Swerve Strickland described Shawn Michaels’ behind-the-scenes contributions that fueled his success

Swerve Strickland, the electrifying persona of Stephon Strickland, is a dynamic force in the world of professional wrestling. His journey has been a whirlwind of reinventions, championship reigns, and captivating performances, making him a prominent figure across multiple promotions.

Strickland is currently signed with AEW. During an interview he opened up about his experiences in WWE and the conversations with the Vice President of Talent Development Creative of NXT, Shawn Michaels during his initial days in the NXT roster.

Swerve Strickland discussed Shawn Michaels’ contribution to his career

Swerve Strickland had a three-year career in the NXT from 2019 to 2021. Strickland debuted in NXT in June 2019, as part of the Breakout Tournament, where he reached the semifinals and dominated the NXT roster. In an interview with Chris Van Vliet, Strickland discussed the things he took away from the WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels.

He said, “I would have like hour long tape studies with him. Close the door boom. It’s me and him watching old indie stuff. He wanted to see like, ‘Okay, what got you here?’ ‘You’re doing well right now, but I want to know what got you here.’ He was like really paying attention to my pacing and how I move.”

He also added, And then he was like ‘I see what kind of performer you are.’ We’re not really putting you in the position to be the true performer you are and that’s where he started like having creative meetings with Triple H when they were writing TV for the next week or so”.

Strickland said that Michaels recognized that he was not being put in the position to be the true performer he was, and that he started having creative meetings with Triple H to give him more opportunities and showcase his potential. 

Strickland said that he learned a lot from Michaels and applied those lessons to his current work in AEW. He mentioned that Michaels taught him how to be confident, creative, and adaptable in the ring. While Scott’s NXT run was cut short, its impact is undeniable. He proved himself as a versatile performer, shining both in tag team and singles action.

Big 2024 planned for Swerve

Swerve vs MJF is a potential feud that could take place in AEW in 2024, between two of the top stars of the promotion. On today’s AEW episode the longest reigning AEW World Champion MJF and Swerve had a heated talk on the back stage.

MJF confronted Swerve by saying, “I haven’t been ducking you, boss. The reason me and you have never made eye contact in this place is because, unfortunately, there [are] levels to this s–t, and you’re just not on mine.”

Swerve replied, “You’re right: there are levels to this,” “You do tryouts, I sign contracts. And be careful how you talk to me, because the last person that did, I hung him outside the ring in front of 13,000 people by a chain.”

Swerve and MJF start a heated rivalry, with Swerve challenging MJF’s claim to be the best in the world. They exchange verbal jabs and rap battles on Dynamite and Rampage, with Swerve calling MJF a spoiled brat and a fake champion, and MJF calling Swerve a wannabe rapper and a WWE reject.

A Swerve vs MJF feud in 2024 could be a defining moment in AEW history. It has the potential to deliver epic matches, unforgettable promos, and a captivating championship pursuit. If booked to perfection, this could be a rivalry that transcends individual wrestlers and becomes a cornerstone of AEW’s success.


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