Fightful was able to speak to an upbeat Jon Moxley, who seemed excited to be working for AEW. I wouldn't even say "seemed to be," he outright was. This was possibly the most positive interview Moxley has done in years, and he says that he doesn't feel like he's coming to work anymore, he's just happy to be wrestling and doing different things now. You could tell he wasn't as pumped at the idea of being on a boat for several days, but ended up enjoying everything, as he said that the fans fuel him and make him look forward to work. He went as far as to say "every day is a fucking vacation" working in AEW, NJPW and the like.
He said his schedule hasn't really backed off much since he's left WWE, citing wrestling, injuries and movies as stuff that's taken up a lot of time. Despite that, he says he's not rushing for ice packs as soon as he comes through the curtain, he's more excited to get back in front of a crowd.
We talked NJPW and AEW, and he doesn't think the two necessarily need to be married, and isn't sure what kind of door exists. He only said that he found his own door and goes through whatever one he wants. The ability to do that was a big point of attraction for him to come to AEW in the first place. One of those was the FSW appearance against Killer Kross last year, which he wasn't even sure could happen before he did that. He wants the ability to try new things out, wants to travel to Europe again, and enjoys the freedoms of being outside of WWE. Moxley mentioned that he likes to dabble as much as he can and might show up randomly at indie shows.
He also joked about getting a payday off of Shota Umino when he's old and beaten up and Umino becomes a big star.
Moxley wasn't really clear on what he'd do after WWE, but knew he wanted to work in Japan. He considered wrestling under a mask, he considered just going away for a couple of years, but Cody Rhodes and Chris Jericho helped recruit him to AEW. He was filled in on a lot of the question marks around the company like a TV deal and other situations. When their ideas aligned with his, he knew it was a good move. He was wary because new promotions pop up all the time, but don't quite have vision and direction. All the promises that he heard, he was cautious of, but says it's working out. He says that the company isn't fueled by hatred.
I asked Moxley about his finisher, and the various names and he said "to me, it's a fucking DDT." He's very happy with how the move has turned out with him and he credited Juice Robinson for a good spot with it. Moxley is always looking to evolve the move, which was pitched to him by Joey Mercury. He switched from the old headlock driver Dirty Deeds because Randy Orton was too tall, and Moxley didn't like giving it to him. He still likes to do the move in certain situations, though.
In fall 2018, I spoke to Christopher Daniels about him wanting a match with Chris Jericho, and it's still on his bucket list now that the two are in AEW. Christopher Daniels is not looking to retire any time soon, and expects the match to happen sooner than later. He says that Jericho has a great mind for the business and helps out others accordingly, and even said that Jericho has more of a right to put his foot down backstage than he does. Daniels isn't shy about sharing his opinions, but thinks Jericho is better suited and accomplished to do such a thing. Daniels noted that even at his stage of his career, personally he's still trying to learn things.
From a production standpoint, Daniels compared AEW more to the brief time he was with WCW. He said TNA being centrally located in Orlando and having a routine made things a whole lot different for him compared to seeing new people in new towns weekly in AEW.
- We recapped my experience backstage at AEW on the Fightful Select Backstage report, but the entire process took about 20-30 minutes for the skit. I arrived, did run throughs -- about three takes, before the final one. Sick Nick Mondo was actually the videographer for the skit, which was kind of neat, as he also did Moxley's WWE departure vignette.
Almost everyone involved, from myself, Brandi Rhodes, Luther, Melanie Cruise and Awesome Kong had input on the segment, with some great direction from Mondo himself, too. Later that night, Cruise would turn on Kong during an AEW Dark taping. It's clear this has been in the plans for weeks, because originally the hair cut skit was scheduled for Revolution weekend in Chicago. However, in recent weeks AEW was insistent on it being in Cleveland, that specific night. I was brought to my seat in the crowd immediately following the skit.
I'd like to thank AEW for helping spread the word about the cause.
We'll likely not do much XFL coverage unless it directly affects WWE, but we've had several people working with XFL teams say that Vince McMahon's name is never mentioned as it pertains to the operational aspect of things.
Last week, Wrestling Observer Newsletter ran a story noting that at a WWE Performance Center meeting, talent were told not to call out main roster talent. The report upset some involved at the WWE PC, and was addressed later in the week.
As it turns out the original meeting in question where the recommendation was handed out was at an orientation for new Performance Center recruits. The information was leaked shortly after that.
Wednesday ahead of the NXT television tapings, another meeting was held to instruct NXT talent to not talk to dirt sheets. The talent we spoke to (naturally, since they're effectively talking to one) weren't keen on the message. They were also reminded that they need proof of health coverage, which may have motivated talent to contact us.
One source previously unfamiliar to Fightful in NXT said "they reminded me that I'm a contractor, then tried to tell me who I couldn't talk to, so here I am," before reiterating issues with crowding at the PC.