'Swerve' Strickland Says He Reached Out To NJPW First, Explains How AEW Deal Came Together

"Swerve" Strickland officially signed with AEW at Revolution where he put pen to paper after being introduced by Tony Schiavone.

"Swerve" was a highly sought-after free agent following his WWE release and, after doing various independent shows and NJPW STRONG, landed in AEW.

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Speaking on the Getting Over podcast, "Swerve" explained how the deal came together.

"My first call was New Japan," he revealed. "I was on the phone with Rocky Romero and talked with Will Ospreay about it. That's a little brother to me, he wants me to be over there as much as them.

"My cousin, Will Washington, who helped produce 'Who We Are' AEW album, he talks with Tony Khan frequently and does a lot of media scrums as well. He also does the Grapsody podcast with Righteous Reg and Phil Lindsey, shoutout to them. Tony Khan reached out to him because we're family and was like, 'what can we do about getting him here?' That was the bug in the ear. I was happy about interest being there really early on. I didn't want to just show up there. I'm glad I had the 90 days. It gave me time to go out, travel, build a team, network, meet other people. I went to LA for 12 days and met so many people in the industry and outside the industry, in the music industry, fashion. I'm building a podcast team, a music team."

Swerve referenced his music career and his Swerve City Podcast as two extensions of him that he's also bringing to AEW.

He continued by saying, "We're forming something and I'm not just approaching AEW and Tony Khan with just myself. It's a team and you're getting all this other stuff with it. There is no way I can lose and there's no way I can't benefit the product with my team. With the Cody Rhodes situation and him leaving, that opened up a spot with those business acquisitions that he had. I don't know if they're doing a lot of those anymore or they are seeing those out until they are finally finished, but that left a window, 'that gives me an opportunity to fill that void with these business ventures.'"

"Swerve" noted that Tony Khan has said that he sees him as a crossover star.

Speaking about his AEW debut at Revolution, "Swerve" said, "The position that they put me in to debut me, it gave the audience a different feel of what type of asset they're receiving for AEW. I'm not just another guy who can come in and put on matches, they already have that. They've signed a lot of those guys and they are really gifted at what they do. I'm something different. You're not just getting a talent, you're getting a brand. In NXT, Swerve was a hip hop artist. In AEW, Swerve is a mogul. There is so much more expansion to myself as a professional outside the ring and what you're going to receive inside the ring and on television every week. Everyone knew who I was. That alone, was like, 'Okay, I'm in the right direction.' I'm giving that feel and vibe to the world. They feel something different, unique, and new as well. That's what they want. They don't want a copy and paste from where they last saw me on TV. They want a different feel and different vibe in a different environment."

"Swerve" is set to make his in-ring debut for AEW on Rampage when he takes on Tony Nese. Fans can check out the current lineup for the show by clicking here.

Fans can listen to Grapsody on Fightful every Saturday at Noon ET. You can find past episodes by clicking here.

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