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Swerve Strickland Reacts To Winning The AEW World Heavyweight Championship

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During the post-AEW Revolution 2024 media scrum, Swerve Strickland commented on defeating Samoa Joe to capture the AEW World Title win, competing in World Title matches at back to back pay-per-view events, and more.

You can check out some highlights from the media scrum below:

On becoming the first Black AEW World Champion: “Ton of hard work went into this. Nothing was guaranteed at all. Nothing was handed out to me; I had to do a lot of inner searching to figure out what I needed to change up and what I needed to improve, and have a lot of humility. To be honest with myself and say, ‘Hey, you’re not great at here, you’re not the best in here.’ And figure it out and just like, work at it. No excuses, ’cause in my culture, where I come from we’re not awarded excuses. Excuses get us nowhere or killed, and I’m gonna stay alive. I’m gonna keep pushing.

“I have so many things to fight for, so many people to fight fore and that’s what drives me every day. I get up early, I stay late. I make the extra drives and I stay in the weight room. I stay disciplined, I do the things that a lot of other people don’t want to do. Get on the plane two days earlier than I gotta be there, because that’s what’s required in this. And I want that to be the standard for being a champion. Like, we’re not rewarded [with] rest. We’ve gotta be restless, because where AEW is and where we’re going, I want the fans to see how hard we’re working. I want the people who aren’t fans to see how hard we’re working to try and join us and be fans, and join this company, because this is special.”

On competing in World Title matches at back to back PPVs: “Two back-to-back amazing PPVs, Revolution and Dynasty tonight, and I was back-to-back championship matches in both of them. That’s never been done in this company as an African-American man. I don’t think it’s been done in any company really this big. Don’t quote me on that. Y’all want the sources, go find them. Tell me, tell the world, I don’t give a damn. But we’re doing something special here, and I’m just proud to be the face of the franchise, because this is a Dynasty we’re building.”

On becoming the first AEW World Champion: “I wasn’t going to settle for anything less. I think I was offered opportunities at the AEW International Title, and I turned it down. I’m like, no disrespect to what Orange Cassidy was doing at the time with the International Championship, but I can’t settle for less, and I want to shoot for the top, and that’s how everybody’s mindset should be in this business. That’s how everybody’s mind is in AEW. We want to shoot for the top. We want to go to the main event, we want to fight and grind. We’ve got five matches tonight that could’ve been the main event. That’s how competitive we are. That’s how special this roster is, and so, I’ve got to have that mindset to push even further. I can’t settle for less because nobody else is.”

On reporters asking about if an audible should’ve been called for his match at AEW All Out 2022: “It showed that, ‘Oh, we still got a lot of work to do.’ Simple, plain and simple. It shows just like, ‘OK. We can make those decisions on the fly, on the call, just on a whim just because,’ not knowing the ripple affects that has, you know? And that put a chip on my shoulder from that day forward. And we beat the hell out of each other, we put on the performance of a lifetime to be overshadowed by some bulls***. I stand with anybody who says that was the best match on that show, even this man here [Tony Khan]. And that put a chip on a shoulder to that’s how we get here. That’s how we turn negatives into positives. We don’t go online and talk about it. No, I put the work in, and I give you results.”

On his message to the kids who saw him win the title: “I think this one moment sends many messages to everybody. Primarily, it’s possible. It can be done, but it’s not easy. Like, I kept saying this throughout the week through all these media and interviews I was doing, ‘What happens if this doesn’t work out?’ I don’t win the championship. ‘Ah, well, push it down the road. We got to wait for a bigger moment. We got to push it down the road again.’ That’s happened several times in history, and pushing it down the road results to missed opportunities. It never happens, and I’ve seen that way too many times as a kid growing up. I’m sure you have too, and I’m sure a lot of other people have. They’ve seen opportunities for us pushed down the road, want to build it to something bigger around the corner, and boom, injuries. Boom, somebody else gets the opportunity in front of them. Boom, that person’s not as hot as they were before, and the timing was missed. And boom, that person, you never see or hear from them again. They’re — police, fired, gone somewhere else, and that moment just flickered. When it’s our moment, we have to take it. That’s the message I’ve been wanting to send. That’s why I came out in the outfit that I wore. I’m not coming to be rewarded with the crown and the throne. I’m here to take it. That’s what we have to do. We have to take it.”

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