Jon Moxley took what he could from the Dean Ambrose character and set out on a search for new territory.
Speaking to Chris Van Vliet, Jon Moxley recounted his All Elite Wrestling debut and why May 25, 2019 was such a great night for him.
"That was a great moment for me, because it was just kind of like a release, like, finally, you can just relax and I'm back and here we go and we're off to the races," he said. "Because I'd been just kind of silent for months and months as these rumors came out that I was leaving or whatever, and I didn't say anything. And there was a bunch of... it was really awkward the last few months. It was awkward. Nobody in the locker room didn't even know people would be like 'is it a work? Are you really leaving. What's going on? Are you leaving?' And I'm like, 'I don't know,' I just kept quiet. I didn't sell it until literally anybody anything, even when at first was gonna leave, you know, AEW wasn't even a thing yet."
When asked if he had a vision for a WWE afterlife prior to AEW, Jon revealed that wrestling in Japan was his only certainty.
"Not exactly. Just wherever the wind blows. Definitely Japan, [the] independents. You know, I know I was kind of just I was scanning out the scene. But pretty quickly, AEW kind of came along. It was still top secret and I was like, that's pretty cool. That's pretty sick. Alright."
Moxley wanted to keep fans guessing about his future, and he feels the payoff was perfect.
He continued, "I wanted people to wonder, like, is he going to show up at Ring Of Honor, IMPACT, or AEW, or New Japan or WWE. Is he gonna come back? I wanted people to have no idea. And I think it was pretty effective. But the payoff to the video ultimately was [I] pop out [at] Double or Nothing. And everybody instantly got it. They knew I'm Jon Moxley now. They were chanting my name not like, they weren't chanting like 'Shield' or anything. It was just a totally fresh, new start instantly out of the gate. And AEW is now off to the races. So they just the timing of it all was just crazy, just serendipitous."
Asked whether or not he misses anything about being Dean Ambrose from WWE, Moxley the answer was short, sweet, and very much to the point.
"Nothing I didn't take with me," Moxley admits. "The parts of that character, so to speak, that were good and are still with me, you know?"
Chris would go on to ask Moxley about taking such a big risk with his career by signing on with such a new brand. Much like his in-ring persona, the former WWE champion showed no fear. And if the promotion were to fail, oh that would matter to Jon is that they tried.
"Because [AEW would become] either one of the many startup companies who's tried and failed to gain a foothold and be successful or maybe it's the exact opposite and maybe we take over the entire world. Who knows? You know, maybe it's a new wrestling boom renaissance ad which is already kind of starting to be. The opportunity was just so good to be a part of this that I was like, 'I'm in.' It did not take me long. I mean, I jumped in pretty head first."
You can catch Jon Moxley every Wednesday night on AEW Dynamite on TNT, and you can see his full interview with Van Vliet above.
If you use these quotes, please credit Chris Van Vliet with a link back to Fightful for the quotes.