On a special one-year anniversary edition of the AEW Unrestricted podcast, Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone celebrated AEW's one-year anniversary by bringing on all of AEW's champions onto the podcast. AEW World Champion Jon Moxley came on and reflected on his world title win over Chris Jericho at Revolution.
"Crazy that it was only in February, seems like a million years ago. I was in a sea of people all touching each other and everything, and the world has completely changed, but that's the weird part, it's so different," Moxley said. "It was just a good day. I just had confidence going in the whole day. Just felt good about everything. My wife was there because back then, people could get together. Some friends of mine were there.
"It was just a good positive day all around it. Just kind of came in feeling like I was already the world champion at the beginning of the day. I had all this momentum behind me, and the fans behind me and just felt good about everything. It's just about going out there and execute. To be at the last match of a AEW PPV is always going to be a challenge too because there's just so many amazing wrestlers and blow-away matches on every single one of our shows.
"Me and Chris kind of had that big-fight atmosphere, like a big boxing PPV is what we were trying to achieve and with the choir and everything singing Judas felt like a big moment, like a big sports moment. It's just all positivity all around. It was just a great night, and then everything went to s--t."
Moxley pointed out that he has only appeared in front of a live crowd one time after winning the AEW World Championship. Daily's Place has allowed a small, socially-distanced crowd, and Moxley admitted that he forgot they were there during his contract signing with MJF.
"I won the title on a Saturday. That Wednesday, a couple days later, we're in Denver in front of people still, and the very next week was when everything went to hell," Moxley recalled. "I've only appeared in front of actual fans as champion one time except for the limited amount of fans we're finally allowed to have at Daily's Place now. I forgot that that was even a thing because you don't even notice because it's not a packed building. There's staff, and we got the wrestlers out there too. I didn't even notice it at first that we had fans in building.
"I forgot that we were going to have 500-600 people whatever in the building. I think I was coming out for the contract signing with MJF. I walked out, and I heard like, [Moxley makes cheering sounds]. I look up at the people, and I see people with signs and everything. And I got pumped up. I was like, 'oh that's right. We got fans back in the building.' I got an extra pep in my step, and then we're doing this contract signing and verbalizing back and forth. I had to take into account like, oh, we gotta pause, and they're going to chant stuff, and they're gonna cheer and boo and everything.
"And I was like, 'oh man, this feels great. This is how it used to be,' but hopefully, we'll be able to keep doing that safely and get a little more and a little more and a little more people in. And one of these days, we'll have full arenas again, but who knows when that's ever going to be.
Moxley said that he wants to keep spirits up for people during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that he wouldn't "sell this pandemic" and hopes that he can provide a small distraction for people watching Dynamite.
"This run, I happened to be the guy that is kind of tasked with carrying the torch during at least the early part of a pandemic," Moxley noted. "Hopefully, it's over sooner than later. It is what it is, but I'm a guy that can send a message of I get beat up and everything all the time, and I got to overcome all these challenges. I can send a message of, it's cheesy, but you get knocked down, pick yourself back up and so forth.
"I'm not going to sell this pandemic because if I do it, people are watching me looking for a distraction, and they get to watch AEW Dynamite and escape their problems for a night or whatever. So I'm not selling this pandemic. I'm gonna just keep trucking on the face of adversity."
Moxley briefly discussed what it is like to wrestle in an empty arena before praising AEW for how they have handled the pandemic by continuing to run shows safely for everyone. He said that it is a testament to the perseverance of AEW, and he said that it would have been a tragedy for the wrestling industry if AEW were to go out of business due to the pandemic.
"You really got to put yourself in the mindset that when there's literally no people in the building, it's kind of an eerie feeling," Moxley described. "You have to put yourself in the mindset that your truly fighting for your life and make it real to you, and if it's real to you, it will come off as real to the people, but we're able to find and create an atmosphere here that comes off nice on TV with the wrestlers and staff in the crowd and everything, being able to do it safely. You're not going to look back at it like, Jon Moxley's title reign may be first of many, maybe the only one, whatever it is.
"You're not going to look back at this particular time like, 'oh, that was a golden age of AEW back when they are selling out buildings and was all great.' No, you're going to look back at like, 'oh, yeah, that was like during that weird pandemic era where they couldn't tour or couldn't put people in buildings,' but I think it's a testament to the perseverance of AEW and the craftiness of everybody, production staff, Tony Khan and everybody that figured out a way to keep this going and doing this safely and effectively. And we've been having great shows. People enjoy Dynamite and look forward to it every week.
"So the testament to kind of our survival, I think people will look back at this time as we survived this and only got better because if it hit the fan and we couldn't run shows and AEW, a year into existence right after we signed this big TV deal and everything was going good and we're selling out buildings, and all of a sudden, AEW went into the toilet because of something that nobody could control, it would be the worst thing for the industry because AEW's existence is just so good for the entire industry for a fans, for wrestlers. That we're able to keep it going is just bang out that we're able to keep this going."
Schiavone noted that AEW has allowed talent to be creative and asked Moxley what ideas he has pitched in AEW. Moxley said he hasn't brought in any out-of-the-box ideas, but he did reveal that he pitched the idea of having a short feud with Darby Allin. He also revealed that the feud was supposed to happen earlier this year but didn't due to the pandemic.
"For me, it's real simple. I don't have any off-the-wall ideas really," Moxley admitted. "I just like simple, basic pro wrestling storytelling that people can understand and get into. That whole little mini story with Darby was an idea I had actually. I remember talking to Tony about it because that would have happened months earlier as kind of a bridge little thing.
"Talking to him in Denver at the hotel, after the show in Denver, which is the last time we had actual arena full of fans, that's how long ago that was but just the whole thing of get the big false finish because MJF attempts to screw me over and that whole thing to kind of elevate two guys at once and put them more in the spotlight. I thought that all worked out really good."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.