After being with WWE for eight years, Jon Moxley has been freed both literally and figuratively and is now signed with AEW. He reflected on being away from WWE for these past few months when he joined the State of Combat podcast.
"I don't think it could go any better. When I initially decided to leave where I was at before, AEW wasn't even a thing yet so that opportunity came up and it just worked out really good," said Moxley. "I was excited about the project, agreed on all the points that there are fans that need an alternative that deserves a national, global, mainstream alternative and we can give them that. I think we are really succeeding when giving the mainstream audience something different which is the biggest thing that we need to do.
"A lot of other start-up promotions over the years have relied on ex-WWE stars and similar formulas, but the cool thing about this is that the top 6-8 guys – if we wanted to be in WWE right now we could. We are actively choosing to do something different to try something a different way. It's all dudes in their primes at the top of their games and we brought these fans with us. All these fans that are coming to our pay per views and Dynamite every week following our stuff, it's really the fans have driven us more than anything. It hasn't been hard. It's not like we are stapling posters across buildings. These fans are hungry for an alternative. They want this and we are just trying to give them the best possible wrestling show that we can every week."
Moxley made his AEW debut at Double or Nothing which was in his hometown of Las Vegas. His appearance was unannounced but certainly welcomed and he talked about the ovation he received from the AEW crowd.
"That was a very special moment for me because that was a rough last couple of months there. I went radio silent. I didn't say anything about anything even though all of these rumors were coming up everywhere about what I was doing and whether I was going or staying," stated Moxley.
"I put a lot of effort into putting that trailer video that was put out that had rumors going crazier which had the exact effect of what I wanted. Nobody knew where I was going to pop up or when, but people got the point that the payoff and buildup to the video were Double or Nothing. When I showed up, regardless of the rumors that were there, they wouldn't believe it until they saw it. Nobody leaves WWE, especially The Shield guys, they don't leave WWE. Nobody believed it until they saw it, but the video primed it up."
Moxley posted a video promo on May 1 which was one day after his WWE contract ended. The video was on social media and it hyped the return of the Jon Moxley character.
"The second I came out everybody knew who I was, what was happening. They knew I was Jon Moxley. Jon Moxley wasn't a famous name, it was my name, but I had an entire arena chanting my name after the months of being in hiding and the months of getting through WWE. It was a really weird period of time, finally being able to come out and say, 'I'm back b*tches,' and that crowd was great. It wasn't just because the crowd made a bunch of noise, it was deeply satisfying on a personal level just from how challenging the first few months had been," revealed Moxley.
Judging from Moxley's post-WWE interview on Talk is Jericho, many may think he has bad blood with WWE. But he denies that when asked if he has any ill-will towards WWE.
"No, especially now since it's been six months later. I'm not motivated about showing WWE anything. I showed them when I had my great run there. I don't have anything to prove to them. I don't care what they do now," admitted Moxley. "Good luck to them or whatever, but I don't have any of that chip on my shoulders about me showing Vince McMahon, I honestly don't have that. I feel like that would be negative anyway. My energy is about creating new, positive things and putting out good, creative angles and enjoying myself, and enjoying the fact that I don't have to have a real job and to live my dream of being a pro wrestler, which is all I ever wanted to do."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit State of Combat with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.