When Swerve Strickland took the ring against “Hangman” Adam Page for his instant classic Texas Death by way of Inglewood, California match at Full Gear, fans noticed a very specific striped pattern on his gear that looked eerily similar to the one previously worn by Bray Wyatt during his time in WWE as The Fiend.

Was this a coincidence? Or did Strickland have something more fiendish in mind for what turned out to be a very bloody affair? Well, as Strickland noted in an interview with Sam Roberts of Not Sam Wrestling, Strickland stated the gear choice was very much intentional, as he had a very interesting relationship with Wyatt from their time together in WWE.

“I didn't know Bray as close as a lot of people like Brodie Lee, there were people influenced by him from his time there, but some people have known him since FCW or NXT, and they have that personal connection. To me, I remember when The Fiend was really going, there was a lot of chatter that it wasn't for them, as a fan. I was like, ‘No, this is brilliant work.' I don't think people really appreciated the brilliance he was bringing to the screen and a lot of risks he was taking, week by week, which is not easy to do,” Swerve Strickland said via Fightful.

“Weekly television on two shows. It wasn't just RAW or SmackDown, he was doing both shows with his material. Bringing that to the real world. I really appreciated that, and I think he was ahead of his time. I just wanted to show appreciation that the love and influence wasn't lost. I put that as part of my gear, and I was in the locker room with him during my time at 205 [205 Live], he always gave me hugs. He was awesome.

“At one point, I had to help him with a Fiend mask. It was COVID, and we were all in that box together. There were times I had to help him with that. There were times I would see him in Gorilla coming back when they were testing the red lighting after the show and getting that going. I've seen a lot of those processes with him. He was always a good brother in the locker room. He was fun, really cool. That was one of those things of, ‘You've always influenced me through all of this.' No matter what, if it was their taste or wasn't, I'm a horror person, and I was really happy to see a new age of horror brought to the screen in an industry that I love and I was like, ‘Man, that was a revolutionary.' I wanted to take a little piece of that into what I was doing that night. If anything, I feel like his spirit powered that match.”

In closing, Strickland celebrated one of the biggest lessons he learned from Wyatt, which is that even if you aren't universally beloved in the moment, you can make something that truly connects with people if you stick to your truth.

“It's very rare that it hits across the board and gets a ten from every outlet and every fanbase,” Strickland said. “It's just impossible in this day and age. Just know, it hit the right people. It hit the notes with people that really cared. The ones that it did hit, it changed their lives. That's what matters. It definitely did for me. It changed my viewing and the possibilities of what we could really do in this medium and this industry. I'm going to take a piece of that and revamp it in a way that fits me.”

Swerve Strickland has incredible aspirations for his AEW run.

Elsewhere in his post-Full Gear promotional tour, Swerve Strickland stopped by Insight with Chris Van Vliet to discuss his current run in AEW and what he'd like to accomplish as a member of the promotion.

While Strickland has already been plenty successful in the “House That Tony Khan Built,” it's safe to say he won't be satisfied until he checks many more boxes off of his wish list.

“I would like to be the first black AEW World Champion, I could make history. That's where I see myself, as a history maker. I truly believe I can,” Swevre Strickland said via Fightful. “And now as the talk is getting louder weekly, like like this past Wednesday, I didn't even say anything and people are still shouting it even louder. I just emoted and stuff and reacted to someone saying really horrible things and speaking the truth about me, kind of flipping the mirror back to me from Hangman and like the cool thing about the inverse of that is like how me and hangman started. It was me berating him for like, five to six minutes, which started this whole thing and I was flipped back to like I'm being berated. I don't get a word in, but he's taking the opportunity to do this. Me? I'm like, no, you're not saying anything. I'm taking this. You've been talking enough.”

Say what you will about Swerve Strickland, but between his Full Gear win and his success in the C2, he's clearly having a moment right now. How he and AEW choose to ride with that success, however, could ultimately define his success in AEW both now and moving forward.