Jon Moxley has been establishing himself within the world of pro wrestling ever since leaving WWE. The former Dean Ambrose has wrestled in numerous promotions worldwide, including New Japan Pro-Wrestling and All Elite Wrestling.
In an interview with Screen Geek, Moxley recalled his feelings during his final days with WWE. He also addressed his first post-WWE matches, confessing he almost worried he’d forgotten how to wrestle.
When asked if he had any form of freedom in his matches in WWE, Moxley stated he had no control, which made him feel as though he was asleep during his time there. At one point, he asked if he could incorporate more hardcore stuff in his WWE work.
He recalled that their answer was, “Literally, like ‘No!’ I mean [WWE] is literally telling me what to do, barking orders at me. [McMahon voice] ‘Sell! ‘Lay down!’ It really, truly feels like I was asleep, mentally checked out, for like years.”
“I became a lapsed fan,” Moxley admitted. “I’d be watching the product that I’m a part of in the locker room and going, ‘This show sucks.’ I became a lapsed fan, so I know they exist and it really was like there was this completely separate guy that existed who got outta prison and it’s just like I woke up and it was crazy. I just feel like a better person all around – just back to being me, in and out of the ring, not necessarily just the character.”
His first match following his WWE departure was against NJPW’s Juice Robinson. Moxley would win the IWGP United States Championship in his debut for the promotion. For him, it was a wake-up call that reminded him what wrestling could be.
“I just basically walked right into AEW, you know, right into the G1. The thing is, I didn’t really need any time to figure anything out, cause almost as soon as I had my first match in Japan, and just kinda emptied my brain of all preconceived notions I was like, ‘Just rely on instincts and see what happens.'”
He continued, “I felt like I forgot how to wrestle, then two minutes later I’m beating the holy ever-loving s**t outta Juice Robinson, just beating the f**k outta him, and I was like, ‘Oh yeah, this is what I used to do all the time! This is what feels natural!’ Just being a mean, aggressive, antagonist. That version of me was something WWE was never interested in so they missed out. But, who cares? Timing is everything.”
Jon Moxley is scheduled to compete against Kenny Omega at AEW’s next event, Full Gear on November 9th.