Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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Big Swole speaks on her departure from AEW and the lack of diversity and structure in the company; Tony Khan responds

In November, former AEW talent Big Swole announced that she and the company had mutually parted ways. The time had come to sign a new contract and the two parties had come to the agreement to not move forward. Swole confirmed this on her social media at the time.

Big Swole was signed to AEW at the end of 2019 after appearing in the first women’s Casino Battle Royale at All Out. Although she did make appearances on Dynamite, she was often seen on AEW Dark/Elevation. For the first half of 2021, she revealed that she missed some time due to having Crohn’s Disease.

Once she returned in July, she had a series of matches with Diamante where the two had a Three Strikes Match on Dark.

While speaking on her Swole World podcast, Swole discusses why she chose to not re-sign with the company and how the moment she had with Kenny Omega who thanked her for what she did with the Diamante feud. This led to other women feeling as though they could pitch ideas.

I explained to TK that I didn’t want to re-sign because my peace was being disrupted. If anybody knows me or knows myself, if anything is disrupting your peace, it’s time to let it go. It might be scary or be hard, but it’s time to let it go. When Kenny said that, it was the circle coming to an end because Kenny and I would bump heads sometimes throughout my time in AEW. To end it on that note felt good. It felt wonderful to end it at a place where, we didn’t see eye-to-eye, but we were there,” she said.

Swole opens up what she discussed with them in her exit interview.

“My heart just stopped being in it as the reason why I left AEW. I felt like there were a lot of things, and I told them in my exit interview, there are a lot of things that need to change. I know fans of the company don’t take criticism well sometimes, certain ones. Know this, this is somebody from the inside, the structure is a little off. It’s fine to be loose, but I like to have a little bit more structure. I felt like the women shouldn’t have gone through everything they went through just to get on TV or get time. You’re signed to this big company, you should get time. All these men are getting time, but the women weren’t getting anything or you’re not putting people on TV because more people are coming in. Okay, there are more people coming in, but you don’t have enough product for all of these people. Now you have all these people sitting around having two or three-minute matches on Dark doesn’t keep me happy.”

She continues, “Shoveling more money doesn’t keep a person happy. We’ve seen time and time again, especially in a place where there’s not enough space. There’s no writers in a sense. Not everyone is comfortable writing their own things. Closed mouths don’t get fed. That’s exactly what that environment is. If you are shy and don’t know how to write or are not creative, it’s not going to work unless they want it to work for you. That’s one of their biggest issues,” she said.

Other than the lack of structure, Swole discussed the lack of diversity in AEW and how a conversation with her daughter helped her realize even more the lack of representation.

“Outside of [lack of structure] their BIGGEST issue, which is diversity. I do not beat around the bush when it comes to diversity and my people. There is no representation, truly, and when there is, it does not come across in the black community as genuine. At all. I don’t know why everybody is so afraid to accept it or say it, but it’s not a good look. What happens is, you have this wonderful company that treats people like family, but there is nobody that looks like me that is represented at the top and in the room with them. They are not helping to necessarily influence decisions, but to explain why certain slang and certain word shouldn’t be said. There is no one else who can explain our culture and experience except for us.”

She continues, “I knew something was up when my daughter, who loves watching wrestling, she would watch AEW all the time and seldomly watch WWE. She’s not a big fan unless dad [Cedric Alexander] was on TV, which stopped happening after they botched the Hurt Business. She would say, ‘Mommy, there is nobody that looks like me on AEW. There’s nobody that looks like daddy.’ Then she started watching WWE because she saw Bianca and Big E. She saw herself represented. If that wasn’t a ‘click.’ ‘You are absolutely right. I don’t have an explanation.’ It’s 2021. Why are people saying, ‘it’ll take three years for AEW to have a black champ’? This is a scripted sport. It should not take that long if you have been watching WWE for 50+ years and you know what not to do.”

Swole continued to say that she wants wrestling to flourish and that she loves the art form of wrestling. With AEW having the promises made to be diverse, she wants to see that.

“I believe that the company is making better strides than before, but a couple of things need to be fixed. You have to be able to call people out because not everything is perfect. I hope they listen to this with an open heart and not just, ‘Ah, she’s just saying this because of XYZ.’ I genuinely want them to succeed. I love this art form. I love wrestling and I want it to succeed and I want the people in it to succeed if they are genuine people. I want WWE to succeed. I want wrestling to flourish and I don’t want it to be a long-forgotten, Tartarian sport where ‘in the old days, we used to wrestle,’ and it’s folklore. I want nothing but the best, but I also want the change and application to happen. With promises you made to be diverse, I want to see that. Not just with black people. I would love to see a Latino or Hispanic or more Asians. I feel like Asians and Indians do not get the love. They just don’t. It’s such a big gap. I hate the fact that I turn on the TV and it’s the same stuff over and over again. Hopefully, they get the message. Me leaving, honestly, was not bad. There is no bad blood between TK and I. I just don’t like my peace being disrupted. I didn’t like certain things and other things that I will take to my grave. The diversity. That’s what matters.” [h/t – Fightful]

After Fightful transcribed Swole’s podcast, Tony Khan responded to her concerns with the following tweet below.

A few responses have come out from fellow wrestlers in response to Khan’s tweet. Lio Rush and Nyla Rose have made the following remarks.

Shawn Dean who is both an in-ring talent and works behind the scenes shared the following from his perspective.

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