All Elite Wrestling Champ Jon Moxley on Bringing Stability to an Unstable World
During these uncertain times Jon Moxley is happy to bring some stability as All Elite Wrestling world champion. Ironic, considering how the renegade may at times be considered a bit unhinged. Don’t let the wild style fool you though. There is a method to the madness with the Cagefighter star reigning for more than eight months and counting in AEW.
His title defenses have been no day at the park. The fighting champ, formally known as Dean Ambrose in WWE, successfully overcame a series of worthy challengers including Brian Cage, Brodie Lee, Jake Hager, Lance Archer, Darby Allin and MJF.
Next up is Eddie Kingston, a familiar foe Moxley must face in an “I Quit” match at AEW’s next pay-per-view Full Gear on November 7. Given his unpredictability and personal connection, this grizzled veteran from Moxley’s past may be Moxley’s biggest threat to date.
Here, AEW’s top dog opens up about being at the top amid a pandemic and the battles ahead.
You won the AEW championship February right before the coronavirus took hold and ever since. How would you sum up the last few months going from where we were to how the world is now?
Jon Moxley: The way I look at it is I’m carrying the torch during a weird pandemic era. Nobody is going to look back on this time decades from now saying, “Remember back in the day when Moxley was champion and it was like weird with no crowds and things were f---ing strange.” A time where we had to change the card due to someone coming in contact with someone with COVID.
We’re going to look back on this as a weird time, but to me it is what it is. As the good guy around here, I bring stability to an unstable world. People watch our show because they want to escape and have fun and not think about anything bad. They want us to tell stories and inspire. When you tune in to AEW, you know Jon Moxley is the f---ing world champion no matter what challenge is put in front of me. I have to keep my head held high and persevere.
I have to present strength to people. There was a time I was in a literal sea of fans bleeding and sweating. It was a totally different world. It has been my job to cultivate and grow this championship.
It’s kind of like the Powerball. If you just flip flop a title every 30 seconds, it becomes a prop. The more you defend it against different challengers and situations and put value into it, the value goes up like the Powerball. So when someone does cash in, it’s a huge monumental moment. Chris Jericho was the perfect choice as the first champion to establish it. Now it has been my job to foster the value of the title. It’s really easy to do when you have so many talented guys to wrestle.
One of the recent breakouts has been Eddie Kingston, who earned an AEW contract against Cody. You met in September during a non-title match on Dynamite after Kingston filled in for Archer. Fast forward and he finds himself a number one contender against you. What do you make of this underdog’s ascension?
That’s the thing about 2020. Anything you book or plan or advertise, the day of the show anything can change due to COVID. You have to be able to change on the fly and pivot real quickly. For him to be in the TV main event on a few hours notice and parlay that into a pay-per-view main event is really cool. He was in that position because he got himself over.
When I first heard he was going to show up a few days before, I knew he would knock it out of the park. He just needed a mic. It was supposed to be a one-off, but I bet he would turn this into more. I wanted him to be in the locker room because here is a guy I kept in touch with over text messages and as much as I keep in touch with people. As I knew him, he was a guy who would never change and wasn’t fake. I have to be around straight-up regular dudes. I haven’t seen him in years. Within five minutes, it felt like I saw him yesterday. That’s what I appreciate about him.
There is a lot of relatability in the story heading into the main event of Full Gear. One rooted in reality.
For Eddie, it’s 18 years of him being chewed up and spit out in different, bad scenarios he found himself in. Grinding and working for all those years, that builds up a certain amount of frustration within you when you look at other people getting opportunities you deserve. That builds up animosity and frustration.
That is what is exploding out here on to me. He is projecting all that anger and frustration out on me. Dude, that isn’t my f---ing problem. No matter what anybody says about you or what you did, I was ride-or-die with you. Now you’re going to turn around and act like this. Throw that s--- in my face? That isn’t going to go like that. I’m going to have to beat some f---ing sense into him. In an “I Quit” match there are no possible excuses. There is no way out other than confronting your own ego and place into this world.
It’s a lonely place when you can’t lie to yourself. He is going to quit, and in doing that, going to lose the match. But in my mind this will go one of two ways: admitting that he was wrong and reverting back to my friend or I beat him and beat him and put him out of wrestling. I prefer the former.
I would like to beat the hell out of each other, get this out of our systems and have a beer after the show. It might not go that way...I’m the sheriff around here. It’s my job to clean up the town, so I have to take out the trash. Either I get my friend back or have to kick him out.
Everything I’ve done to build up this championship to the number one championship in the sport. Make it a real world championship. Fighting and defending it by my personal code of conduct with pride and honor. All that is on the line here. It’s a high-stakes game.
You talk about bringing so much meaning to the championship. How do you respond when you have Cody tweeting a picture of the TNT championship saying that it’s the most important belt in the last year?
That’s why I don’t do Twitter. Whatever, dude. I’ll classify that statement by him as inaccurate. That’s why I don’t play Twitter games.
What’s great about AEW is there is really no glass ceiling. You see that in your eclectic mix of opponents. Who do you want to defend the gold against that may have never had a chance before?
I would never look past one defense over the other. I’d like to get in there with everyone who is in that top tier of guys who I haven’t gotten to work against. You already know at the top of your head who I haven’t gotten to face yet in a championship setting. So all those got to get knocked off the list. I’ve really enjoyed working with the younger dudes like the MJFs, the Darbys, the Joey Janelas. Ricky Starks has been one I think is really good. I think he is a dude down the line. I can see me and him doing some really good stuff.
Tag wrestling is such a focus in AEW. Having the best tag teams in the world, one of these days down the line I wouldn’t mind finding a partner that compliments me in some form or another, maybe a bigger dude or a younger guy. I would like a legitimate tag team run. While I have this championship opportunity in AEW, there are tag teams I’d love to work with.
I love tag team wrestling. I don't want to deny myself having great matches with FTR, the Young Bucks or SCU. One of these days I’d love to get a partner and get a tag team title run. When I had that one tag match with Darby, I was getting all excited. It felt good and made me miss it. I’ve had a good partner and been part of a pretty successful team in the past.
Your wife Renee Paquette’s upcoming cookbook Messy in the Kitchen: My Guide to Eating Deliciously, Hosting Fabulously and Drinking Copiously, is already an Amazon best-seller. What does it mean to you to see this passion project realized for her?
It’s very cool, especially because she is so into cooking and Food Network and all that s---. She is always making food for the holidays or even if people randomly come over. She is the hostess.
The whole concept has been in her head for a long time. A lot of people never pull the trigger on things they want to do or achieve. She is doing it and made it happen. To see the idea go from her head to what will be in print is really awesome. She worked her ass off. A lot of work goes into that s---. You have to do a recipe a million times to get it perfect. Then there is all the writing, doing the photos. It is a lot of work. It was definitely a labor of love for her.
AEW Dynamite, Wednesdays, 8/7c, TNT
AEW Full Gear, November 7, 8/7c, Pay-Per-View