If you remember the title of Sacrifice review, the “Rhapsody in Swann” is far from over. “Free-flowing in structure, featuring a range of highly contrasted moods, colour, and tonality,” the man Rich Swann is like the piece of music, as diverse as he is unique. And this Sunday, at Rebellion, he will have to overcome all odds again. Because the stakes of this Title vs. Title Match between Kenny Omega and Rich Swann go beyond the companies themselves.
Harley Race said, “Being World’s champion is what I set out in life to do. I’m one of the few people on earth that can say they completed, in every aspect, what they wanted to do with their life.” And when it comes to being THE Champion of TWO companies, it’s becoming stellar. This Sunday, one stellar athlete will breathe rarified air that so few before them will have been able to experience and become the Champion of two national-televised, if not worldwide, wrestling companies.
SteelChair Wrestling Magazine had the chance to talk to IMPACT World Champion Rich Swann on Monday about this match, this opponent, these stakes, that faith Impact Wrestling have put on his shoulders… Well, to a man who decided to defend the Impact belt whatever happens, but also the AEW one if he has to.
How is your state of mind right now knowing that you have a huge match coming up on Sunday?
“Sunday is the big pay-per-view day, it made it feel even bigger, and my mindset going into this is just it’s one of the biggest matches not only of my career but for the industry as a whole because you just never see two World Champions step into one ring from two different companies. The thing about this is there’s gonna be no shenanigans, there will be a winner, and there will be a World champion. It just goes back to like the days of the NWA and the WWWF and stuff like that. You have never seen those guys battle each other, wrestle for the top prize in their industry, and we’re gonna do that.”
It’s incredible to think that, on Sunday night, one and only man will hold the World titles of two different companies.
“It will be amazing, one man will hold the belt at two different companies, and that just means that one man will have so many challenges, so many obstacles, so many roads to go down, so many paths to choose. Somebody that has been able to prove that he’s been able to battle obstacles, battle so many roads and paths to go down is me and, this Sunday, it will be no different.”
You are not an AEW guy, Kenny Omega is not an Impact guy, do you feel like “legit” but to go to AEW to defend their title?
“To go over to AEW as the World Champion, I’d go over with my head held high and, with my head held high with respect, I would just be happy to have the opportunity to, as I said, go down another path and have the opportunity to wrestle some great wrestlers over there at All Elite Wrestling like Brian Cage, Luchasaurus, Marko Stunt, or Jungle Boy, I could list names all over, Darby Allin, Jon Moxley. I’d have that opportunity at my feet if I became World Champion if I beat Kenny Omega because I’m not a man who likes to call my shot. I’m going in there with all the fight that I have to come out and have that opportunity.”
Do you feel like if Kenny wins, he would not come to Impact and defend the title the same way you would do in AEW?
“That’s a huge fear of mine. Anytime somebody’s asked or earned the opportunity to face me at Impact for the World Championship, I’ve been right there, I’ve said, come on, let’s go. My defences speak for themselves, and I’ve had worthy challengers and opponents. What I fear is that Kenny Omega, if he beats me at Rebellion, is that he’s going to take that championship, a Championship that not only myself but the roster looks at that title with so much respect and they hold it to the utmost, he’s going to take that Championship to AEW and let it be a trophy, let it be something that’s not a championship, something that’s just another notch on Kenny Omega’s belt. He won’t care if he defends it against him or they or she, he doesn’t care who would it be, no matter what they’ve done or if they’ve earned it or not, especially with the Impact Wrestling EVP Don Callis at his side. He’s gonna have that in his back pocket to make sure that he doesn’t have to defend that title, and it’s going to be an inner battle between Scott (D’Amore) and Don. I just see it if they win, it’s gonna be all hell broke loose in Impact Wrestling.”
You had a fantastic Unification title Match against Moose at “Sacrifice” and ever since we haven’t seen him back in the Impact Zone. Do you fear what he could possibly do?
“One thing I can say about Moose is, back to Kenny Omega, if he wins, Moose may not be in line for a World title shot for a long time. I know deep down that, even though I and Moose have our problems and our differences, I know that if the Good Brothers or The Young Bucks or Don Callis were to try to interject themselves inside of this match, or god forbid, if referee Aubrey Edwards decides to follow some kind of crooked orders, I know Moose doesn’t want to see that championship change and go to a different company. So I know, just like at Hard To Kill, when the cards were down, Moose is there to pick him, and Moose will have my back when it comes to that.”
The stakes of the match have been growing week after week. Mauro Ranallo is going to do the commentary, AEW referee Aubrey Edwards will be there. How are you able to stay away from that pressure?
