Tony Khan Discusses Swerve Strickland's Rise In AEW: Swerve Is A Wildcard'

Swerve Strickland is looking to make history this Sunday at AEW Revolution, where, alongside rival "Hangman" Adam Page, he will challenge Samoa Joe for the AEW World Championship. A victory would give Strickland his first World Title since his run as MLW World Heavyweight Champion in 2018, and would also give him the honor of becoming AEW's first-ever black World Champion, something Strickland has been open about wanting to accomplish.


Strickland's rise to this point isn't a surprise at all to his boss, AEW owner Tony Khan, who has always seen Strickland as someone who could become a big star. Speaking with "The Athletic" about Strickland, Khan revealed that Strickland's rise in AEW could've come even sooner than now if Strickland hadn't chosen to take a different path in 2019.

"After his first match against Tony Neese on 'AEW Rampage,' Chris Jericho walked back to me and said, 'This guy is really amazing. Where did you find him?'" Khan said. "I've been watching him for years. I wanted to bring him into AEW when we first launched, but he had just been signed by WWE."

"Swerve is a wildcard. We saw that Swerve is a breakout star. He won the tag team championship in his first year and went on to have a massive 2023 while being showcased as a singles star. The idea was to showcase Swerve in feature positions with the intent and belief that crowds all over the world would buy into him. I believed he'd become very popular."