Swerve Strickland discusses Bray Wyatt.
The top AEW superstar spoke fondly of Wyatt, whose death this past summer is still being felt by the wrestling community, during a recent appearance on the Not Sam Wrestling program. Swerve begins by explaining how much of an influence Wyatt had on his career, where he recalled their time together in WWE and explained why he decided to pay homage to him during his Full Gear Texas Deathmatch against Adam Page.
I didn’t know Bray as close as a lot of people like Brodie Lee, there were people influenced by him from his time there, but some people have known him since FCW or NXT and they have that personal connection. To me, 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. Weekly television on two shows. It wasn’t just Raw or SmackDown, he was doing both shows with his material. Bringing that to the real world. I really appreciated that and I think he was ahead of his time. I just wanted to show appreciation that the love and influence wasn’t lost. I put that as part of my gear, and I was in the locker room with him during my time at 205 [205 Live], he always gave me hugs. He was awesome. At one point, I had to help him with a Fiend mask. It was COVID and we were all in that box together. There were times I had to help him with that. There were times I would see him in Gorilla coming back when they were testing the red lighting after the show and getting that going. I’ve seen a lot of those processes with him. He was always a good brother in the locker room. He was fun, really cool. That was one of those things of, ‘you’ve always influenced me through all of this.’ No matter what, if it was their taste or wasn’t, 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 that night. If anything, I feel like his spirit powered that match.
Later, Swerve talks about the match itself and the incredible reception it has had towards fans in the industry.
It’s very rare that it hits across the board and gets a ten from every outlet and every fanbase. It’s just impossible in this day and age. Just know, it hit the right people. It hit the notes with people that really cared. The ones that it did hit, it changed their lives. That’s what matters. It definitely did for me. It changed my viewing and the possibilities of what we could really do in this medium and this industry. I’m going to take a piece of that and revamp it in a way that fits me.
Swerve will be in action later this evening on AEW Dynamite. He battles Mark Briscoe in the next round of the Continental Classic. You can check out the latest Dynamite lineup here.
(H/T and transcribed by Fightful)