AEW star Shane “Swerve” Strickland recently joined the Getting Over: Wrestling podcast to discuss his time in NXT, and how he grew frustrated due to the lack of direction for his eventual push that saw him capture the NXT North American championship. Highlights from the interview are below.
Says he would get frustrated in NXT due to a lack of a push:
“Oh yeah. Absolutely. I had four good, strong conversations with Triple H about it personally. I was like ‘hey, I want to be one of your top guys. What do I have to do?’ Straight up and I wasn’t like bullsh-tting and getting around anything, I was like ‘what do I have to do? Because I know I can do it.’ And every time I had a conversation, he boosted me up a little bit with my position. And that’s why I got into the Santos Escobar thing. Because it’s like ‘okay, I want more.’ Okay, then he puts us on Takeover for the Cruiserweight Title. I was like ‘okay, I still want more. What’s the hesitation to put me with these top dudes?’ It was just like placement and all this other stuff.”
Breaks down what his relationship was with Triple H:
“I feel like he liked me and he respects my talent and my ability. But I don’t feel like he ever truly bought in and invested until I made him have to with Hit Row. He’s one of those guys like, he has those talents on the show that he knows and he’s well-acquainted with and it’s hard for him to deviate from those guys. When he’s set on someone, he’s set on them. Anybody who says that he doesn’t, like, I wouldn’t call it picking favorites, but if somebody says he doesn’t have his core guys, you’re one of the core guys. You know what I mean? They’re like ‘what do you mean, he’s great’. I’m like ‘no sh-t.’ But there’s a lot of like, to this day I feel like he missed out on Matt Riddle being a world champion because he was focused on core guys. I feel like there was times he missed out on a Bianca Belair because he was focused on his core girls. You know, there’s a lot of missed opportunities with certain areas because he was so focused on certain people and you kind of have to because he’s running a product that, on a weekly product, you kind of want to go to your go-getters. You know, your guaranteed guys.”
(H/T and transcribed by Wrestling Inc.)