AEW's Jon Moxley Talks WWE Exit; Rips Vince's Creative for Reigns-Leukemia Line

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2019

Photo credit: All Elite Wrestling.

New All Elite Wrestling signee Jon Moxley appeared on Chris Jericho's Talk Is Jericho podcast Wednesday to discuss what led to his WWE departure and when he knew he wanted to make a change.

Moxley, who spent eight years in WWE as Dean Ambrose, made his AEW debut at Double or Nothing on Saturday and noted on the podcast that going from WWE to AEW made it feel as though the "weight of the world" had been lifted off his shoulders.

While Moxley said creative was long a point of contention for him in WWE, he suggested that the last straw came during a November episode of Raw after he turned on former Shield brother Seth Rollins.

Moxley said he had to cut six promos that night and was unhappy with the content of many of them. As a result, he said he received a note from WWE Chairman Vince McMahon that read, "Dean needs to read his promos verbatim and not try to rewrite them."

Even so, Moxley took issue with a line in one of his promos about Roman Reigns' real-life leukemia diagnosis in which he said that Reigns had to "answer to the man upstairs." Moxley said McMahon explained why the line was needed, and he proceeded to use it in his promo.

Ultimately, it didn't sit well with Moxley, who called it distasteful: "I cut the promo, and as soon as that line left my mouth, I went, 'Oh my God, I can't believe I just said that.'"

Later in the night, Moxley said he had to go back into McMahon's office to combat the idea of wearing a surgical mask during his promo, which was to include lines about how "smelly" and "disgusting" the people of Los Angeles were.

Moxley noted that such interactions had taken a major toll on him over the years:

"I remember leaning on a road case and just feeling actual exhaustion. Just like emotional, physical, mental exhaustion. Not so much because of that day, but because of six of years of this. Six years of having to go into this man's office, this old man, and trying to explain to him why wearing a surgical mask is a stupid idea, why carrying a little red wagon to the ring is a stupid idea, why maiming a mannequin in the ring is a stupid idea. I was done."

Later, Moxley said the singular promo during which he knew for sure he was leaving was the one that featured him getting "vaccinated" so that he didn't catch anything from the fans.

Moxley said he had been told a new contract was being prepared, and he was excited to turn it down, but by Royal Rumble weekend he couldn't wait any longer and told WWE Senior Director of Talent Relations Mark Carrano that he was leaving: "I said, 'This is not a decision I came to fast or lightly; this has been a long time coming. I'm not going to change my mind. This is not about any one particular thing. This is not an emotional decision. This is happening. I'm leaving, and it's OK.'"

Moxley's decision got back to McMahon, and Moxley believes it led to Vince booking him in a spot where he took a bump for Nia Jax. Moxley said he wouldn't have had an issue had it happened under different circumstances but felt at the time like it was a "middle finger" and a means of burying him on the way out.

Although Moxley made it clear he was leaving, he did say he was still handed a contract. He said he never looked at it and asserted, "There's literally no number they could put on a piece of paper that would get me to stay."

In April, Moxley competed in his final WWE match, teaming with Rollins and Reigns against Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley and Baron Corbin at a live event that was dubbed "The Shield's Final Chapter."

He said he was paid only $500 for that match, which is what those who show up and aren't used or extras typically get paid.

When Moxley officially became a free agent, he sent the wrestling world buzzing by posting a teaser trailer on Twitter on May 1 promoting his eventual return to wrestling as Jon Moxley rather than Dean Ambrose.

Former CZW star and current filmmaker "Sick" Nick Mondo helped Moxley produce the video, and it went a long way toward getting fans excited for the next chapter in his career:

The trailer was filmed in February, and Moxley long planned to drop it May 1, which he said resulted in him turning down McMahon's request to have him work the post-WrestleMania European tour.

Moxley accomplished a great deal in WWE regardless of creative and the manner in which he went out, as he was a member of The Shield and held multiple titles, including the WWE Championship.

He also met his wife, Renee Young, while in WWE and said he doesn't harbor any ill will toward the company:

"Nothing by gratitude toward WWE. Nothing but positivity over here. Nothing but gratitude. I'm so grateful for my run there; that place changed my life. When I walked in there, I was a kid. Now I'm an adult. I grew up there in a lot of ways. In a lot of ways, I'm a different person than I was when I started there. In a lot of ways, I learned a lot of life skills and have grown as a person during my time there."

Now, Moxley is a cornerstone player in AEW, and he appears to be in line for a massive push after attacking both Jericho and Kenny Omega following the main event of Double or Nothing.

Moxley isn't interested in competing with WWE, but he said he wants to help show that WWE's creative process "sucks," and if he enjoys success in AEW that exceeds what he did in WWE, it could go a long way toward proving his theory.

Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below (warning: some language NSFW).

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