This Saturday, Rich Swann has arguably the biggest match of his life when he challenges Eric Young for the Impact World Championship at Bound for Glory. While the title opportunity has been great, Swann has appreciated the chance to be himself. Speaking with SportingNews.com, Swann says he takes pride in the fact that he was always true to himself.
“I never bulls–tted anybody,” Swann said. “I was always myself and was respectful to anybody I was around in this business. With me and Ricochet, people just saw us for who we were and our talent. We didn’t have to kiss any a– or dance because somebody told us to. We were just being ourselves. I took pride in that and that’s been my whole career where I refuse to be something that I am not.”
Swann is enjoying quite the successful run in Impact Wrestling, but before making Impact his home, Swann was a mainstay of WWE’s first inauguration of their rebooted Cruiserweight Division. Swann enjoyed a run as WWE Cruiserweight Champion, but was released just about a year after losing that title. Despite it being a brief tenure, Swann says looks back on his WWE experience fondly.
“You can think one thing about what your dream could be and it could end up being a disaster or a masterpiece,” Swann said. “In my case, I never really thought about what it would be like in the WWE. I never thought I could make it to the WWE — especially being a Black man who is 5-foot-6 and 160 pounds. Once it became a reality, you can’t really imagine what it would be like. When I was there, I had no problems with anybody and nobody ever told me to do anything I didn’t want to do. I’m just being real. No wacky promos or anything. It was good. It was a job that I didn’t feel was a job. I feel like that at Impact as well.”
In December 2017, WWE indefinitely suspended Swann following his arrest for kidnapping and false imprisonment of wife Su Yung. Three months later, WWE announced they had come to a mutual agreement with Swann to release him. A clip of the incident made its way across social media, which Swann says was not an accurate reflection of what happened.
“People saw a clip online and turned me into a monster,” Swann said. “I’m not saying I was right in my actions but I’m not a domestic abuser. Everyone gets into arguments and this was something that was misconstrued. People ran with the worst possible outcome. You can have your opinion but if you know me, my wife and our marriage, there’s nothing to worry yourself about. It was a dark time in my life. We live, learn, make mistakes and grow from them. My wife and I have grown exponentially from that incident and there’s nothing anybody can say and no social media could ever destroy what we have built.”
Yung also wrestles for Impact Wrestling. On Impact Wrestling, Yung portrays a dark character that dons bloody face-paint and is accompanied by undead bridesmaids. Swann recognized the possibility of the incident being an example of racial profiling, but he says it was more of a wrong place, wrong time situation.
“You know, I never like to bring race into it because it’s a very strong subject in this country, especially with athletes,” Swann said. “With this situation, I’m not going to say it was different from most racial profiling incidents because we were in a very, very Southern area of Florida which was certainly Confederate-like. And then there is what my wife was wearing at the time, which was her bloody makeup and gear. It occurred to me that we were clearly in the wrong part of town.”
Regardless of the unfortunate circumstances, Swann says he takes full responsibility for what happened.
“There are so many scandals in professional wrestling,” Swann said. “People have lost their job in this business. I can’t say that I was screwed [by the WWE]. I have to take responsibility for my own negligence, being where I was and what happened that night. I can’t put that on anybody else. My life is great now and I can’t be mad at anybody.”