Moxley never wanted to make negative comments about Roman Reigns' Leukemia.
The wrestling world came together in unison in the Fall of 2018 when former WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns announced that he would be stepping away from the ring to fight off Leukemia for the second time in his life. It was on that night that Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, now going by his original name from the independent scene, Jon Moxely, captured the RAW Tag Team Championships.
Jon Moxley sat down with fellow All Elite Wrestling star Chris Jericho for a sit-down interview for Jericho's Talk Is Jericho podcast. Moxley explained why he did not re-sign with WWE and shared some of the stories that led to him making the final decision not to stay with the company. Moxley recalled Vince McMahon and WWE writers asking him to make a remark about Roman Reigns' cancer to further enhance he and Seth Rollins' feud over the Intercontinental Championship. Moxley was asked to say something along the lines of Roman having to answer to the man upstairs and he explained how he was convinced to utter those words on WWE TV.
“And earlier I had to go to Vince, because in this promo, there’s a very distasteful line, taking a jab at my friend, who had Leukemia and has now gone off to recover from that, Roman Reigns. I don’t remember what the line was, but I went, ‘I’m not saying that. Are you kidding me?' So I’m going right to Vince about this one because it was clearly a mistake. I go into -- I think it was a production meeting at the time and I’m like, ‘This is… surely you don’t want me to say this’, and he’s like, ‘Roman’s part of the story. We gotta make sure he’s still included. You turn on him and Seth', and he kind of explains it to me in… ‘You know, you just kinda say the thing about Roman. Just include him’, and he says it in kind of a innocuous way where it kinda didn’t seem so bad coming out and I was like, ‘Ahh okay’ and all the writers and basically he gave me the Vince Jedi mind trick." He continued, "Which I’m pretty immune to at this point, but every once in a while he still gets me. It’s my fault, I got Jedi’d, so I’m like ‘Okay’. So I think this one we did live. I cut the promo. As soon as that line left my mouth, I went, ‘Oh my God. I can’t believe I just said that.' It was just something about he’s got cancer, sucks to be him, something like that. Not cool.”
The former 3-time WWE Intercontinental Champion was asked to bring up Roman's cancer once again but added that this time around, the comment was worse than the first one. Jon said that he refused to even say what was scripted on the podcast and told Jericho he would tell him off air. Moxley said that the individual who wrote said promo should be ashamed of themselves and knew that he would've taken the fall for what was said and not anybody else.
“This promo also had a line regarding my actual friend who’s going through actual Leukemia that Vince wanted me to say, and he tried to talk me into saying. This is where I absolutely drew the line. I was like, ‘Absolutely not’ and he actually tried to talk me into it a little bit but I was like, ‘Absolutely not’ and he was like, ‘If you feel uncomfortable that’s fine.’ Like no, that’s when I finally had to put my foot down, and it’s the worst line." Moxley recalled. "I’m not going to say it on air. I’ll tell you after we’re done, but I’m not even gonna say it on air. That’s how bad it was. It would’ve been like a thing where somebody would’ve had to get fired, maybe me. They might’ve lost sponsors, like the Susan G. Komen and all that and I don’t know who wrote it, I don’t know if it was Vince himself or if it was a writer -- if you’re listening right now, you should be ashamed of yourself. You wouldn’t believe it. But if I just said it, if I would’ve just been, ‘Ok’ and just read the script, I can’t imagine… but it would’ve been on me, not on Vince.” He said.
The wrestling world came out in full force in support of "The Big Dog" and to read some of the messages sent Roman's way, check out Fightful's published article about the topic.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Talk Is Jericho with an H/T to Fightful for the transcriptions.