything that has a beat. I will definitely be there if any kind of artist is present. I wish I could be in all places at once. The outcomes of these meetings have been tremendous for me.
When it comes to Swerve Strickland’s first three months at AEW, he gets an A+. The crowd went nuts as he made his debut alongside Tony Schiavone at Revolution 2022, and he continued to impress in his first two matches, against Tony Nese on Rampage and Ricky Starks for the FTW Championship. After bouncing around as a solo act, Swerve Strickland eventually found a partner in Lee. The two quickly found success, winning the championship on July 13th and racking up impressive victories over the likes of Josh Woods and Nese, Private Party, The Luch Brothers, and The Acclaimed in the weeks leading up to that match.
It’s not certain that Swerve Strickland will remain a champion in Tony Khan’s organization, but at least he doesn’t have to adopt a new identity, play for a new team, or pretend to be someone else.