AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton
AEW president Tony Khan lashed out at former AEW star Big Swole on Friday after Swole expressed her belief that the company lacks diversity.
After Swole shared her opinion of AEW during a call-in edition of Swole World, Khan responded with the following tweet in which he defended the company’s diversity and took a shot at Swole’s in-ring acumen:
Tony Khan @TonyKhan
The top 2 @AEW execs are brown (me & Megha)!! Jade, Bowens, Caster, Dante, Nyla, Isiah & Marq Quen all won on tv this month. The TBS Title Tournament has been very diverse. I let Swole’s contract expire as I felt her wrestling wasn’t good enough. #AEWRampage Street Fight TONIGHT! https://t.co/NprF6I7D6G
Swole announced in November that she and Khan had come to an agreement that they would allow her AEW contract to expire:
Swole One 💪🏾 @SwoleWorld
The 32-year-old star had been with AEW since 2019, but after initially being a big part of the women’s division, she was relegated primarily to the AEW Dark YouTube show.
During her call-in show this week (h/t Fightful’s Jeremy Lambert), Swole provided some insight into why she didn’t pursue a new contract with AEW.
Among the issues she brought up were a lack of representation among Black wrestlers, a lack of emphasis on women’s wrestling and a lack of structure within the company.
Swole, who is Black, said the following about the perceived diversity problem in AEW:
“Outside of [lack of structure] their biggest issue, which is diversity. I do not beat around the bush when it comes to diversity and my people. There is no representation, truly, and when there is, it does not come across in the Black community as genuine. At all. I don’t know why everybody is so afraid to accept it or say it, but it’s not a good look. What happens is, you have this wonderful company that treats people like family, but there is nobody that looks like me that is represented at the top and in the room with them. They are not helping to necessarily influence decisions, but to explain why certain slang and certain word shouldn’t be said. There is no one else who can explain our culture and experience except for us.”
Swole also explained that her daughter with husband and WWE Superstar Cedric Alexander stopped watching AEW because of the finite amount of Black wrestlers in significant roles. Instead, Swole said her daughter favors WWE because it features the likes of Bianca Belair and Big E.
Additionally, Swole said “having two- or three-minute matches on Dark doesn’t keep me happy,” and she lamented the fact that AEW has brought in so much new talent over the past year without figuring out a way to utilize all of the existing talent.
Swole noted that her “heart just stopped being in it” and divulged that she told Khan her “peace was being disrupted” before the decision was made to part ways.
AEW is still a fairly new company, as January will mark three years since it officially launched, but to Swole’s point, no Black wrestler has held a singles championship thus far.
There is also no question that there is a greater emphasis on the men’s division, with the women’s division limited to one or two segments on most episodes of Dynamite and Rampage.
AEW has made some strides in the latter regard thanks to the TBS Championship tournament being held on Dynamite and Rampage in recent weeks, but Swole is clearly of the belief that more needs to be done.
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