Jon Moxley is currently the World Champion of All Elite Wrestling but he also holds the IWGP United States Championship, representative of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
Speaking with Uproxx, Moxley took some time to reflect on his journey in New Japan Pro-Wrestling up to this point, common things specifically on the relationship between himself and his "young boy” Shota “Shooter” Umino. Jon Moxley says the nature of their relationship grew from Moxley's propensity for on the spot, deadpan comedy with the bonus of knowing that his association with the young lion would create new opportunities for Umino.
“It was a small thing that grew into a funnier big thing. It’s kind of the brainchild of a guy named Gedo who’s New Japan’s booker. In New Japan, everybody’s involved in, like, a group. You’ve got Chaos and L.I.J. and the Bullet Club and you have some people who are just kind of rogue independents like me,” Moxley began. “So, on the off days in the G1 you have tag matches, but I wouldn’t have any tag partners. So basically, it was a way to get me a tag partner. I would beat him, respect his toughness, and then I decide to make him my, like, young boy tag partner thing. But he has such a funny – I don’t know what it is about him. There’s something funny about him.
“I was coming to New Japan to finally be this serious, kickass competitor, but when I looked at him and the camera’s on I just couldn’t help – because I enjoy doing, like, improv comedy on the fly sometimes, I think have a bit of a knack for deadpan humor and stuff like that – so I just couldn’t help but make the situation kind of funny, because this was the opportunity for some comedy gold here with Shota. As soon as I called him Shooter I knew everyone was going to start calling him Shooter, which I thought was funny too.”
He continued, “And then when he was going to the UK, I gave him one of my jackets that I had worn to the ring for him to wear to the ring because I was like, “Okay, I guarantee when he goes to the UK everybody’s going to chant ‘Shooter’ at him” and people are going to pay more attention to him and he’s going to gain experience more quickly. So hopefully when he comes back and he’s a big star and the king of Japan and I’m all old and broken down and broke in America he throws me a bone.”
Continuing on, Jon Moxley also named some of his favorite moments thus far from his time overseas, singling out his rivalry with Minoru Suzuki, whom he faced and defeated successfully during NJPW’s New Beginning tour earlier this year.
“Yeah, getting to work with Minoru Suzuki was a dream come true, just kind of a dream match that I was hoping for one day. I didn’t think our paths would ever cross, and it was like that would be a really cool, kind of bucket list opponent to check off,” said MOX. “But you never know when you’re going to have your last match or you’re going to get hit by a bus or you’re going to break your neck or whatever. You never know when it’s your last day until your last day. So I thought before I retire, it would be really cool to get a chance to wrestle him once. And we did and it was an extremely physical and violent affair and it was exactly the kind of just in your face action we both like to bring and it was very cool.”
Currently, New Japan Pro Wrestling is on hiatus due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, Jon Moxley was faced with a threat from Zack Sabre Jr. and Zack is still looking for a match with Moxley for the IWGP United States Championship.