Jon Moxley On His Passion For Wrestling In Japan, Building Bridge Between AEW & NJPW

AEW star Jon Moxley has revealed how Japan was his first port of call after his WWE career came to an end.

Despite AEW being his primary home, the first company to take Moxley in after his WWE departure in 2019 was NJPW. The current IWGP World Heavyweight Champion made himself feel right at home from the moment he stepped into an NJPW ring, capturing the IWGP United States Championship in his very first match, before taking a young Shota Umino under his wing and showing the entire world what he was made of in the 2019 G1 Climax tournament. During a recent interview with "Sports Illustrated," Moxley said he agreed a deal with NJPW before AEW. 


"That's true, I signed a contract with New Japan before I signed one with AEW," Moxley said. "Japan is the first direction my compass was pointed. New Japan is all about the action in the ring. There's pageantry and big characters, but it's all about the action in the ring, which is so high level. It always spoke to me."

While AEW and NJPW are on very good terms today, a working relationship wasn't on the cards between the two companies in the early days of AEW's existence. However, Moxley decided to continue working for both companies on a regular basis, which he hoped helped smooth over any cracks in the relationship between the two companies. 

"There was an icy relationship back then between AEW and New Japan. I was completely neutral. For a moment, it seemed like I was going to have to pick one or the other, but I said, f**k that, I'm going to do both. Now the two sides have this wonderful working relationship. I hope I helped play a role in facilitating that."


Please credit Sports Illustrated when using quotes from this article, and give a H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.