AEW just picked up another major free agent, according to a new report from Fightful Select on Wednesday. After plenty of speculation following the end of his 90-day "No Compete" clause, Shane "Swerve" Strickland has reportedly signed a deal with the company. Strickland, formerly Isaiah "Swerve" Scott and also going by Sw3rve The Realest, was a former NXT North American Champion and a member of the wildly popular group Hit Row in NXT in 2021, but within weeks of the group being called up to SmackDown they were gradually released by the company. Strickland offered his thoughts on the situation during a K&S Wrestlefest virtual signing this week.
"It's almost kind of like, we went to a product that already had New Day and Usos and stuff like that," he said. "So you can't have three starting quarterbacks, in their mind, you know? You already have your franchise quarterback but you also drafted, you have two backup quarterbacks that are first-rounders. So it's like, we've got to trade him off to, you know, Tennessee. We can send them another team that needs a quarterback because there's already three starting quarterbacks there."
"If it was the case of just like, myself getting released, and they were there, I'd still feel better about that because I know I can go anywhere and be pretty okay. Like, do my own thing," he later added. "I just felt bad for my team, and I'm always going to feel like that. You know what I mean? For Ashante, the most, because that's all he ever wanted to be, a WWE wrestler. Like he went through a lot, you know? With like his military life and he told that story on The Bump episode we were on. Talking about being bombed over there and being overseas and getting shot at and getting concussions from bombs going off and going through true wartime and getting that trauma. So all he ever wanted to do when he came back was like, push hard and be in the WWE. So that's where my heart went to, him primarily and our group. So if I could sacrifice myself being released for them to just stay there and do their thing, then I would."
Strickland first broke out in the United States as the masked wrestler Killshot in Lucha Underground and was a world champion in Major League Wrestling prior to joining WWE in 2019. His deal with AEW reportedly doesn't start until March, so it's unlikely that he'll appear on this week's AEW Dynamite.