“It’s a lot of pressure on me and on my back because being the Impact World Champion, I’ve got the company on my back. If I lose the World Championship in my home promotion against an outside guy coming from AEW, it’s going to be something that the roster’s never going to look at me the same, they’re never going to ever forgive me for that. Somebody like Eddie Edwards, Willie Mack, or Eric Young, I don’t want to be the one to look them in the face and say, hey, you’re gonna have to try to figure out a way to get at AEW or talk to those officials to get a shot because the title is no longer in our hands. I have so much pressure on me, but at the end of the day, pressure for me creates positive results. When I mean positive results, if you look at it, I had to face the seven months of being told you’re not gonna walk the same again, when I broke my fibula, my tibia, my back, my ankle, my foot. They said you’ll never walk the same again, you may not ever wrestle. I turned that around, I came back in the ring seven months after and became the World Heavyweight Champion for Impact. I beat Moose when everybody doubted me, and now everybody has their doubts, even people that I’ve known for years and that I’ve been in that ring with, they have their doubts, but just like every time people have their doubts about Rich Swann, I’m going to soar them above.”
You are talking about Impact Wrestling being your home. Whatever happens, mostly if you win, will it always be your home?
“I feel like Impact Wrestling since 2018, and it opened up its doors to Rich Swann, I was able to show the world, they gave me the opportunity to show the world who I can be in that ring when nobody else would. They gave me the opportunity to show what Rich Swann can do for the industry. And now look at it, I’m in the position to wrestle one of the biggest matches, not only for impact wrestling, not only for AEW but for wrestling in general. To have that be bestowed upon me is like, man, this will always be my home, this is why this was the perfect fit. This is why this was my choice to come here because I was able to show what type of entertainer, what type of performer, what type of professional wrestler I could really be at the highest level.”
All things set apart, was wrestling Kenny Omega one of your dream matches?
“It definitely always has been something that I’ve always wanted to do. I’m not saying that I always want, it’s been my biggest dream, and my biggest destiny to wrestle Kenny Omega, but definitely, to have a high profile match like this, it’s always been my dream to be in that limelight and have that opportunity to make a difference in professional wrestling with my talents. At 18 or 20 years old, when I was going to Japan for Dragon Gate Pro Wrestling, at the time, they would do joint shows with DDT Pro. It’s no secret that Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi made their name here. When they would do those joint shows, I would come across and cross paths with Kenny Omega. I was very young, and just to see him, that was just amazing, and to see how he just blossomed from where I crossed paths with him before. When I was a young 18-year-old boy in Ring of Honor, when he would come, he would just set the ECW arena on fire, and I always would say, man, I want to make history with this guy one day. Fast forward, 15 years later, I’m in the main event, April 25th, Rebellion, with this man, with stakes as high as they could possibly be, two World Championships, one winner.”
Who is your dream opponent?
“It’s definitely a toss-up between three people, and it would have to be Amazing Red, Rey Mysterio, and AJ Styles. Those are my three dream opponents.”
The card of “Rebellion” is pretty stacked. What matches are you looking forward to seeing?
“I’m definitely very excited to see FinJuice defend the Impact Championships against the Good Brothers. I know it’s been digging and eating at the Good Brothers so bad that they’re not the tag team champions that they can’t walk around “too sweet” and talking about how they got the straps, daddy. I know it’s eating a hole away at them, and I think it’s great, with the forbidden door, how New Japan has entered in this relationship with AEW and Impact Wrestling, we’re busting down the walls of professional wrestling. The match I have my eye really close on just because I have a history with this man is Sami Callihan and Trey Miguel, and the reason is I know how sick and twisted and maniacal Sami Callihan can be. I know he will do anything to have Trey not be able to stand up on two feet, but the thing about Trey is, I see a lot of myself in him, I see a lot of that passion, I see a lot of that fire, I see a lot of that fight that youngs have these days like I used to. My man Trey Miguel, he has that fire to overcome whatever sick maniacal plan Sami Callihan wants to try to come up with.”
Follow Rich Swann on Twitter @GottaGetSwann.
Rebellion will air live on Fite TV and on PPV this Sunday night at 8 PM EST (1 AM GMT). IMPACT Wrestling is airing on Tuesday at 8/7c on AXS TV in the USA and Twitch worldwide.
In the UK and Ireland, IMPACT is available to fans for free within hours of the American broadcast on IMPACT Plus, with an encore presentation on 5Star late night on Fridays. PPVs can be watched through the FITE app, website or a Virgin Media box.
All pics, screencaps and videos courtesy of Impact Wrestling, AXS TV, Basil Mahmud, and Fight Network.