Jon Moxley’s original plans for his New Japan Pro-Wrestling run were initially much shorter and ended much differently than the run he is currently on right now.
Upon leaving WWE in April of 2019, Jon Moxley was ready to shed the layers of Dean Ambrose and reinvent his wrestling career. For his first major appearance, he ended the debut show of All Elite Wrestling, Double or Nothing 2019, by giving both Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho resounding Paradigm Shift DDTs, effectively announcing to the world that MOX was back.
Not too long after that, Jon Moxley also made a surprise appearance in New Japan Pro-Wrestling where he would dethrone Juice Robinson and capture the IWGP United States Championship. He still holds this Championship today, regaining it from Lance Archer in a Texas Death Match on night one of Wrestle Kingdom 2020 after being forced to relinquish the title due to travel issues.
Speaking on Wrestling Observer Radio, Moxley revealed how his New Japan run came together, his initial trepidation about working the G-1 Climax tournament, and the original plan for the end of the run which would have featured Karl Anderson’s return to Japan and a subsequent match between Anderson and Moxley at Wrestle Kingdom.
“I knew I wanted to go to Japan and have like at least one solid run in a legit Japanese company like New Japan or whoever was going to be right. Obviously, New Japan was the top choice,” recalled Moxley. “I was planning on using my contacts or whatever and being like, 'hey, do you think you can get me in touch with somebody, see if there's anything we could work out. Maybe there's some interest on either side or whatever. I didn't have to do that because New Japan just called me pretty much as soon as the news broke that I was probably on my way out, I got a text from Rocky [Romero] he's just like, 'yo, man, if you're really leaving there, whenever you're done, it'd be really cool if we could get you over to New Japan.”
As talks progressed, the idea was thrown out for Jon Moxley to work a G-1 Climax tournament. Moxley candidly admitted to being a little trepidation is about working the round-robin tournament.
“My initial reaction was like, ‘I don't know about that one.’ So, my initial reaction was kind of like a little bit of trepidation. We got off the phone and I went and sat on the couch next to my wife. 30 seconds later, I went, 'shit, I have to do the G-1.'"
He continued, “I have to! Because, I'm not going to puss out. I acknowledged the fact that it kind of intimidated me a little bit. Now I have to face my fear. Now I have to do it. Now it's a pilgrimage that I must do. Ten minutes ago, it wasn't even on my mind, wasn't even thinking about it and now it's this thing that I absolutely have to conquer.”
Moxley wound up facing his fear and competing in the tournament. However, this far deviated from the normal plan that would have involved a returning hero in Karl Anderson.
“We got a storyline set in place from June till' Wrestle Kingdom set in stone. I was going to end up working with Karl Anderson in the end, I beat up the young boy from the Japanese dojo system, Juice, beat him in a rematch, go to whoop his ass afterward and out comes the original young boy from the dojo system, the returning hero, the conqueror, Karl Anderson. Stun Gun, motherfucker, returning hero. The place would have gone nuts. Then, we would've worked Wrestle Kingdom and that was the run.”
Anderson wound up staying with WWE before he and Luke Gallows were let go on Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
Now, Moxley says he’s on a verbal agreement with NJPW and looks forward to continuing his run in Japan as long as it remains fun.
“As soon as I got there, it was like, this place is awesome and I fit in great and it just like clicked. They love having me and I love going there… So now, although I don't have like a contract, I guess we're just on kind of a nonspecific verbal agreement because they know I love going there.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Jon Moxley discussed what it was like when his wife, Renee Young, contracted COVID-19. Learn more at this link.
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