Rich Swann, mister All Night Long, is a great story. A story born from heartache and tragedy to be sure but a great story nonetheless. Swann was born in the early 90’s in Baltimore, Maryland. Now, if you’ve seen The Wire, Baltimore is no joke. It’s a wonderful city with some truly amazing spots, but man oh man is it dangerous as all get out. When he was fourteen, his father was murdered. His mother died a few years later. As one would imagine, young Swann took it hard and fell in with the seedier side of Baltimore and began using cocaine. His supplier died of a heart attack and Swann turned to family, his aunt specifically, to help him beat his addiction and finish high school. Being a teenager is tough. Being a teenager in that particular set of circumstances is damn near insurmountable. But that is the story of Rich Swann. Now signed with WWE and wrestling on NXT, Swann has climbed that mountain through hard work, talent, and to be frank, a fuck ton of charisma.
Swann started training with Combat Zone Wrestling, CZW, in Philadelphia in 2009. He made his debut for them that same year and went on to have some really excellent matches for the promotion. He even spent some time in Blackout, one of the most over groups in the history of CZW. His time in CZW was a bit up and down as he was in Japan for long stretches and absent from the monthly shows. He was always over because of what he could do, but he never really hit the high point he could have in CZW. He also spent some time with Dragon’s Gate, Chikara, Jersey All Pro, Maryland Championship, and was a multi-time champ for Full Impact Pro. He is known world wide as well, having wrestled matches in Mexico, Japan, and Europe. It was his time, as with many of the wrestlers covered in this column and also coincidentally signed to WWE, in PWG that really made him stand out to me.
Swann has had a ton of matches in PWG both as a singles competitor and as a part of tag teams; most notably the Inner City Machine Guns with Ricochet. And while he may never have won a title in PWG, his matches there have been outstanding. Swann is one of the most amazing high flyers the business has ever seen. Everything he does in the ring is so damn crisp, so clean. There is impact and grace in every move. He can bump like a dream, sells the match well, has good storytelling, and charisma most only dream of. He may have the best dropkick in the business and is just so damn athletic. He can do things in the ring that used to be possible only in video games. The crowd just adores this guy and when you click the links below, it won’t be hard to see why. So loved is Swann that rapper Wale sent out a tweet after one of his matches talking about Swann and Uhaa Nation, the now Apollo Crews, needing to be in WWE as they were, “the future of the business.” Mark Henry saw the tweet, saw some tape, and got both guys try outs. Both are now signed thanks to the love of the fans and their talent. Swann may never be a champion in WWE, but he should be, especially if the Cruiser-weight belt really is coming back to stay, and he is one of the few guys who doesn’t ever need to be. He will always be over. All night long.
That does it for this week. Check out the links below to see Swann’s top moves and matches. Check him out on NXT and follow him on Twitter, @GottaGetSwann. While you’re at it, follow me on twitter and instagram, @geekadedan on both, to talk wrestling, beer, movies, the Golden Girls, you know, no big whoop. (an coffee talk reference… it must be the beer) Check me out next week for a prediction of WWE’s Roadblock event.