Big Swole will finally face off against Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. on the Buy In ahead of ALL OUT on September 5.
In the year since Big Swole debuted, she has become a huge star. She is one of the most popular wrestlers in AEW. Her feud with Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. has been one of the highlights of the summer.
It finally culminates on Saturday night on the pre-show for ALL OUT. The Buy In will be on AEW’s YouTube channel. They will square off in a Tooth and Nail match, which Tony Khan describes as a cinematic match. This will be the first cinematic women’s singles match.
I had the chance to speak with Swole ahead of her HERstory making match. We talked about a variety of topics including her rise in AEW, the Tooth and Nail match, wrestling in a pandemic, and much more.
Big Swole has had to build a story where her opponent hasn’t been able to compete.
“It’s been challenging, but it’s been interesting learning how to be creative and thinking outside of the box, literally. It’s been great and Britt’s been a great sport about everything. We’ve been sitting down thinking, ‘we can do this and we can do this.’ There’s just so many ways you can use trash.”
Last year, she was part of the first Casino Battle Royale that featured only women. This year is her first official pay-per-view as a singles competitor.
Coming into last year’s match, Swole felt like she had a lot more to prove. “I felt like I was hungrier last year because you’re going after something.”
For full transparency, Swole says she felt like she was getting a little stagnant. “Gearing up for this match has been difficult. It’s because I don’t know what I’m getting into. I’m not going into a ring, I’m going into someone’s job. Who knows what kind of booby traps she’s got for me?! But, you know, a hog never offers up any bacon.” Although she doesn’t know what she’s getting into, she’s ready for anything and thinks she can win.
With this being such a popular storyline, she feels a lot of pressure. Swole points out that this is the first women’s storyline for AEW (to be featured on the pay-per-view), because “we’re the beginning, we’re a new company. This needs to work… but pressure makes diamonds.”
Swole is so excited to hear that they’re the first women to compete in a singles match in a cinematic format. With so many people coming ahead of her and so many things being done and being done repeatedly, she points out that you don’t really think you’ll be the first anything. Swole is overjoyed to be in the history books as being one of the first women in a cinematic single match. “I feel so blessed and so grateful to even have a spot, let alone to be able to make HERstory.”
Balancing her health behind-the-scenes
On top of building this story during a pandemic, she has also had to manage her health. She has been open about having Crohn’s disease. Her normal treatment shuts down her immune system.
Her doctor told Swole, “if you take this, you will not be able to survive. You will catch it and your immune system is too low.” While the doctor didn’t come out and say the words, Swole knows that if she were to get COVID-19, she would likely not survive.
Since she can’t undergo her regular treatment, she has been relying on prayer, alternative methods, and keeping calm as stress can trigger flareups.
To maintain her stress levels, she has to watch everything she does. “My friends call me a real-life superhero because ‘you have to manage Crohn’s disease, and you’re a mom and a wife. You have to be Big Swole and make time for yourself.'”
There has to be a balance between being Big Swole and herself. She has to be able to turn it on and off. “When I’m at work, I’m at work. When I’m home, I turn it off. Whoever needs my time at the time, that’s the hat I’m wearing. I’m just Aerial.” One of her escapes is playing Gardenscapes on her phone to calm her down. It’s one of the things she keeps just for herself where she can be happy and content and no one can bother her.
How to use your voice to bring change
Another topic on her mind is the civil unrest that has been elevated this summer. If you go to Swole’s Twitter, you will see how vocal she’s been. You have probably noticed the BLM armband she wears on TV.
What does allyship in pro wrestling look like to her? “Allyship to me is knowing when to speak and knowing when to listen. Your mama always say ‘you have two ears and one mouth for a reason.’ There’s certain things in our community that’s important to us. It’s knowing when to be there and knowing when to be vocal and be vocal about certain things. Not have the “what about-isms” and Black on Black crime. We’re one of the only races where that comes up. There’s white on white crime, there’s Asian on Asian crime.”
