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Swerve Strickland loves his lane in AEW

AEW, Swerve Strickland, Swerve in our Glory, WWE, Hit Row

Swerve Strickland is about to wrestle the most important match of his AEW career.

When Grand Slam comes to an end both on television and for the thousands of fans in attendance at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the team of Swerve in our Glory, Strickland and Keith Lee, will either remain AEW World Champions or will find themselves bested by The Acclaimed, who some suggested should have won the straps at All Out due to the sheer excitement of the crowd. The makeshift duo of ex-NXTers will either live on to fight a day, or their Team Taz-esque breakdown will commence in front of millions of fans the world over.

And yet, either way, Strickland isn’t bothered. Sure, it’s always nice to become a champion, and remaining on top is a whole ‘nother challenge entirely, but even if his reign with the strap only lasts just 71 days, working for a company that trusts his ideas and believes in his creative direction is all that really matters to the 31-year-old at this stage in the game, as he detailed to Renee Paquette on her The Sessions podcast.

Swerve Strickland is fully embracing himself in AEW.

While many a fan has desperately requested that Strickland returns to WWE to fill out the trio once and currently known as Hit Row, Strickland remains adamant that a reunion with Top Dolla, Ashante “Thee” Adonis, and B-Fab simply isn’t the lane he wants to be in. No, for how much Strickland has publically supported the trio and shared their stuff on social media, the prospects of returning to the ridged structure of WWE is a limitation to his creativity that just isn’t a compromise he’s willing to take at this stage in the game.

“I took a trip to LA [because] I couldn’t go in as just me the wrestler, I gotta come in with a whole bunch of assets that I can attribute to any product that I’m gonna go to,” Strickland told Paquette, as transcribed by Fightful. ” So I just went to LA for two weeks and I met some people in entertainment, met some producers, literally I built a team over there that supported me and my podcast and my music and these other things. When I got signed, it was like ‘Oh, by the way I don’t wanna get a music entrance song just applied to me, I have music already and this guy that did it, he won two Grammys.’ He’s like ‘Oh okay, let’s use that. Okay, cool.’ So now that set me apart, then it was like well I’m doing this and I’m making appearances, I’m going to the Grammys, I’m going to this and that. Then I’m like ‘Oh by the way I have Kevin Gates, we can bring him in’. So like right away, I’m just… my first three months in AEW made me completely forget about my last three years in WWE. I put all of that focus and energy and that resentment into building something. Now [I’ve been here] seven months and I truly believe without a shadow of a doubt that I’m the best acquisition of 2022 in any company. I’ve been consistent, you don’t just see me in a wrestling ring. You see me every which way, if there’s a camera I’m going to be in it. If there’s an interview, I’m gonna be in front of it. If there’s a song, I’m gonna be rapping on it. If there’s a artist, I’m gonna be here. I want to be everywhere. These appointments turn into bigger successes later on for me.”

To Strickland’s credit, his first three months in AEW were, in fact, electric. His debut drew an insane pop at Revolution 2022 when he debuted with Tony Schiavone, had a great debut showing on Rampage versus Tony Nese, and drew more than a few raised eyebrows when he lost a match to Ricky Starks for the FTW Championship shortly thereafter. After bouncing around as a singles performer, Strickland found himself a partner in Lee, and success quickly followed, with a championship win over the Young Bucks on July 13th and a string of impressive wins over the likes of Josh Woods and Nese, Private Party, The Luch Brothers, and The Acclaimed in the weeks proceeding.

Though Strickland may not be a champion in Tony Khan’s company forever, he at least gets to be himself, and after having to embrace a new name, join a new team, and become someone else, that is far from a guarantee.