Big Swole Says Lack Of Diversity And Structure Led To Her Leaving AEW, Tony Khan Responds

On November 30, Big Swole announced that she and AEW had mutually parted ways.

Swole was officially signed by AEW in December 2019 after appearing in the Casino Battle Royale at All Out 2019 and make regular appearances on AEW Dark. She was sidelined in early 2021 when it was revealed that she had been battling Crohn's disease.

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Speaking on her Call In show, Swole detailed why she decided to mutually part ways with AEW, though it should be noted Fightful reported that AEW allowed the contract to expire in November.

Swole began by noting that the most emotional moment she had in AEW was when Kenny Omega thanked her for what she did in the Diamante feud and how it made other women in the company more comfortable to pitch ideas.

Swole tied that moment into her final talk with Tony Khan.

"I explained to TK that I didn't want to re-sign because my peace was being disrupted. If anybody knows me or knows myself, if anything is disrupting your peace, it's time to let it go. It might be scared or be hard, but it's time to let it go. When Kenny said that, it was the circle coming to an end because Kenny and I would bump heads sometimes throughout my time in AEW. To end it on that note felt good. It felt wonderful to end it at a place where, we didn't see eye-to-eye, but we were there," she said.

Swole then detailed her claims why she left the company and what she told them in her exit interview.

"My heart just stopped being in it as the reason why I left AEW. I felt like there were a lot of things, and I told them in my exit interview, there are a lot of things that need to change. I know fans of the company don't take criticism well sometimes, certain ones. Know this, this is somebody from the inside, the structure is a little off. It's fine to be loose, but I like to have a little bit more structure. I felt like the women shouldn't have gone through everything they went through just to get on TV or get time. You're signed to this big company, you should get time. All these men are getting time, but the women weren't getting anything or you're not putting people on TV because more people are coming in. Okay, there are more people coming in, but you don't have enough product for all of these people. Now you have all these people sitting around having two or three minute matches on Dark doesn't keep me happy. Shoveling more money doesn't keep a person happy. We've seen time and time again, especially in a place where there's not enough space. There's no writers in a sense. Not everyone is comfortable writing their own things. Closed mouths don't get fed. That's exactly what that environment is. If you are shy and don't know how to write or are not creative, it's not going to work unless they want it to work for you. That's one of their biggest issues," she said.

Along with the lack of structure, Swole said that she saw a bigger issue in AEW and that was a lack of diversity.

"Outside of [lack of structure] their BIGGEST issue, which is diversity. I do not beat around the bush when it comes to diversity and my people. There is no representation, truly, and when there is, it does not come across in the black community as genuine. At all. I don't know why everybody is so afraid to accept it or say it, but it's not a good look. What happens is, you have this wonderful company that treats people like family, but there is nobody that looks like me that is represented at the top and in the room with them. They are not helping to necessarily influence decisions, but to explain why certain slang and certain word shouldn't be said. There is no one else who can explain our culture and experience except for us," she said.

Swole continued, explaining how her daughter helped her recognize even more that there was a lack of representation in AEW.

"I knew something was up when my daughter, who loves watching wrestling, she would watch AEW all the time and seldomly watch WWE. She's not a big fan unless dad [Cedric Alexander] was on TV, which stopped happening after they botched the Hurt Business. She would say, 'Mommy, there is nobody that looks like me on AEW. There's nobody that looks like daddy.' Then she started watching WWE because she saw Bianca and Big E. She saw herself represented. If that wasn't a 'click.' 'You are absolutely right. I don't have an explanation.' It's 2021. Why are people saying, 'it'll take three years for AEW to have a black champ'? This is a scripted sport. It should not take that long if you have been watching WWE for 50+ years and you know what not to do," she said.

Swole said she is "exhausted" with the pandering when it comes to diversity and how it feels like "use this person for a little, they've done what you need, now what's next?"

"I believe that the company is making better strides than before, but a couple of things need to be fixed. You have to be able to call people out because not everything is perfect. I hope they listen to this with an open heart and not just, 'Ah, she's just saying this because of XYZ.' I genuinely want them to succeed. I love this art form. I love wrestling and I want it to succeed and I want the people in it to succeed if they are genuine people. I want WWE to succeed. I want wrestling to flourish and I don't want it to be a long-forgotten, Tartarian sport where 'in the old days, we used to wrestle,' and it's folklore. I want nothing but the best, but I also want the change and application to happen. With promises you made to be diverse, I want to see that. Not just with black people. I would love to see a Latino or Hispanic or more Asians. I feel like Asians and Indians do not get the love. They just don't. It's such a big gap. I hate the fact that I turn on the TV and it's the same stuff over and over again. Hopefully, they get the message. Me leaving, honestly, was not bad. There is no bad blood between TK and I. I just don't like my peace being disrupted. I didn't like certain things and other things that I will take to my grave. The diversity. That's what matters," she said.

Big Swole last wrestled on the September 21 episode of AEW Dark, defeating Allie Katch. It should be noted that when Fightful reported details of the release, we'd heard that AEW opted to not renew the contract.

After this article published, AEW founder Tony Khan commented on it. He confirmed Fightful's report that AEW hadn't renewed her deal, and spoke of the diversity within the company.

Khan received heavy criticism from his tweet, including from his own roster in Lio Rush, who called for him to apologize.

AEW wrestler and Extras Coordinator "Captain" Shawn Dean also shared his thoughts.

Live Events & Touring Director Rafael Morffi tweeted a follow up to Khan, defending the company.

Powerhouse Hobbs has also shared his experience online, saying that if people have issues, it's best to just pick up the phone.

During a previous Call In, Swole revealed she was in the hospital months before AEW All Out 2019. You can find her full comments by clicking here.

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