Swerve Strickland Discusses AEW's Hands-Off Approach To His Theme & Other Freedoms

AEW CEO Tony Khan has often opened his wallet to buy the rights for popular entrance themes, including Jack Perry's "Tarzan Boy" entrance from his Jungle Boy days and, more recently, the song Bryan Danielson used in Ring of Honor, "The Final Countdown." One that Khan has never owned, however, is current AEW World Champion Swerve Strickland's entrance song, "Big Pressure," discussing the song's ownership on a recent episode of "Drinks With Johnny."

"The craziest thing about AEW is that they never touched it," Strickland said. "They were like 'Nope, this is Swerve's. He made this, he brought this to us. We're just putting it out there.'"

For Strickland, this is a refreshing change of pace when compared to the rest of his career, specifically his WWE days, when his music — which he and his stable, Hit Row, performed — was owned by the company.

"At least it's mine; the Hit Row song was not," Strickland said. "We got a payoff, and then they changed the beat when we got to 'Smackdown' ... at least with AEW they were like 'Nope, this is yours.'"

Artistic control is a key reason Strickland enjoys working in AEW, and he credits the company for allowing performers to have control over their characters, referencing wrestlers such as MJF and Adam Copeland creating uniquely memorable moments thanks to AEW giving wrestlers creative freedom. Strickland feels he thrives on this process.

"I'd rather you let me fend for myself and create my own way than wait my turn for eight, 10 years that may never come until they pluck you like a toy into a machine," he said.

Following a successful world title defense against Roderick Strong, Strickland will now likely refocus on his upcoming match against Will Ospreay at Forbidden Door.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit "Drinks with Johnny" and provide a h/t to Rllegends for the transcription.