That could have gone better. AEW has come a very long way in its short history and a lot of that is due to company President Tony Khan. Fans have been waiting a very long time for a huge wrestling fan with serious money to run their own promotion and now Khan is finally here to do just that. There are going to be some rocky points eventually though and that seems to be the case again.
Former AEW star Big Swole discussed her time in the company during an episode of her Swole World podcast. Swole said that she left AEW at the end of November because her inner peace was being disturbed. Her heart was no longer in AEW and she felt that the company needed some more structure.
This included wanting more time for women’s wrestling, saying that there was not enough television time to go around. Many wrestlers were getting short matches on Dark, which was not enough for some of them. She also mentioned that some wrestlers were not comfortable with writing their own material but there was no one to write it for them.
The second biggest issue mentioned was diversity, as Swole felt that there was no representation of the black community, especially at the top of the company. There was no word in influencing decisions, while citing her daughter saying that there is no one in AEW who looks like her. Swole made it clear that AEW has improved and that she wants the company to succeed, though she would like more diversity.
Khan has responded to Swole on Twitter:
The top 2 @AEW execs are brown (me & Megha)!! Jade, Bowens, Caster, Dante, Nyla, Isiah & Marq Quen all won on tv this month. The TBS Title Tournament has been very diverse. I let Swole’s contract expire as I felt her wrestling wasn’t good enough. #AEWRampage Street Fight TONIGHT! https://t.co/NprF6I7D6G
— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) January 1, 2022
Here are some of Swole’s comments, with transcription courtesy of Fightful.com:
On Leaving AEW:
“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. 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.”
On Diversity Issues In AEW:
“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.”
On What AEW Needs To Improve:
“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.”
Swole did some good things during her time in AEW. Check out some of her moments in the company:
Opinion: I’m going to stay out of what Swole said and look at Khan’s response, which came in two parts. Khan had every right to explain his side of things and even defend himself, but adding in that he let Swole go because she wasn’t good was taking this to a different level. That was making it personal with her and that did not need to be the case. It felt very out of character for Khan and I’m curious to see how things go with the roster as a result.
What did you think of Swole’s statements? Did Khan respond appropriately? Let us know in the comments below.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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