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Swerve Strickland States It’s Easier To Deal With Management In AEW Than It Was In WWE

Swerve Strickland has had quite the starting run on AEW. He had an impressive career in NXT but the minute he ended up on the main roster, things started to go sour and that was to no fault of his own.

He is a very talented pro wrestler whose pace in a match is at a top level; his conviction and selling ability also at that level. He was an acquisition for AEW that not only made sense but was inevitable. The minute news broke of his release, I expected him to debut and of course, he did.

Now he’s talking about the many differences he sees between WWE on that main roster level and AEW. There seem to have been few wrestlers who had issues on the NXT level of WWE, although there have been a few…namely Matt Menard and Angelo Parker.

Swerve says one glaring issue is at the top of his list apparently. These comments were from his appearance on Talk Is Jericho.

“Just from management itself, just like, it’s easier…I was talking about earlier, there’s not a lot of red tape you’ve got to go through too much. Like, ‘oh, we gotta get clearance, we’ve got to speak with so and so to get that cleared,’ I am just asking about a social media post, and they’re like, ‘oh yeah, but we have to go through this office, and this channel, and then bring it up there, then it has to come down, then it has to get approval.’…

There’s none of that, it’s just like, ‘talk to that guy right there,’ and I am like, ‘hey, how’s it going man? Can we do that?’ …That right there, because I like to do a lot of media pushing with projects and people that I have coming in, that’s a big, important thing for me. Just like, how easy can I get this done and who do I got to talk to? I don’t want to talk to the assistant to get a phone call to go through this and leave a message. Who do I get to talk to? If it’s too much, I am going to do it myself. Then I’m going to get in trouble and y’all ain’t going to like that.”

-Swerve Strickland on Talk Is Jericho /Wrestling Inc. (Transcription)

Strickland recalled one specific moment when he and the other members of Hit Row were targeted by upper management in WWE…a perfect example of what he said above…a further example, if you will. Here’s some of what he said on that front:

“For me, the first thing was when we did the draft…We were there in Baltimore, we did a dark match, we had AJ wrestle Cedric. But, before that, we had like a two-minute promo live, all four of us. They just wanted to see how we interact, and stuff like that. They didn’t even ask to hear it, they were like, ‘oh no, you’ve got two minutes, go do your thing.’ Very rare, for all four of us…

They had the match and everything, Edge was one of the first people to greet us in the back. Like, ‘we need this product, we need this on this brand, this is the great content that we need, it’s young, it’s hip.’ We were like, ‘oh, cool.’ Then the following week, I forget what city we were in, but we flew out. We did another backstage promo with New Day, without Big E. Big E was on RAW with the WWE Title. Then the week after that we were getting flight information, and then Briana didn’t have any…

We were like, ‘wait, what’s going on?’ So, AJ called to make sure everything with the flight info was good. They said ‘no, everything is good; she’s not needed this week.’ Then on the flight, literally mid-flight coming down, your phone starts buzzing and everything. We see that she’s released along with a bunch of other releases, and all that stuff. We were just like, ‘oh, what?’ Especially as a female that can talk with the guys in the group…

AJ apparently him calling and asking about flight information for Briana was like a no, no, and stuff. So, we had a talk with Vince, and Prichard, and Laurinaitis like in the hallway of the arena…It was like a little bit of a scold session. But, at the end, it turned into being like, ‘oh, don’t worry, we have a lot of fun stuff,’ and Vince starts laughing…

Basically, just AJ, we wanted to travel together just making sure everybody was good. That’s like our sister, but it was mainly on AJ and stuff, and it was like, ‘no, you don’t do that,’ but it turned into a positive way of like, ‘this is what you’re going to do tonight…

Then AJ did a social media rap thing, and it was deemed offensive. He used an Indian instrumental beat, and it was deemed offensive, and he didn’t get clearance for that. You know the red tape you’ve got to go through to clear certain things you want to do individually on a social media platform. Jinder approved it, he thought it was funny, he thought it was great, he was like, ‘yeah, sure.’…

But, they didn’t get approval. Then we were getting travel for Survivor Series, then it went away. It got back that we were doing just SmackDown, and that was it. Then that went away, and we were doing SmackDown, RAW, and Survivor Series. Then, literally, an hour later we got calls from Laurinaitis saying we’re all let go. So, it was just really weird.”

-Swerve Strickland on Talk Is Jericho /Wrestling Inc. (Transcription)
via AEW /YouTube

Well, as he stated in his previous comments, he seems to be fitting in very well in AEW…the vibe is a tad more similar to what he was used to on the indies and at the previous promotions he wrestled for apparently, or rather it seems like that for many wrestlers that were at home on the indie circuit, as we’ve heard over the months and years since AEW’s inception.

The funny thing is though, before WWE got too big, the dichotomy behind the scenes was a lot more like AEW is today…with fewer people in charge, there was that camaraderie and that cozier—dare I say it—environment.

It’s seen in episodes of Young Rock all the time (on NBC)…the amount of people you needed to get through and speak to was a lot less during the Attitude Era and before. Now the product has gotten so big, there are way too many people to approve anything as seemingly small as a social media post.

This is an example of Vince’s fear of bad publicity at any level, which has been well documented over the years.

Tony Khan though, is operating a business—a wrestling promotion—in that same era as Vince is however…a sensitive era, and he too needs to make important decisions when something goes awry and a member of the roster goes astray or states something publicly perhaps he or she shouldn’t have, but there isn’t that many people to go through in AEW, as can be seen from Strickland’s comments.

Perhaps, as the saying goes, there are too many chefs in the WWE kitchen. This shows through in the product, sadly.

NEXT: Why Dakota Kai Belongs On The AEW Women’s Roster & ASAP

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