Though Jon Moxley has been Jon Moxley-ing it up for over four years now, taking part in matches for AEW, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and indie promotions across the country, to a segment of the professional wrestling world, he will forever be known as Dean Ambrose, the third member of The Shield and only member of the WWE Hall of Fame-bound faction who opted to leave the promotion to test his more hardcore side on the open market.
But why, you may ask, did Moxley leave WWE in the first place? Well, to wrestle performers like Kenny Omega, who was widely considered one of the top talents, if not the top overall wrestler in the world when he signed on to become one of the EVPs at AEW. So naturally, with a cage match coming up with “The Best Bout Machine” on the books for Dynamite, Moxley sat down with an interview with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated and detailed the excitement surrounding his early days in AEW after a decade spent in WWE.
“That was surreal,” says Moxley. “We started fighting through the crowd, and I heard the crowd cheering ‘AEW! AEW!’ That gave me a feeling this was going to work. Before then, it was just an idea.
“At the time, Kenny was known as the best wrestler in the world. I was coming off f—ing off [from] WWE, so I was in the news, and people wanted to see what I was going to do. I was a hot name, he was a hot name and we’d never entered each other’s universes before. On the first show, we got all these incendiary ingredients lined up: Jericho, a TV deal, the Young Bucks. And then the real explosive fuel was me and Kenny at Double or Nothing. That’s where the match got lit and we set it ablaze. It was the spark that ignited the whole blaze that is AEW, and four years later, it’s coming back around again. It feels really good, it feels like where we should be.”
Moxley then turned his attention to The Elite, the faction that helped to form AEW and is now feuding with Mox's faction, Blackpool Combat Club. Though some fans may not like the way Omega and the Jacksons, Nick and Matt, operate, Moxley is not only a big fan but feels that “The Cleaner” helped to legitimize his early run in the company.
“I have an immense amount of respect for Kenny and the Young Bucks,” says Moxley. “We’re blades looking for iron to sharpen ourselves. That’s true. I want to challenge myself against the three of them.
“Four years ago, a lot of people were ready to write me off. A lot of people thought I couldn’t even measure up to Kenny. He was coming off that New Japan run and he was the greatest wrestler of all time. I felt an immense amount of motivation. I felt like, ‘I’m going to show all you motherf—ers I belong on the top.’ So Kenny has been pushing me since day one in AEW. And now I’m far better than I was then in 2019, especially now that I’m not scared of dying of a seizure in the ring. And substance abuse issues are never really over, but it’s in the rearview. Mentally, physically, this is the best I’ve felt in a long time.”
Will Moxley come out on top in his first match against Omega since the Barbed Wire Death Match at Revolution 2021? Only time will tell, but after spending years in a swat team-inspired boy band in The Fed, battling a top-tier talent in a bloody cage match has to be a surreal feeling.
Jon Moxley details the deep roots of the Blackpool Combat Club.
Elsewhere in his interview with Barrasso, Jon Moxley was asked about the Blackpool Combat Club, and how they're preparing for their feud with The Elite. Though they weren't linked up in WWE, Moxley still became good friends with the duo, especially Claudio Castagnoli, who he wrestled all the time alongside Seth Rollins.
“The BCC is real,” says Moxley. “It’s only been around for a year, but those guys have been my partners for like 10 years. I don’t have many close friends in the business. Danielson and Claudio, those two are on that list. They’re best friends, training partners, and I’ve spent so much time in the ring with them. The only difference was, back then, it was the opposite side of the ring. Me and Seth [Rollins] vs. Sheamus and Cesaro [now known by his real name, Castagnoli], we’d wrestle so much and tear the house down. I get off on s— like that. I think there was a match where Claudio busted his teeth out, and, for some reason, we felt slighted in some way because it wasn’t getting the attention it deserved. So we said, ‘F— it, we’re just going to steal the show every night.’ I was in The Shield at that time, but you need guys on both sides to push each other.”
And last but not least, just for fun, Moxley decided to throw a log into the fire, suggesting that the BCC's feud with The Elite is the apex of professional wrestling, over every storyline, including one featuring a certain “Tribal Chief.”
“The BCC vs. The Elite, this rivalry is the absolute apex of professional wrestling right now. We’re going to have a great crowd and we have the steel cage. It’s got all the ingredients for a really memorable night.”
Dang, you really have to give it to Mox, he certainly likes to stir the pot.