Tony Khan must not delay Swerve Strickland's main event push too long

Swerve Strickland is the star that AEW fans want to see in the main event picture and Tony Khan must not delay that push for other options.
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Timing is a big part of professional wrestling. Promoters might have a plan in place for booking a superstar to rise up the roster, but there are times when the fans will dictate how that push should go. Swerve Strickland is the hot hand in All Elite Wrestling and his growth is dictating a change at the top of the AEW roster. Fans in the arena and on social media are pushing Tony Khan to crown him while he’s hot and the leader backstage shouldn’t delay his push much longer. 

Swerve Strickland has been a popular name on the AEW roster since joining the promotion in 2022. He came in as someone that fans openly criticized the WWE for “fumbling,” but he didn’t get off to the hottest star in AEW either. He would win the tag team championship along with Keith Lee, but once they dropped the belts to The Acclaimed, it was clear that both men were directionless. 

Fast forwarded to 2024 and that claim is no longer valid. Swerve might be presented as a heel-type character, but the fans shower him with love every time he’s on camera. He’s coming off two big wins over “Hangman” Adam Page, and looking to position himself in title contention against AEW World Champion, Samoa Joe. The December 3 edition of AEW Dynamite saw Swerve and Page fighting once again, potentially a signal that they are set to do battle once again. That moment should raise questions for what is next for Swerve at a point where fans want to see him at the top of the card. 

Khan once boasted about having the order of AEW champions planned out in his head. The title would go from Chris Jericho to Jon Moxley to Kenny Omega to Page. But the inclusion of CM Punk seemingly threw a wrench into those plans both due to injuries and suspensions. MJF’s year-plus title reign is over and now the title is on a popular performer like Joe. AEW hasn’t truly leveraged the idea of “transitional champions,” so if Joe is going to go on a lengthy campaign, where does Swerve fit into that title picture? 

Keeping him in a few with Page slots him into an angle that fans would love to see, but does it still have legs after two battles where Swerve came out the winner? Does he get a third over a former champion, or does Page pick up a victory? Does that cut into Swerve’s momentum as well? What about someone else like Bryan Danielson or Jon Moxley? There are a few names on the roster that are hot enough at the top of the roster that can carry a feud with Swerve and Tony Khan should look at leveraging one of those names rather than going back to the angle with Page. 

Regardless of who he chooses, the fact still remains - Swerve must be kept hot and at the top of the roster. There’s no reason why Swerve isn’t ready for this moment. Look at his body of work since joining AEW or his work before joining WWE - when he’s given the opportunity to stand in the spotlight, he delivers. Pushing him to the side for some other angle or performer - or even pushing him into a midcard feud for another championship would be a big mistake. Fans won’t sit for that and will begin to question whether Khan truly intends to elevate the names that fans want to see to the highest levels in the company.