AEW's current World Champion Jon Moxley was a guest on a recent episode of Wrestling Observer Radio. During the interview, Mox opened up about the first time he verbally agreed to come onboard for AEW. He noted that Tony Khan and Cody Rhodes actually came to his house to have the discussion in an extremely private setting.
"The AEW thing just happened and it was like it was meant to be. I had a lot of anxieties about it, you know, but I was like, 'This is too meant to be. You have to take this shot and ride with them.' Tony and Cody came to my house and we talked about wrestling, and what we thought it should be, and what we wanted it to be," Jon said. "And then they're telling me about TNT and all this stuff, and it's real and this is actually going to happen. This isn't just a bunch of false promises. I'm like, 'Okay, well if that stuff is true, then alright, I'm in.' I gave my word on that day, like, 'I'm in' and there we go."
Jon remembers the saga of leaving WWE and feeling like every decision he was making was being analyzed by fans and media. He explained that his goal was to work with New Japan in some capacity because he was always a fan of their shows when he would watch them live. Mox apparently does not have a current signed contract with NJPW, however, they are in good standing with one another and have a verbal agreement for Mox to work.
"Everything I was doing was under this giant microscope spotlight, which was weird because I was just thinking I was going to disappear and then come back, but it was the exact opposite. I was under the brightest of everybody's watch in everything I did. I know a lot of people wanted me, I'm sure a lot of people wanted me to fail, you know? People do, but that's not really what happened. So, f--k off," Mox responded. "I don't have a contract with New Japan. I had one that was from June when I started up until Wrestle Kingdom, and it was just for that specific run.
"I knew that I wanted to go to Japan; I loved to wrestle in Japan. When we'd go over to the shows in the Summer, we would always go in like June or July to do a double shot in sumo hall, those are my favorite shows of the year because I just love the fans over there. I love that you can just wrestle, get a clean break on the ropes. Oh! I love the fans over there, the respect and the style, and I look forward to it every year," he explained. "To me, that was more important that WrestleMania, was the Sumo Halls every year. I always had it in the back of my mind, because I knew the reactions I could get in Japan, I just knew. I had a feeling that I could work here. Like, if I ever come back here, I had a feeling in my mind that I could. So, I knew I wanted to go to Japan and at least have one solid run in a legit Japanese company.
"... Later down the line, it was like, 'Yeah man, it's basically whatever you want to do. If you want to come in for one or two big shows, if you want to come do a tour, if you can do the G1, that will be sick! Whatever you want.'"
Mox touched on his time in WWE, saying that writers providing him with scripts to represent his character was the thing he hated most about being there. He noted how now, in AEW, nobody has the assistance of a writer or script to cut a promo.
"If I had to boil it down to one thing I hated there the most, it's scripts. I cannot stand this concept of this writer writing word for me. I hate it, like, it drives me up the wall. It makes me physically nauseous, if that makes any sense. And I was like, 'I want to prove their way sucks', and in AEW, do you want to know how many writers we have? Zero! Zero writers! It's an unnecessary step in between the promo and the booker," Mox said. "Like, when I have a promo on the run sheet, the format of AEW, if I have a promo, it says 'Jon Moxley promo - 2 minutes'. Or 4 minutes, whatever it is going to be. That's all it says. There's not 47 pages of dialogue, you know? And if I have a promo, here's how it works - I think about what I want to say and I say it! And if Cody Rhodes has a promo, he thinks about what he wants to say, the message he wants to convey, and he goes out and delivers it. An MJF promo, same thing. A Chris Jericho promo, same thing. Think about all these great promos you get in AEW; no writers. There's no writers necessary. "
When it comes to the so called "Wednesday Night Ratings War" between WWE NXT and AEW Dynamite, Moxley mentioned that he does indeed keep up with the statistics to a certain level, but he makes sure not to let the results bother him too much. Apparently other stars backstage have a much more enthusiastic reaction when the ratings spike in their favor.
"I'm aware of it, and you should be smart enough to be aware of those thing, you know, if what you're doing is working or not. To not care at all would be ignorant," Jon explained. "But I don't stress about it because you don't want to get too stressed about it. Like, 'Oh, I only got 750,000 or whatever'. It's so confusing, and I don't know how these people come up with these numbers. I'll get the information.
"I walked into the building the night after I wrestled Brian Cage, and people are high fiving and coming up to me like, 'We whooped their ass last night!' And I'm like, 'Oh, cool', you know? I thought the match was cool, I liked it. Say we had lost, does that mean I should feel worse about the match? I thought it was a good match, so, you don't want to put too much into it. If what you're doing is good, it will work and people will watch. Yeah, I don't stress about it."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Wrestling Observer Radio with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.