Borne the Battle #200: Air Force Veteran Aerial Johnson, AEW Wrestler

AKA Big Swole


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This 200th episode of Borne the Battle features Air Force Veteran Aerial Johnson, better known by her wrestling name “Big Swole,” Aerial shares her time in the military and how she transitioned into civilian life to eventually became a professional wrestler.

“Big Swole” faced off against Nyla Rose on AEW Dynamite on June 3, 2020, in Jacksonville, Florida. Photo courtesy of All Elite Wrestling.

Johnson joined the Air Force in 2008 to be a fire truck mechanic. She was stationed at the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina. On April 3, 2008, on a day she and her family would come to call her “second birthday,” Johnson was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease after being told she had half an hour to live. She survived a round of emergency surgery and was told that she would never be able to have children or engage in high-impact sports. However, Johnson didn’t let her diagnosis stop her from doing what she wanted to do. When her Crohn’s disease worsened, she had to leave Air Force in 2010 but she didn’t stop to pursue other dreams.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CROHN’S DISEASE

Hull returned to her hometown of Clearwater, Florida, where she started interacting with a local community of professional wrestlers. She became an independent wrestler herself, and after a few years she signed with All Elite Wrestling and has appeared on both AEW Dark and AEW Dynamite.

In this episode, Hull discusses how she overcame the struggles of Crohn’s disease and embraced the lessons she learned in the military to develop the “Swole mentality” of giving everything her all. She is a reminder to people everywhere that with discipline, anything is possible.


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Rob Laucius is a podcast intern with the VA’s Digital Media Engagement Team. He is an undergraduate History student at Hillsdale College.

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VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Sheriah Carter    

    Great story: Borne the Battle #200: Air Force Veteran Aerial Johnson, AEW Wrestler. I truly appreciate hearing and reading her story. She is an inspiration! No matter what mental fortitude and belief in oneself overcomes challenges. I did not know she was a vet. You go girl!

  2. rick baldwin    

    WOW!
    I’ll be looking for you on the mat.

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