Impact Wrestling Champ Rich Swann Talks ‘Hard to Kill’ & Potential Dream Matches with AEW
If there’s anyone who fully encapsulates the Impact Wrestling pay-per-view name Hard to Kill, it’s Rich Swann, who fights in the PPV main event matchup on January 16. His father was stabbed to death by a girlfriend when Swann was 12. He lost his mom to lupus at age 16. A childhood filled with constant tragedy saw him turn to drugs and a bad crowd.
Pro wrestling helped Swann change course, channeling his energy into a more positive place. The veteran performer’s journey led him to Bound for Glory in October, where he became the Impact Wrestling world champion. Despite all the success, he never loses sight of his past tribulations.
Swann will proudly represent the company, teaming alongside Moose and Chris Sabin, against All Elite Wrestling champion Kenny Omega and the Impact tag champs the Good Brothers (Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows). Ahead of the matchup, Swann talks about what Impact’s inter-promotional dealings with AEW could mean for the future.
What’s it like to have your inspirational story out there while heading into winning the Impact championship?
Rich Swann: People that have gone through adversity, hurdles in their life, have come to me saying I’m an inspiration to them. It’s so heartwarming. It’s something I cherish because being a young kid from Baltimore, Maryland I never thought I would have amounted to something that is as attainable as that.
How did signing with impact Wrestling rejuvenate your love for the business?
Eddie Edwards, Sami Callihan, Moose, my wife [Su Yung], Jordynne Grace, Jessicka Havok, I’ve grown up with these people in the business. [EVPs] Scott D’Amore and Don Callis were very welcoming for me to come into Impact Wrestling. I wanted to put my whole heart into it because they put their whole heart into me. Pro wrestling doesn’t owe anyone anything, but if you treat professional wrestling right it will always be there for you.
You mention your wife. She has been so successful with her many personas. Do you often exchange ideas?
We always share ideas of what we can do to make ourselves better. One thing we do is use wrestling video games to help us create personas or come up with ideas that can help us along the road. Sometimes when you’re in your own head, you don’t know if something is a good idea or not. But when you have someone who shares that same interest you might have a money maker.
Your social media presence isn’t as prevalent as your peers. Is that by design?
Social media can be a negative place, but it can be a positive one as well. I would never deter somebody from going on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, especially someone who is up-and-coming. At the same time, I don’t use social media because I like human interaction more. It’s nothing against social media. It hasn’t changed my wrestling career or trajectory in any way, shape or form. Until it’s something I need to do, I’ll stay away from it.
We’ve seen the AEW world champion Kenny Omega, owner Tony Khan and Tony Schiavone onImpact. EVP Don Callis on AEWDynamite.Omega is even going to be part of theHard to Killshow. What are your thoughts on this?
It’s great for pro wrestling. I think people are definitely turning their heads and looking at Impact Wrestling. They are looking at Ring of Honor, NWA, looking at AEW. They want to see what is out there and what is next. I love the competition. I love when we all get together and show what we can do. We are seeing collaboration and doing things that are life-changing for the business. It’s history. To be part of it, I’m so happy. I’m just trying to prove why I’m in this position.
Where do you want to see this working relationship go?
I would love to see things like Joey Janela and Kip Sabian and the Pepper Parks (The Blade) come to Impact Wrestling and potentially challenge for my championship or the X Division. I’d like to see guys like The North or Reno Scum get an opportunity in AEW and another place to expose their talents. A guy like Rohit Raju, who is one of the greatest talkers in our profession today. I’d love to see him and MJF talk crap to each other back and forth from AXS TV to TNT. There are so many possibilities. Then of course what everyone would be talking about is the world champion versus the self-proclaimed real world’s champion Kenny Omega and myself. I’d love to be in the ring with Kenny Omega. We’ll see. Time will tell.
We’re going to see you get in the ring with Omega atHard to Kill. What can you preview?
It’s going to be awesome to show the world what we can do when we put our scientific wrestling together. Here you have two of the greatest tag team guys on one side and the other with Karl Anderson and Gallows the Impact tag team champions. Then you have “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega. One of the most talked about professional wrestlers in the game. To be in a match where we are going to have to show what’s up. This is what I live for.
What do you want to see from the company in the long-term?
Being a big gamer fan myself, I would love to see Impact Wrestling come out with an Impact Wrestling video game. I think that would be an awesome step. I think there is a fanbase for it. Also, I’d like to see another show. It wouldn’t have to be long. I just feel like there is so much talent that we have that can be highlighted more. We can probably see a second show. I think that would be awesome.
Impact Wrestling, Tuesdays, 8/7c, AXS TV
Hard to Kill, January 16, 8/7c, Pay-Per-View