As a child of WWE's Ruthless Aggression era, AEW's Swerve Strickland grew up idolizing figures who are now not only his peers but also his mentors. In a recent episode of "The State of Florida Sports Podcast," Strickland opened up about the wrestling icons who have influenced his career path and style in the ring.
Strickland's earliest inspiration came from none other than the high-flying Rey Mysterio. "The first wrestler I idolized was Rey Mysterio. I was a fan of Shawn Michaels, but Rey Mysterio was the one I idolized," Strickland shared with genuine admiration.
This admiration was not just limited to fandom; it was a guiding light as he embarked on his own wrestling journey. As Strickland delved deeper into the industry, his appreciation for another member of the legendary "SmackDown Six" grew.
He expressed immense respect for Edge (Adam Copeland), whose in-ring tactics and persona left a lasting impression on him. "I really became a fan of Edge and Adam Copeland," Swerve enthused. "That was my guy. I still have his book in my bookcase.
I have his DVD. I've studied them meticulously." The admiration didn't stop there; Swerve now cherishes the fact that he can call Copeland a friend and mentor, a testament to how far he's come in his career.
Copeland's Impactful AEW Debut
Copeland's recent debut in AEW, particularly in Swerve's hometown of Seattle, WA at AEW WrestleDream, was a milestone moment for Strickland.
Their bond, formed back in their WWE days, has only strengthened over time. Copeland would often reach out to Strickland after episodes of 205 Live to offer guidance and critique, helping refine Swerve's in-ring presence and technique.
While Swerve and Copeland have had limited interactions in AEW due to their individual storylines – with Copeland embroiled in a feud with Christian Cage and Strickland competing in the AEW Continental Classic – the respect and influence remain evident.
Strickland's journey to the Gold League finals, although not culminating in a win, showcased his prowess and resilience in the ring, traits he admires in his idols. Swerve Strickland's journey is a compelling narrative of a wrestler growing up idolizing legends, then entering the ring to not just meet but learn from them.
It's a story that continues to inspire fans and aspiring wrestlers alike, proving that with dedication and passion, childhood idols can become mentors and friends in the dynamic world of professional wrestling.