Swerve Strickland may be an AEW Tag Team Champion now however this time last year, he was still in WWE and is reflecting on that time.
While he would go on to be promoted from NXT to the main roster in October, he was ultimately released along with other members of Hit Row in November 2021.
Appearing on an episode of Renee Paquette’s podcast, The Sessions, Swerve detailed his persistence in the face of frustration with in WWE.
Describing his persistence in the face of adversity, Strickland described his time with WWE:
“For that first year, I felt like I was just like a good hand to have and that’s also what built up a lot of that resentment. It’s starting to build a little bit cause I put over the Lio Rushs, I put over the Cameron Grimes’, I put over the Santos Escobars, I put over the Bronson Reeds, the Austin Theorys. I kept putting all these people over.”
“I had a couple conversations with Triple H. I’m like, ‘When am I going to be your guy? What is it gonna take for me to be your guy?’ I had three, three specific conversations with him, I’ll never forget them, that I always pushed the envelope for. I even texted him one day, I was like, ‘Can I have a conversation with you?’ He said, ‘Is it anything that you can talk to Matt Bloom about?’ I was like, ‘No.’ He was like, ‘Okay, okay.’”
“I would stare holes in him all day at production, I wanted him to feel the heat that I was glaring on him. Finally, when we did have a conversation, I’m like, ‘What is your hesitation putting the ball in my hands?’ He gave me the answers that kind of felt like they were repetitious answers from this person asking him, this person asking him, and the one before.”
“I knew keeping tapping that egg, it wasn’t going to work.”
Swerve went on to describe working with Shawn Michaels, during which time he felt he started to gain some feedback and when his presentation started to change.
While Hit Row ultimately was called up to the main roster, they were then released but Swerve shared a valuable lesson about resilience.
Describing the other side of what had felt like defeat, Swerve spoke about moving to All Elite Wrestling.
Strickland said of the value in the experience in WWE positively framing his achievements in AEW:
“So like right away, I was just like, [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 and stuff into building something. Now, it’s like I’m here seven months and I truly believe without a shadow of a doubt I’m the best acquisition of 2022 in any company.”
“Those big disappointments turned into big successes later on for me.”
Swerve is currently AEW World Tag Team Champions with another WWE alum, Keith Lee.
Their tag team, Swerve in Our Glory is set to face off against The Acclaimed at AEW Dynamite’s Grand Slam edition on September 20, 2022.
Perpetually in mogul mode, Sw3rve the Realest also has a new single, ‘Lifeline’ which you can check out the by clicking here.
Transcription via Wrestling Observer
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