Jon Moxley's MMA and pro wrestling crossover continues.
Moxley has dipped his toes more and more into the world of mixed martial arts. He underwent extended training for his upcoming CageFighter: Worlds Collide film, was planned to compete at two Bloodsport events, and had a shoot-style match against Killer Kross in 2019. However, it was his AEW World Championship match with Jake Hager that got the most attention, and not all of it unanimously praised.
Some viewers took issue with Jake Hager popping up after one of Moxley's signature DDTs, but Moxley didn't have a problem with it at all.
"Yeah, by design," Moxley said, later confirming it was his idea and going into detail on the match.
"We kinda figured this might be the last opportunity we get to film. We didn’t know. Everything was up in the air. So, I was like, well let’s get as much stuff in the can in a few hours as we can. So, let’s just cobble together a little angle. You can choke me out, I’ll DDT you. Just no sell it so that the DDT’s ineffective on you and then we’ll do the title match. Let’s just do it tonight, so that way we have it in the can. We at least have a World title match that’s in the can that we can show people. Then, obviously, make it no holds barred. I wanted him to call it No Holds Barred because I knew we were gonna do a little bit more of that shooty style. He’s obviously an MMA fighter and that’s kind of the old school way to build. It was NHB before it was MMA. That’s kind of why we did that. But, if a regular DDT doesn’t work, DDT a motherfucker on a chair. As a general rule of thumb a DDT on a chair is always better than a DDT not on a chair. A german suplex onto a bundle of light tubes is always more effective than a german suplex not on a bundle of light tubes. So, it was really cool," Moxley told Fightful.
Unbelievably, Jon Moxley and Jake Hager never had a singles match against each other in WWE even though they were in the company for over three years at the same time. They'd worked together in tag team, handicap, ladder, Royal Rumble and Survivor Series matches, though. To Moxley, it didn't make a difference. He wanted to go out and have an organic fight.
"That was a thing where you just kind of go to the ring and just do it," Moxley said. "There’s always give and take in professional wrestling, and that’s what separates it from a contest. But, it’s cool to have a realistic match where you have to work for it. If you’re gonna get a takedown, you’re gonna have to work for this takedown. I enjoy watching scrambles on the mat. You go for a leg lock, but he doesn’t get it ‘cause he goes for a switch. I like legitimate looking stuff like that and, of course, Hager could mop the floor with me at any time he wanted and I wanted him to show that kind of skill and speed on the mat that he has. There’s a point he did a switch or something and it’s scary how quick he is on the mat and he’s so strong. At one point he just shoot gutwrench powerbombed me in that match. I had no idea what was coming, I was getting kneed in the face and before I knew it, I was flipped upside down into it. He’s so strong. Such an incredible athlete. I wanted to showcase that."
Moxley would go on to win the match and retain his AEW Championship over the now-MMA fighter Hager.
See Jon Moxley this weekend, Saturday, May 23 on AEW Double or Nothing, live on PPV.