Chris Jericho was the first big WWE name to be established with AEW, joining the company from the very first press conference.
Jon Moxley became the first big pay-per-view surprise, showing up at AEW Double or Nothing 2019 just after leaving WWE following his contract expiring in April.
While Moxley to AEW seemed like a forgone conclusion after he left WWE, it wasn't that simple for the former Dean Ambrose.
"I didn't know AEW existed," Moxley said in an interview with Wrestling Observer Radio. "I was already out the door. It was timing. I think what people don't understand is that it wasn't a super easy decision to go to AEW. It wasn't easy at all. It was actually very scary to go to AEW. The timing was so crazy. It was almost like, I didn't choose this, the Universe chose me. Like, I would be like a pussy if I didn't take this opportunity. Of all people, at this exact moment in time and this crazy crossroads of pro wrestling with all this shit going down, there's this chance for one person to step in and do this, and you were the guy the universe picked. It wasn't an easy decision to sign with AEW. A lot of people think, 'You left WWE and just worked for another company. It wasn't a risk.' It was down to wire before that original Double or Nothing. I was trying to figure out who I was as a pro wrestler still. The AEW thing was scary. I didn't know who these people are, I didn't want it to be another WWE and just sign some contract. I just got out of a divorce and jump right into another marriage when I don't know this person? I didn't know Tony. I met Tony a couple of weeks before Double or Nothing. Jericho was a big help. He was the first guy I talked to about it. AEW, I didn't think it was a big deal. I thought it was an Indie. Just another place I could work on the weekend. I didn't know where they ran. It didn't hit my radar like at all. That's when I talked to Jericho and he was, 'No, this is a real thing. I signed here. They have real money.' I had no idea. I was in such a bad state and I was just trying to get through the contract. I was not in a good mental space. I had no clue what was going on in the outside world.
"I didn't know what GCW was, now I'm the GCW World Champ. I went to Bloodsport during WrestleMania weekend, I wasn't booked on WrestleMania but I had to be there anyway, and Brett Lauderdale, who was like a ref for CZW, comes up to me and is running shit. I started checking out GCW and GCW fucking rules. I had grown to hate wrestling so much that I wasn't paying attention to the outside world. I didn't even watch the shows I was on. I walked in, did what I needed to do, and got out of there. It was a wild time when I left WWE, to catch up with what was going on. It wasn't a sure thing I would sign with AEW. I'm fucking glad I did, obviously. It was all fate."
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Moxley immediately established himself as one of the top stars in AEW, becoming the second-ever AEW World Champion.
On Tuesday night, Tony Khan shared that Moxley is entering an impatient alcohol treatment program. You can learn more by clicking here.
Fightful will have live coverage of AEW Dynamite beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
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