WWE.COM: You've trained and lived in the dojos of Japan. How does training at the Performance Center compare to that experience?
SWANN: It's very similar [as far as] the training regimen and the schedule, but WWE's facility is just a bit nicer. [Laughs.] The dojo's grimy; in the winter it's cold and in the summer it's hot. No air conditioning. It's crazy. Plus, you're in a country where you barely speak the language in the beginning, it definitely takes a toll. In Japan, you gotta get it, you've gotta go after it. You have to prove yourself and wrestle what they call the "young boys." They don't teach them the art of wrestling until they feel they deserve it, so when you're in there with them, you're getting beat up and bruised and smacked and thrown around and you're having to prove yourself.
WWE.COM: You've worn wings on your trunks, so we know you love to fly. Who were you influenced by?
SWANN: Wrestlers like Psicosis, Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, RVD, Jerry Lynnn, Super Crazy, like that. Once I found out what ECW was when I was in middle school — boom — that turned me. WCW, too. I love these bigger guys, but I knew I was never going to be that big. The cruiserweights, however, look at these guys move, flipping around, doing crazy things and being daredevils. Guys like The Hardys. I was drawn to them because that's what I wanted to do.
WWE.COM: Do you have specific goals for yourself in NXT?
SWANN: Definitely. If you're in wrestling, you want to be the top guy and you want to be the champion. But my goal right now is to make it onto NXT Live Events, make it onto NXT at Full Sail and TakeOvers, and I want to take it one step at a time. And as the time comes, I just want to have killer matches and do things that have never been done before.
Swann also discussed his WWE tryout, cruiserweight wrestling and more in the full interview.