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Swerve Strickland Is The New AEW World Champion


Swerve Strickland is the first Black AEW World Champion after defeating Samoa Joe at AEW Dynasty Sunday night in St. Louis.

Strickland made his entrance paying homage to the Black Panther series before Joe hit the ring to defend his belt.

Joe tried everything — slamming Swerve on the exposed floor, landing the Muscle Buster, and even tried grabbing the title to put the challenger away. But Swerve kept fighting back. He hit a 450 splash onto Joe’s head, then landed a Swerve Stomp for two.

Joe locked in the Coquina Clutch, but Swerve was able to escape. Swerve powerbombed Joe off the middle turnbuckle, landed the Swerve Stomp and captured the championship.

The win comes just over two years since Strickland’s AEW debut. At the time, Swerve had been released from WWE months prior and came to AEW with a chip on his shoulder.

“That left a big chip on my shoulder to prove it was one of the biggest mistakes you could have made,” Strickland told Uproxx Sports last year about his WWE release. “Doing all these big arenas and being featured in a lot of different, very unique ways and being able to do the music crossover and show them that was one of the biggest mistakes you made, but you can’t have it back now. You can’t make up for that now and I’m creating something that’s even bigger than what you expected of me over there. I’m really blessed in that department. I want to not just give back to them, but I want to showcase, I want to exceed the expectations of me here at AEW as well.”

Swerve’s run to the top began with an opportunity to showcase his talents at Wembley stadium against Sting and Darby Allin last year, and continued to build momentum in a blistering rivalry against Hangman Adam Page. After Page took the pinfall loss against Joe at AEW Revolution in March, Swerve’s first shot at the world championship in a singles match came Sunday night.