Swerve Strickland On He And Hangman Page Having To ‘Kind Of Had To Erase A Lot Of Wrestling Tropes’ During Feud

AEW star Swerve Strickland was interviewed on the “Wrestling with Freddie” podcast by Freddie Prinze, Jr.

Strickland recently defeated Dustin Rhodes at the Worlds End pay-per-view, and he appears to be on track to challenge for the World Title in 2024.

On Adam Page’s feud:

“We started off with a motive. Why do I want to take it to this level? Why do we want it to elevate? It’s almost like an elevated horror in a sense of just painting the broad canvas of it. You have your high points. We kind of had to erase a lot of wrestling tropes, in a sense. It’s not like, ‘Oh, he’s the good guy, but he’s doing that. He’s the bad guy. He’s doing that.’ It’s like, no, this is a man needing to get revenge on another man who did a bad thing. So it’s like, we kind of start off with just like, boom, just that. Now what are the things that make that person tick? What drives the anger out of someone who is on the defensive? What drives the anger out of someone who’s on the offensive? What are the switches that turn things around? That was the beauty of starting this whole thing off with the promos between me and Hangman Page. I dressed him down and showcased all his weaknesses. I put it all out there on display. People have seen him already for like four years in AEW, but now people were like, ‘Wow, I feel like I know him now.’ I addressed the person and then I kind of went through like, you know what? I see all this. Nobody’s saying it. I’m gonna say it to you to your face. I’m not going to do it from the stage to you in the ring. I’m not going to do it over a promo that’s up here and then you’re down here. No, I’m going to address you to your face because Swerve isn’t a coward. Swerve is going to come to you and say it. That’s what kind of makes me a dangerous threat. I’m not going to hide. I’m going to say to your face. That’s the thing about like, a lot of tropes in wrestling are like, ‘Oh man, you said it to his face.’ and that promo ends and they just walk away. I’m like, why would you walk away from someone? Like no. You’re saying all these things. You know what I mean?”

“It’s like as a human being, you kind of feel a lot of the things and so therefore when the violence started occurring, you felt for the person taking the violence and the person inflicting it and therefore instead of just seeing two wrestlers bludgeoning each other, it didn’t feel like a match anymore. It felt like somebody has to try to survive this, so how does he get away from this?”

“I kind of took a lot of things from, like, Hostile. I took some things from Halloween like walking through pain because you’re just so enraged and stuff like that. There were a lot of things I would say, with Hangman, he was like, this is like our Ghost Rider now. If you notice he kind of went from like the cowboy wearing the nice stars and the dazzle jeans and now he’s like, we were so polar opposite from the first promo we did. He’s wearing a blue cowboy shirt with stars and he had his hair in a ponytail man bun and stuff like that. By the time we got to the second promo where he dresses me down, he looks more like me now. We’re more similar than ever. I’m wearing black leather and black pants. He’s wearing black leather and black pants. His hair is out. I was like, I pulled that out of you so I won as the bad person anyway. Whether I win or lose, I got the Hangman that I was asking for. I got Cowboy Shit back and now the fans are feeling that. The fan base was supposed to feel for Swerve. It was like, oh man, this guy is cool. You’re supposed to feel for me, but Hangman has to win the fans back. That was the entire plot of this whole thing, and by the time we did that promo right before going into the Texas death match, he won the fans back.”

On how Adam Copeland and Terry Taylor helped him develop his character and promos:

“(Adam Copeland) has been my mentor I would say for the last two or years. I credit two people for this. Definitely, Adam Copeland for promos and characters and stuff like that because we share content like sending each other YouTube videos and breakdowns of characters and what this color means of this suit. Why did he wear it this way? What this means, like the polarities of certain characters and all those things. So we share content like that all the time, but then it was Terry Taylor who really taught me how to be in the ring, how to bring that in the ring and showcase the person. You have to showcase that you’re a person and the feel of it before it gets to just action and fighting and moves and spots and running and jumping and diving and stuff. Like, okay, cool. You did that. Now show me how your character feels about what you just did. Now show the camera how you feel about what you just accomplished. It’s kind of like small little tidbits, but after a while, it adds up. Then you do it again the next week. Then you do it again the next week. Then do it again the next week. Then you do it again next week. Now the fan base is connected to you because they see, like, ‘Oh, I feel like that too. Oh, man, I’ve had a feeling like that too.’”

You can check out the complete podcast below:

(h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription)