Top AEW star Swerve Strickland recently spoke to Sam Roberts with Not Sam Wrestling about how much respect he has for Bray Wyatt and how the late WWE Champion influenced his career. In August, Wyatt died and the wrestling world lost one of its most creative minds. He died suddenly from a heart attack. Everyone is still processing the death of one of wrestling’s brightest stars.
Wyatt touched a lot of people’s lives and that includes his peers in wrestling. One of the peers he touched was AEW’s Swerve Strickland. His current character uses fear a lot and wants his opponents to fear him. His definition of fear is having a real person being able to reach out and touch someone. Not a slasher from a movie, but a real-life person who may live next door who is a deranged person.
He recognizes Wyatt as a true master of using fear in his matches. On a recent episode of Notsam Wrestling, Strickland recalls how Wyatt’s Fiend character confused a lot of people and received mixed praise when it first debuted.
“I remember when The Fiend was really going, there was a lot of chatter that it wasn’t for them, as a fan. I was like, ‘No, this is brilliant work. I don’t think people really appreciated the brilliance he was bringing to the screen and a lot of risks he was taking, week by week, which is not easy to do.”H/T To Wrestling Inc. for the transcription
Swerve Strickland Thinks Bray Wyatt Was Ahead of His Time
Swerve Strickland thinks Wyatt was ahead of his time with what he was brought to wrestling. He admits that he wasn’t as close to Wyatt as others were. However, he had a lot of positive interactions with Wyatt. He was even able to see some of the early stages of The Fiend’s creation like the testing of his signature red lights.
With Strickland’s gimmick leaning on the use of fear to impact his opponents, he wanted to pay tribute to Wyatt. He couldn’t think of a better time to pay tribute than his match with “Hangman” Page at AEW: Full Gear last month. Strickland talked about why it was so important to him to pay tribute to Wyatt. he stated the following:
“I just wanted to show appreciation that the love and influence wasn’t lost,” Strickland said. “I’m a horror person, and I was really happy to see a new age of horror brought to the screen in an industry that I love and I was like, ‘Man, that was a revolutionary.’ I wanted to take a little piece of that into what I was doing [at Full Gear]. If anything, I feel like his spirit powered that match.”H/T To Wrestling Inc. for the transcription
Bray Wyatt Was a Master of Fear
Strickland paid tribute to Wyatt with his ring attire. During his match with Page, he wore striped red and black tights like those Fiend would wear. Wyatt wasn’t the first to bring in the horror element into wrestling. Many had done it before him. Three of the most notable are probably Undertaker, Kane, and Mankind. However, as they began to retire that particular tactic looked like it may fade away.
Wyatt and the Wyatt Family were keeping the fear aspect of wrestling alive. He also took it to a place it had never gone before. The Firefly Fun House was something never seen before and how different The Fiend character was than the Bray Wyatt character was also very unique.
Strickland is gaining a lot of momentum in AEW. His match with Page received a five-star rating from Dave Meltzer’s controversial rating system. Many fans have brought up a desire to see him have a AEW World Championship reign. His popularity is, at least in part, because of his solid work with his gimmick. If he continues his momentum he could be the first black AEW World champion.
When you think of Wyatt, is his use of fear one of the first things you think of? Do you think Wyatt is the best to ever incorporate fear into his strategy? Can you see Wyatt’s influence on Strickland? Is Swerve Strickland’s current work in AEW the best of his career? Let us know if you think Swerve Strickland has a shot of being the first black AEW World champion. Let us know your thoughts on Swerve’s comments on our social media.