Rich Swann is riding a wave right now. On March 13, the high-flying pro wrestler defeated Moose to become the undisputed Impact world wrestling champion. And while that was no mean feat, he is now set to take on the most important match of his career because, in a historic pro wrestling precedent, the Impact world champion will face the AEW champion, Kenny Omega, in a title for title, interpromotional match at the Rebellion pay-per-view on April 24. While Swann has held titles in multiple promotions, boasting an impressive resume that includes the WWE Cruiserweight championship and the RCW Cruiserweight, it is accepted that titles are normally only contested within the confines of the promotion that they belong to. So, an Impact vs. AEW championship match throws away such tradition, and poses some exciting possibilities.
Could Omega take the Impact Wrestling gold over to AEW? Could Swann take Omega’s coveted AEW strap and wear it at future Impact Wrestling events? Swann shares his thoughts on a range of topics, including his attitudes toward health and fitness, how he got started with sports entertainment, and whether or not he is ready for a match that the entire pro wrestling world will be watching.
When did you first discover that you had an aptitude for the high-flying style of pro wrestling?
It came at a very young age. When I was young my brother introduced me to professional wrestling, and seeing guys like Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Juventud Guerrera in the WCW cruiserweight division, it made me feel like I was watching real life ninjas. They were like real life superheroes, like Power Rangers, doing all these crazy things. So, at 5 years old, I was doing backflips off the couch [laughs]. I never took gymnastics. It was difficult to get into sports whilst I was in high school, because by that time, I was already wrestling. In Pennsylvania, they have a state athletic commission, and if you are a part of any paid sport, you cannot participate in any type of athletics within the school board. I was self-taught, and I’ve always loved the dare devil aspect of high-flying.
You are one of those pro wrestler’s who is just as exciting during your entrance, dancing and interacting with everyone, as you are when you get inside the ring. How important is it for wrestlers to present the full entertainment package?
You know, the one thing that I was always told is that the very first thing the audience is going to see of you, is your ring entrance. That’s the very first impression, so when I come out, I want to let people know that they are in for one hell of a show. You’re about to see something that you may not have ever witnessed before. I try to set the bar from the moment I walk out that curtain. It’s helped me, and it’s worked for my career.
What kinds of food to you like to eat?
Right now, I eat pretty clean, and then I’ll have a cheat day along with my wife (pro wrestler, Su Yung). But normally, I stick with tuna or tilapia, and chicken breast, I stay away from fried foods until the cheat day. Coming into the Rebellion pay-per-view, I’m just trying to eat as clean as possible.
Pro wrestlers typically have a low-carb diet, but is that challenging when you are injured or tired, and need the extra energy. Is it tempting to go over some of your macro targets?
Yes, indeed. If you are on a low carb diet and then you have to wrestle, you gotta find that that energy. You’ve just got to be careful (not to overdo it) and be dedicated. The one person who really showed me that kind of dedication was (fellow pro wrestler) Adrian ‘Pac’ Neville. When we were in Japan, he instilled in me the dedication to trust in the process.
It is well known that the life of a pro wrestler is very hectic but since the start of the pandemic, have you found that the lack of running around with constant travel means you need to burn more calories in other ways?
Yes, I’ve been doing a lot of swimming back home in Florida. With the time off, I’ve also found that the swimming helps in terms of healing my body. It’s great cardio, so that’s something that I have been doing more of these days.
How is your training going in the run-up to the huge match at Impact Rebellion?
I definitely like resistance training. When I was a lot younger, I used to try and lift as heavy as possible, but now, having had injuries over the years, surgeries and things like that, it changed up my workout routine and my style, so I do a lot of light lifting, and things that are good for the joints. I do a lot of stretching and a lot of yoga. I’m just trying to keep the body right.
Your match against Kenny Omega is rightly big news. How important is it to you?
It’s very important, and its not only important for my career, but I feel like its important for the wrestling industry as a whole. The match that everybody is going to witness at Rebellion on April 24 just never happens, this situation just never happens. You have two world champions, from two different companies, that appear on two different television networks … you just don’t see it.
For me, if I get the opportunity to beat Kenny Omega, it will solidify me, you know what I mean? It would put me right up there with a lot of the greats.
You have worked very hard to get to this position in your career. Do you believe that hard work pays off?
Yes. I’d say that to anybody. The more you keep your nose to the grindstone and bust your butt for what you believe in, it will pay off, and I believe that I am living proof of that.
Follow Impact Wrestling in the USA on AXS TV. Pro wrestling fans in the UK can also watch episodes for free on the Impact Plus app. The world can watch Rich Swann vs. Kenny Omega at the Rebellion pay-per-view on FITE.