Allyship is also being there and reaching out to your Black friends. “We are hurting. I think I’m a really good person. I don’t have a record or anything like that.” Just yesterday, Swole had a situation where she heard an ambulance and thought it was the police. “I was terrified. I cried in my car because I shouldn’t have to feel that way. I shouldn’t have to carry that. I’m terrified to leave my house, I’m terrified to be in my house because of something like with Breonna Taylor.”
Going back to what it means to be an ally, Swole stresses that it’s being there and reaching out. “If it’s someone in your personal space and they’re talking out of the side of their mouth, correct them. Most people don’t correct the people within their own space.” Don’t come to their community pointing out what’s wrong as they are well aware.
“If you’re not in that community, you should be in your own spaces and help. If everyone puts down their pitchforks and knives and start handing out forks, we can all eat. We can all get better. There are enough resources here for everyone. Be grateful that you have it because you can’t take it anywhere with you when you pass on, so you might as well be on this Earth to share. There’s only one human race and you have to protect each other.”
As a mother, she has had to have tough conversations with her young daughter. Her daughter has already had realizations about her own skin. A couple of classmates asked why she didn’t have peach skin like her mommy and told her that her dark skin was not beautiful. In telling the story to her mom, she said she wished she had skin like hers. Swole told her daughter that she is beautiful. She had to explain that some people teach their kids that certain things are wrong or isn’t the way or standard.
They’ve talked about segregation and people like Martin Luther King. Television shows and movies like Beyoncé’s Black is King has been able to help them discuss these important topics. “You have to teach your kids to praise their heritage without beating down someone else.”
Being vocal about these topics can create backlash. Swole doesn’t know specifically if speaking up has cost her opportunities because they won’t say it to her face, but she’s sure it has. However, she knows that if it did, it wasn’t not meant for her. “What God has meant for me is for me and no man or woman can take that away.”
Swole feels like even if she wasn’t on national TV, it is her responsibility as a human being to speak up. “It’s my responsibility as a human, as a mother, as a Christian, as a Black woman to explain and tell, no matter how exhausted I am. My work is never done until I get to them Pearly Gates. If not me, who? I absolutely have to use this platform, I have to.”
The same week where other sports were postponing games, Dynamite went on as planned. They did have their first live audience back that night. Had those fans not been there, would AEW have postponed too? She says she’s heard, “‘Oh, Big Swole is working, so she must not be down for the cause.’ There are different ways and avenues that you can be an ally. Not everyone has to cancel a game.” She personally has seen people that she works with that have been there. “We don’t have to jump on a train to do what everyone else is doing. There are different ways.” When everything first happened, it was “Black Lives Matter, no ifs, ands, or buts, about it. So there wasn’t a need to cancel.” She would’ve been behind them 100% if they had done either one.
Wrestling is not only an escape for fans, but for the talent. When they’re at work, they can focus on that for a few hours instead of the constant situation going on. “When you’re not working, your chest gets tight. Even at home, my chest gets tight. At home, I can vent and cry about it. At work, it’s such a positive environment that I can just breathe.”
‘Wrestling is for everyone’
Back at work, once she beats Dr. Baker, she has her sights on Thunder Rosa. They had one match on the indys that she loved. She loves working with her because she’s an amazing person. She also loves the crossover with NWA. “Wrestling is for everyone. If the NFL can do it with all those teams, then wrestling can too. We can have our Big Four.” She thinks interchanging wrestlers would be cool too. If she went over to NWA, she’d love to face their talent. She issued this challenge with a laugh, “you hear Marti Belle and Kamille? I’m coming for you!”
Swole wants you to watch the Buy In. She stressed that they need eyes on this show and it’s key for fans to watch. She wants to remind fans that it’s free. “I don’t care where I am. Sometimes I love being first. We are setting the tone. Just watch it!”
You heard the woman. Be sure to tune into All Out: Buy In at 7 PM ET so you can witness HERstory.