SWR: Behind the Crew / by Alex Nguyen

In the current era of Smash, it seems like crew battles are put together left and right. Region vs region, character v character, even Team ZeRo v Team Ally at Civil War.

But what truly makes a crew? What happens when you have a group of people who actively choose to create their own family within the Smash Bros community regardless of a tournament agenda?

Today we're sitting down with two members of SWR to discuss the importance and impact that crews has had on them and on Smash Bros in general.

What's up guys? Can you introduce yourselves to our readers real quick?

Gunblade: Hey SPIF. I'm Gunblade. You may have seen me over the years commentating Melee, Brawl, and Smash 4 events. I'm also a long time Marth and Ganon main.

Cable: My name is David but my tag is Cable. Been playing smash all my life but got into the competitive scene in 2008. I'm a long time DK main in Brawl. I main Corrin and DK in smash 4 at the moment.

Cable (left) and Gunblade (right) playing Smash at 2GGC: Nairo Saga. Photo: @2GGLakitu

Cable (left) and Gunblade (right) playing Smash at 2GGC: Nairo Saga. Photo: @2GGLakitu

Cool, glad to have you both here. As you know, today's topic is all about SWR. I know a lot of people don't know about SWR, and I'll have to admit that I only know what little info I could find about it online. Can you guys shed some light on what SWR is and what it stands for?

G: SWR is our old Brawl crew made up of local friends. It stands for Smash World Renegades. It was led by a familiar name to old Brawl heads known as JG Wentworth. The crew was made up of myself, JG, Cable, Scooby Snax (Cable's bro), Mr. Clutch, Vajaj, Ksizzle, Nairo, J2K, and Dwayne (who goes by many tags).

G: Myself and JG put together some very early content on YouTube of the tournament experience called the "Tourney Fixx" which is still up on YouTube. 

For those who haven't seen it, I highly recommend checking out Tourney Fixx here. (This is a MUST watch for anyone who wants to see old footage of some of today's top players!)



That's rad. Alright so when we're talking local, we're talking NJ, right? Can you describe the scene at the time and the motivations behind starting SWR?

G: Yeah local north NJ. We are all very close in distance to each other. The local scene in NJ was extremely strong very early on in Brawl. We as a group of friends got together and practiced a lot. We got close, and SWR developed into one of the strongest crews in Tri-state. 

C: Also, J2K was a member of SWR. I'm pretty sure it was JG, Dwayne, and J2K that were the founding members of SWR. The smash scene in 2008 was explosive as far as I remember. So many tournaments every month. The local scene was also growing rapidly. I remember locals would have about over 50 entrants. Competition was tough at the time.

So SWR must have formed pretty early on after Brawl's release. Was it Brawl that brought the founding members together, or was everyone friends from school or other games?

C: Well with Kelvin and JG it was through Yu-gi-oh. There was this store in our city called Rookies and I would compete there I believe every weekend. I met both of them there. And one day someone brought a Melee set up and we would all play. From there we all continued to talk and build a bond. As for Gunblade, we had mutual friends and I ended up meeting him playing baseball once. From there I lost touch with him, but ended up reconnecting with him through Kelvin because they knew each other. That's when we all clicked. We all had a love for Smash. So when Brawl came out we all just played and trained together. The scene was strong and full of spirit at the time that crews from NJ to NY were being built. Imagine the new era of Smash after Melee - everything was so fresh and cool. That's when SWR was born.

"Imagine the new era of Smash after Melee - everything was so fresh and cool. That's when SWR was born."

Man looking back at how things were then really puts into perspective how pivotal Brawl was for the culture when it was introduced. I definitely remember the hype surrounding its release. So what else can you guys tell me about the crew culture at the time? What other crews were there, and how intense were the rivalries, honestly?

G: Crews was a near weekly side event in NJ. SWR, Enemy Controller, etc used to go at it and we had tons of top players and eventual top players at these events.

C: Well before Enemy Controller... Montage [was] their name. I remember once SWR was throwing a tournament in JG's backyard. That week SWR discussed how they were going to come and how strong that crew was. At the time I believe the crew consisted of M2K, Atomsk, Inui and DmBrandon. SWR would have something called STD (Smash Til Dawn, not the disease) basically we would train for like 12 hours straight. All night long because we wanted to be ready when Montage came to our event. Eventually they came to the event and SWR got destroyed. But we learned from our losses and grew from it. Good times!

G: Yeah we were in awe of M2K, it was crazy how good he was.

C: That tournament M2K was a Dedede main at the time, but he was beginning to experiment with Meta Knight.

Wow! Really didn't know crews was THAT big a thing back then. Cable, I know you posted a tweet about an SWR wall mural some time ago. Where was this SWR HQ and how did this end up being THE spot?

G: That was JG's basement. It was the spot of many smashfests and tournaments. It was a good place for us to play without a time restraint; a lot of time with room for a good amount of set ups. It was a huge place of development early on.

