Swerve Strickland: Kofi Kingston’s WWE Title Win Motivated Me, I Want To Do That For The Next Generation

Swerve Strickland describes how Kofi Kingston winning the WWE Championship inspired him.

At AEW Dynasty, Swerve Strickland made history by defeating Samoa Joe to win the AEW World Championship and become the promotion's first AEW World Champion. Strickland had been targeting the title for quite some time, and he persevered through some setbacks to ultimately win it.

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At the AEW Dynasty post-show media scrum, Jason Frazier of MindsEye Radio asked Swerve Strickland what motivated him to keep pushing in a space where there were few African-American world champions he could follow. Strickland then cited Kofi Kingston's WWE Championship victory at WrestleMania 35 as a source of motivation.

"Friends of mine. Seeing friends like Kofi. The last five years, that’s probably one of the biggest inspirational things you’ve ever seen, not just Black history, but wrestling history, period. That’s motivating. That’s inspiring. That makes me be like, I want to do that for the next generation. I don’t want to just do it once, I want to do it multiple times. The fact that I was able to somewhat recreate a feeling like that, in just a small amount of time, not 20 years later, not 15, 30, 40 years later, but that close in time, that’s progress in my opinion, in my mind. It’s not just me, it’s a team. Nana is part of that. My people, my family, none of this happens without any of these guys together. All of this is pushing me and pulling something out of me that I didn’t know I had. Tony believing in me, putting me in opportunities. He didn’t give me anything. He gave me an opportunity to make something out of it. It was up to me to do the work. That should go for anybody, not just any black person, any person period. I hate hearing on social media, ‘Oh, they weren’t given a chance.’ No, they were given chances, what did they do with those chances? You’re given chances, whether big or small, but you have to make something out of that shit. I was given small opportunities, company after company after company, time and promotion. It didn’t matter, I found a way to make something out of it and I pushed forward and I made it uniquely me. It was Swerve doing it. It wasn’t another wrestler doing it, it was Swerve doing it. That’s the only way to progress in this game. If you listen to my podcast, my man Monteasy, we say this shit every episode. We just had Adam Copeland on saying the same shit we do every episode, every week. We put out that content because it’s not just content of us talking, these are tools. We want to give tools to people of the next generation. It’s not just us saying it, it’s people who have been there and done it that are saying the same shit I’m saying. If it’s not coming from my mouth, maybe it’s coming from our guest’s mouth and maybe that’s going to change someone else’s life and get them to get up and be inspired to move forward and do something. Something that they were missing, something small, and they were missing that little nugget, and they go and listen to these people that have done it, been successful in all acts of entertainment and the world. They can go out there and find something and it’s a tool to go move and possibly do something like this," Strickland said.

Kofi Kingston defeated Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35 in 2019 to win the WWE Championship. In doing so, he became the first African-born WWE Champion in history.

Click here to catch up on our coverage of AEW Dynasty. For a full review, check out the post-show podcast on our YouTube channel.

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