AEW Champ Swerve Strickland Reveals Influence Behind His Eye Makeup

Since Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee's partnership fizzled out in 2022, the current AEW World Champion has established himself as a unique presence on AEW television thanks to his distinct and strong character work. Upon forming The Mogul Embassy in late 2022, Strickland's on-screen persona evolved into something notably different from when he first debuted in AEW.

In a recent interview on "The Bootleg Kev Podcast," Strickland pulled back the curtain on the origins of said persona, stating that he wanted to combine his loves of horror films and hip-hop into his "mogul" character.

"That's two very different genres, but if I bleed these together, I can kind of create something very unique and new," Strickland said. "It's so far-fetched ... but it fits."

Strickland's physical appearance has been a notable part of his on-screen personality, with him typically sporting dark eye makeup on his way to the ring. While this also comes from his love of horror, Strickland acknowledges one character that inspired him.

"After the All In match ... I was like 'I'm a big fan of Sweeney Todd," said Strickland. "Let me add a little darkness to the eyes ... Let me sink a little deeper into the character and darken it up a little bit more to feel like, 'All right, something's different about Swerve than any other person on this roster.'"

While he acknowledges that AEW talent have to be great in the ring, it's Strickland's distinct identity that's kept him on top of AEW in recent months, winning the world title from Samoa Joe at the Dynasty pay-per-view and successfully defending his championship against Claudio Castagnoli on "AEW Collision," Christian Cage at Double or Nothing, and most recently, Roderick Strong on the June 5 episode of "AEW Dynamite."

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