Swerve Strickland will be AEW’s first Black World Champion in 2024


Swerve Strickland is riding a wealth of momentum and popularity that must carry him to the AEW World Championship in 2024. 

AEW Full Gear 2023 features several big matchups. One that stands out is “Hangman” Adam Page versus Swerve Strickland. It’s a hot feud that has the attention of fans because it’s one man’s desire to push to the top versus another who was originally trying to defend his spot, and now is defending much more. This angle hasn’t picked up serious stakes and stipulations yet, but the match has the potential to be an impactful one as it’s a step toward what should be an important moment in 2024 when Strickland becomes AEW’s first Black world champion.

Swerve checks all the boxes when it comes to being a world champion in professional wrestling. He has looks, charisma, microphone capabilities, exceptional skills in the ring, and he has the crossover potential to be a star outside the ring. Any organization in the right mind would love to have Swerve as the man holding their title. It’s one reason why many looked at WWE oddly when the promotion released him during the global pandemic. It didn’t make any sense for a company to cut a man with so much star potential. But of course, this was Vince McMahon’s WWE taking those actions.

Swerve has rebounded quite well as a member of AEW. His run as a tag team with Keith Lee was short-lived but beloved by fans. AEW never revisited the Swerve versus Lee angle, but the former has continued to find relevancy within the promotion. It’s time for that relevancy to no longer have a ceiling. 2024 must be the year that he’s elevated to the main event scene and that title goes around his waist.

“I think that’s a story, that’s a possibility, that’s being talked about now amongst peers. It’s a seed that I planted that I wanted to just organically grow,” Strickland said while speaking with DAZN Wrestling. “The story wasn’t about AEW’s never had a black world champion, it’s like, I want to win it. I want to be the first and I don’t want to accept anything less.”

The determination noted in that quote is the exact foundation that should push Swerve into the title picture. Surely, he’s not the only individual on the AEW roster who wants to be the first Black champion, but he’s one who is closer than anyone else available. Getting big wins over someone the level of Page puts him closer to the top of the roster. That’s why taking the overall victory in this angle is important. Having Page pick up the victory at Full Gear is understandable, but it should be Swerve that gets the full win and elevation that comes with it.

“I want to be the first, which means I want to be next up, especially with the momentum I have. I want to use all of that to get to the top,” Swerve said.

That momentum must continue through Full Gear and into 2024. Many expect MJF’s reign to last into next year and having a well-built heel in Swerve take that title off his waist would be a huge moment that fans are waiting to see. Going in the other direction would open AEW up to more critique at a time when the company continues to make unforced errors that hurt its perception in the eyes of its biggest fans.

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