Along with the current reigning and defending AEW World Champion Chris Jericho, Moxley spoke to Still Real To Us at New York Comic Con last Friday. The former Dean Ambrose didn’t hold back his intense thoughts and feelings, as Moxley was a completely open book when it came to discussing his experience with All Elite Wrestling since signing with the company.
When Mox made his shocking debut at AEW’s Double Or Nothing pay-per-view in Las Vegas on May 25, it ultimately sent shockwaves throughout the industry. The message was loud and clear: Moxley was going to do what he wanted, whenever he wanted. That included beating the holy hell out of AEW’s resident “Bad Boy,” Joey Janela.
“I think since I’ve left WWE–I don’t think I’ve been told ‘no’ once,” Moxley tells Still Real To Us in an exclusive interview. “Usually, they say, ‘Do whatever you want to do.’ For instance, with Joey Janela at Fyter Fest. At first, I was like, ‘Okay, cool. We’ll do some nutty stuff.’ I thought we would be somewhere in the middle of the card. Then I realized, we were going to be in the main event.”
Jon Moxley’s War With Joey Janela and WWE’s Creative Team
With all eyes on Moxley, the 33-year-old loose cannon knew he had to deliver a violent battle that would get the wrestling world buzzing about not only AEW, but the future landscape of professional wrestling. There wasn’t any other option available, as AEW’s momentum with enthusiastic fans seeking an alternative product was building to a fever pitch. Moxley approached the match as a man on a mission. He quickly realized that Fyter Fest would be a monumental moment in his already legendary career.
“Once I started learning more about Joey Janela, and what he means to the death match scene; I realized that this was a dream match. Now we’re in the main event. I realized the expectations are so high,” Moxley boldly reveals. “I told [management], ‘You realize, just by putting my name with Joey’s together, you’ve created an expectation for insanity. Anything less than balls-out would be a disappointment, and I’m not going to be in the business of disappointing fans anymore.'”
Moxley didn’t back down from his comment to Still Real To Us. In fact, he took a deeper dive into what he had to put up with during his time under his former employer.
“I had to do that for years, when I had to do these stupid scripts. I’d have to say stuff like, ‘I’m going to eviscerate your skull at Hell In A Cell!’ It’s like, no…I’m not. I know I’m not. I know that there’s not going to be any blood,” sighs Moxley. “I’m lying. I’m lying to the fans. I’m selling this violence that’s just not going to happen.”
Much like the Wizard of Oz, Jon Moxley sees color now. Especially the color red. It excites him that he gets to be as sick and twisted as he wants to be. Mox finally feels like he’s able to be himself. Unfortunately for Janela, he was the first victim of Moxley’s untapped wrath.
“The expectations were so high. I wanted to take it to the level where [the fans] go ‘Oh my God!’ and have to look away…and then like, one step further,” Mox stares. “That’s exactly what we did.”
Jon Moxley Has Creative Freedom In AEW
The fight between Moxley and Janela was an instant classic. They put their bodies on the line to deliver a spectacle that fans wouldn’t be able to find in other promotions. There was a reason for that: Moxley finally had the creative freedom that he was desperately seeking.
“I was told, ‘Do whatever you want to do.’ I said, ‘We need thumbtacks, and barbed wire. That’s all. PG-13. Not the death match.’ And [Tony Khan] was like, ‘Cool. Sure,'” Moxley recalls to Still Real To Us. “But, if I would have been like, ‘I also want a flaming brick, and I want a monster truck that shoots missiles.’ Basically…anything that I would have asked for–save for a chainsaw–they would have probably given it to me.”
Don’t expect to see chainsaws in the immediate future for Mox. AEW’s unhinged wrestler wants to have a long and prosperous career ahead of him.
“That’s just one, little example. I don’t want to do that every night, believe me. I do not want to do that every night. That was a special occasion,” Mox slightly grins. “Every conversation I’ve had, I go, ‘This is how I see it.’ They are like, ‘Cool. If that’s how you see it, and that’s how you want your character to be.'”
Plans for his character had to come to a screeching stop when Moxley wasn’t cleared to compete against Kenny Omega at All Out. Omega laid into Moxley, letting him know how disappointed he was that the match for August 31 was off. Mox recalls his mindset at the time.
“When I didn’t make it to the fight in Chicago; where I come from, if you don’t show up to the fight, you forfeit the ability to talk sh*t. Alright, so I gotta sit back and let everybody run their mouths. Call me damaged goods. Say whatever you want about me not being at All Out,” chillingly nods Moxley. “Okay..that is until I see you again. I’m going to slap you in your f*cking mouth, and then I’m going to drill your head into a table. I’m going to leave you laying, and I’m going to put you in a hospital. Then, maybe I’ll talk a little crap about you now, and you’ll see how it feels.”
Jon had no problem talking behind-the-scenes at NYCC. It was a different story when it came to the first episode of AEW Dynamite on TNT.
“There was no need for words from me [on Dynamite]. It was a night of action. That’s how I saw it, and that’s how they saw it, too. It’s almost like we’re all on the same page,” Moxley explains to Still Real To Us.
Jon Moxley On Taking Control Of His Career
AEW is the place to be, according to Mox. Mentally, he tells Still Real To Us that he’s never felt better.
“I haven’t had to shoot down any bad ideas from anybody, which is great,” nods Moxley. “‘Cause, you know. I used to go to TV, and it’s like starting in a hole. I’d think, ‘How bad is it? Oh God, maybe if we could make this crap passable, it would be a victory.'”
Along with a new wave of talent who want to prove their worth, Moxley is catching the attention of disenfranchised fans who want to love pro wrestling again. That isn’t lost on Mox.
“Everything so far is great. It’s almost too good to be true. But, it’s so simple. We’ve got, no pun intended, some of the most elite wrestlers in the world. All guys who are veterans, in their primes with huge fanbases,” says Moxley. “They understand their fanbases. We know whats good, and whats not.”
Having gone through countless scripts he wasn’t happy with in another company, Moxley is aware of who he is as not only a wrestler on television, but as a person. He thinks he isn’t alone when it comes to that sentiment.
“We don’t need writers or producers, or anything like that. We know what we are doing. You’ve got myself, Jericho, Kenny, Cody, The Bucks, PAC, and Spears. We’re all at the top,” Jon Moxley reveals. “If we wanted to be in WWE right now–we could, and make huge money. Any one of us. We’re all actively choosing to do this, instead.”
Picking the road less traveled, Moxley is starting a revolution with a band of courageous brothers who want to change the industry for the better. He welcomes former fans for what’s sure to be a wild ride ahead when it comes to AEW’s growth.
“We agree with all of these lapsed fans. I was kind of a lapsed fan, myself. I didn’t even like wrestling anymore, and I was doing it,” confirms Moxley. “We’re stepping out on our own, to give you what you want. Hopefully, we know.”
Taking control of his destiny, Moxley has a strong hunch that wresting fans will be in for a treat if they continue to watch AEW.
“It’s like the wrestlers are taking control. Luckily, it’s a bunch of god damn good wrestlers. I think it’s the right guys in control. Ultimately, the fans will let us know if we are doing our jobs right.”
Jon Moxley is currently set to take on Shawn Spears during AEW Dynamite on TNT tonight at 8 PM EST. He’s also scheduled to clash with Kenny Omega in a highly anticipated match-up at AEW Full Gear on November 9, which will air live on pay-per-view.