C: Just reflecting on what Gunblade said, it was def a huge place of development. Not only did we get stronger as a crew but we all got closer as friends. A lot happened in that basement. It's basically the hyperbolic time chamber if you will. The mural I posted was just an icing on the cake. It made me feel super legit being in the crew. It was just fun times overall. A lot of great memories.

SWR mural with member names/graphics at HQ

SWR mural with member names/graphics at HQ

Gunblade posing at SWR headquarters

Gunblade posing at SWR headquarters

Alright so moving forward with the history of SWR, what happens next? Everyone's in school at this point, right? Do some of the members start graduating or getting too busy? How were new members picked up?

C: Around early 2012 was when I started [to] slowly stop going to Brawl events because I was working and I was full time in college. I eventually graduated. And from there was working full time. That's about when Smash 4 came out, so I started slowly picking it up. We only had a few new members join. The current members would face the new members in a 1v1 to test their skills. After they battled the whole SWR, we [would] discuss it among ourselves to see if they're worthy of joining. It's like a ritual type of thing lol.

Cable giving a young Nairo advice and encouragement on the rooftop during the final day of APEX

Cable giving a young Nairo advice and encouragement on the rooftop during the final day of APEX

SWR qualifications sound hype! How many days a week would y'all meet up on average during the height of y'all's crew days?

C: I want to say we would meet up almost everyday to be honest. Smash was just running through our veins during that time during our lives and we were all so hungry to get better and compete. We would especially grind Fridays and Saturdays. Those were like mandatory SWR days.

SWR was really a lifestyle at that point it seems like. So what next? What changed in SWR from meeting every single day to it beginning its decline?

G: Basically just us getting older and working. The priority of getting better in smash and making money at work shifted to us working more. I was lucky enough to do both.

That makes sense. So what happened to the founding members of the crew? Was there a "passing of the torch," or did SWR just kind of dissipate after everyone got busier?

G: Everyone got busy basically and moved on to other things. Only myself, Ksizzle, Nairo, and Cable are still involved in Smash.

I guess all good things come to an end sometime. It's a really beautiful thing you guys had going though, and I'm sure it was honestly life-changing for everyone involved. Speaking of, what kind of impact would you say SWR had on your lives? Because obviously it is still very important to you both today.

C: SWR built a strong friendship between all of us. These guys aren't just my crew mates, but they're my best friends and like my brothers. And I think that's the beauty of smash. Yes it's a game, but you build friendships with these people and they go on for years. I think that's the best thing about having smash crews. Everyone trains together and attends tournaments together, but the bond you guys build is special. So I think that's the impact the crew has had on us. We are all there for one another. We don't just hang out to play smash, but we all do other things and talk about life and personal stuff which is cool.

G: These guys are idiots. I wish I was in a different crew. Lol jk. Yeah I feel the same as Cable. SWR has some of my best friends.

Pictured left to right: Gunblade, Nairo, Cable, JG, Ksizzle. APEX 2013     "These guys aren't just my crew mates, but they're my best friends and like my brothers."

Pictured left to right: Gunblade, Nairo, Cable, JG, Ksizzle. APEX 2013

"These guys aren't just my crew mates, but they're my best friends and like my brothers."

Those are beautiful answers and it honestly makes me wish smash crews - REAL smash crews - was still a thing today. Before we go, do you guys have any crazy stories you can tell us involving any members of the crew? I know you guys must have done some wild stuff.

C: So many crazy stories and fun moments between all of us which I'm trying to think of. Gunblade has to help me out on this one. I think it was Apex 2013 where all of SWR was in the hotel room ready to go to bed. I was sharing the bed with Gunblade. So when the lights went out I would hear like these snake noises and I would get scared because it was Kelvin or even Nairo grabbing my foot trying to scare me - freaking fools. I started yelling and I couldn't sleep!

G: Hmmm I don't know. Been so long. I think a story of legend is the Apex Tourney Fixx. We never released it. JG never released it and it was in very high demand. If I remember it was ready to go but JG decided to end the series there and he eventually started moving away from smash with work and stuff. To this day if I mention the Apex Tourney Fixx, it gets a reaction out of old brawl heads and they wonder when it will be released after all these years!!!

"I think a story of legend is the Apex Tourney Fixx. We never released it."


It's insane how much smash has changed since then, but the spirit is still the same. Thank you guys so much for giving us a little insight into the history and culture behind SWR in the heyday of the crew era. Would you guys like to give any shout outs?

C: Shout outs to my SWR crew which I love them all. Shout outs to Marvel and Spider-Man for being my motivation. Also, to everyone in the smash community for making this game amazing and the sponsors for believing in us. It's beautiful to see how much the scene has grown since I started playing. And of course, much love to Spif for the shirts, support and this interview. It was a pleasure.

G: Shout outs to all those who support me and the old Tri-state Brawl players that help mold me into the person I am today, especially when it comes to helping new players in Smash.