‘Nothing was handed out to me’: Swerve Strickland on becoming the first Black AEW World Champion 

Dollita Okine April 26, 2024
Photo Credit: Instagram, Swerve Strickland

AEW’s latest pay-per-view, Dynasty 2024 on Sunday night saw Swerve Strickland defeat Samoa Joe to become the new AEW World Champion. Strickland became the 11th AEW World Champion and the first-ever African American to hold the title.

In a historic turn of events, Strickland defeated Samoa Joe to become the 11th AEW World Champion. The 13-year veteran has held the World Heavyweight Championships in Major League Wrestling and Combat Zone Wrestling and has worked for WWE, NJPW, and numerous other promotions, according to Sportskeeda. However, this was his greatest victory.

Moments after his victory, Strickland joined the post-Dynasty media scrum to talk about becoming the first-ever black AEW World Champion, saying, “A ton of hard work went into this. Nothing was guaranteed at all. Nothing was handed out to me.”

“I had to do a lot of inner searching to figure out what I needed to change up, what I needed to improve, and have a lot of humility to be honest with myself and say, ‘Hey, you’re not great at here. You’re not the best at here.’ And figure it out and just work at it, no excuses, cause…in my culture, where I come from, we’re not awarded excuses. Excuses get us nowhere or killed. And I want to stay alive. I want to keep pushing. I have so many things to fight for, so many people to fight for. And that’s what drives me every day,” Strickland said, per Wrestling Inc.

In addition to taking great delight in reaching the goal, which he hasn’t been afraid to pursue, the publication said that the titleholder also took great pride in leading the AEW “dynasty” and even went so far as to refer to himself as the “face of the franchise.”

Strickland was then asked what message he wanted his title victory to portray to black fans, particularly children who witnessed it. He answered that anything is possible if one is willing to work hard.

In an interview with Pro Wrestling Bits’ Alfred Konuwa this week, Booker T, a previous world champion, talked about Strickland’s major win. 

He declared his admiration for the champion, saying, “I’m a big fan of Swerve Strickland, man. I saw him in the airport a couple of months ago, and him, and I networked a little bit then. But to see Swerve Strickland become the first black champion over in AEW is really, really, really awesome. I was listening to him talk just this morning about how Kofi Kingston just won it [World Title] not too long ago, and now he’s winning it.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: April 26, 2024


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