Professional wrestling, a realm where larger-than-life personas rule the ring, offers a unique spectacle that Swerve Strickland, a prominent figure in the industry, likens to "superheroes coming to life." This comparison was shared during his appearance on the podcast "Wrestling With Freddie," where Strickland delved into the evolution of wrestling characters on national television.
Strickland pointed out that early wrestling icons, like The Hurricane, embodied this superhero archetype. However, it was Rey Mysterio who escalated this concept, proving that even characters with a superhero persona could attain the pinnacle of success, such as becoming a World Champion.
This set the stage for an era of innovative character development within the sport. The next significant leap in this evolution, according to Strickland, came with Bray Wyatt and his 'The Fiend' persona, which marked a new direction in character portrayal in professional wrestling.
Strickland admired how Wyatt's freedom in character development paved the way for fresh, unconventional ideas in the wrestling world.
Creating 'Mogul Embassy' Persona
When crafting his own character, Swerve Strickland was intent on integrating his cultural background while maintaining authenticity.
He aimed to avoid his persona becoming a caricature or losing touch with reality. The birth of his 'Mogul Embassy' character in AEW (All Elite Wrestling) was almost serendipitous, stemming from a casual remark by Tony Nese during a promotional exchange.
Nese referred to Strickland dismissively as "some rapper," to which Strickland spontaneously responded, highlighting his status as a mogul rather than just a rapper. This moment was a lightbulb for Strickland, leading him to focus more on the business and mogul aspects of hip hop in his wrestling persona.
Swerve Strickland's journey in professional wrestling illustrates the dynamic evolution of character creation in the sport. His insights reveal how wrestling blends athletic prowess with the art of storytelling, continually reinventing and pushing the boundaries of what a wrestling character can be.
This blend of physicality and narrative is what keeps the sport thrilling and unpredictable, much like the comic book superheroes that inspire them.