On the newest episode of the AEW Unrestricted podcast superstar Jon Moxley discusses his thought process shortly after leaving WWE. The Purveyor of Violence expresses how lost he felt during his last few months in WWE, and reveals that his initial plan was to step out of the spotlight to reinvent himself.
So I knew [that I was leaving WWE] for about eight months prior to showing up in AEW. I didn't know where I was going to go or what I was going to do. I was kind of thinking I would take myself 'off Broadway' so to speak: go wrestle in Japan or wrestle under a mask or something. I couldn't really picture what I wanted to do or how I wanted to wrestle. I wasn't going to be on every show and they're like, 'former WWE superstar Dean Ambrose' and gouge people for money. I was trying to leave that in the past. I figured I would go out of the spotlight for a long time, and once I came up with a new thing and was ready to come back in one or two year, then I would try to come in the national scene again," Moxley said. "I was paying attention to Ring of Honor, Impact, Japan; I knew I wanted to go to Japan for sure because I always loved wrestling over there when we go for WWE. I just love the fans over there, and it's just a different culture and style. I got a real taste for it the couple of times when we were able to go. I knew I always wanted to come back, and I always had a feeling that I could in the back of my mind. I was thinking I was gonna disappear and then come back later on when I got a new schtick of some sort. That didn't happen at all. Not even close.
The current IWGP United States champion then talks about being approached by Cody Rhodes and Chris Jericho for AEW. Although hesitant at first, Moxley states how smart they've gone about doing business, which includes not making any "empty promises."
They're telling me about this AEW thing, and I'm like, 'it sounds really awesome but I'll believe it when I see it kind of thing.' All the infrastructure was getting put into place before anybody knew about it which was smart," Moxley stated. "They didn't come out with big promises right out of the gate and not deliver like most companies do. Like all of this stuff was set in stone before anybody knew about it. It's amazing that this is all real. It's still crazy because a year ago there wasn't a legit alternative. Fans have been wanting this for Wrestlers have been wanting this for years. It's something the business has needed for so many years. It's finally here. It's legit. It's not going away. We just signed a new contract.
He also believes the timing of AEW's first ever event, Double or Nothing, was a sign, especially it being in Las Vegas where he lives.
When it was like the first show, it was Double or Nothing. It's May something. It was like three weeks after my contract was gonna be up, and it was in Vegas. It didn't matter that it was in Vegas but something about it being in Vegas made it even more like a sign," Moxley said. "Like I could just drive over. I don't even need to get on a plane. It was like I didn't even find that show. That show found me. All the signs in the universe were pointing me there. It was like, 'alright. I guess we're doing this.'
Moxley received a huge ovation for his surprise cameo, something he was not entirely sure would happen due to the way his character was portrayed in WWE.
At the time too [when going to AEW], to be perfectly honest, I didn't know if people were gonna cheer, if they're gonna boo, if they're not gonna make any noise at all. It's kind of why I had to go off Broadway for a while because I felt like my reputation had been tarnished so bad that I had to start from scratch again. You get popped in the a-- with a syringe on TV and dress up like a teddy bear and DDT people and s--t like that. I remember one time standing in the ring in a bear suit for some reason," Moxley said. "I can't even explain to you why I'm standing in the ring in a bear suit, and I DDT'd The Miz or something and take off my bear hat. It's like, you know, you get the Pavlovian kind of response like, 'yay', but I remember just thinking like this is so stupid. This is not even like funny or entertaining. I just remember standing there feeling like I hit rock bottom. I'm just done. This sucks. I'm just like, 'what have I become in this bear suit?'. I've had many moments like that.
Moxley will be challenging Chris Jericho for the AEW championship at the February 29th Revolution pay per view in Chicago. Check out his full interview here.
(H/T and transcribed by Wrestling Inc.)