2 Months After WWE Departure, Jon Moxley Has Successfully Erased Dean Ambrose

Aaron Bower@@aaronbowerFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2019

TOKYO, JAPAN - JUNE 05: New champion Jon Moxley looks on following the IWGP US Heavy Weight Championship bout  during the Best Of The Super Jr. Final of NJPW at Ryogoku Kokugikan on June 05, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Dean Ambrose supporters will have watched with bated breath to see how his exit from WWE in the aftermath of WrestleMania 35 unfolded. Just a couple of months removed from the end of the Ambrose persona, that question has already been emphatically answered.

The fact that Ambrose played a fairly consistent character in WWE, rarely undergoing any major personality or gimmick changes. That perhaps left some wondering whether the man now known as Jon Moxley would be able to reinvent himself away from the biggest promotion in professional wrestling.

Yet Moxley has not only left behind the Ambrose character, but he has almost immediately managed to make a huge success of himself on the independent circuit.

His exit from WWE was low-key, of that there is no doubting. Perhaps that was WWE's way to try to lessen his appeal and impact wherever and whenever he showed up next. But if that were the plan, it has backfired spectacularly. As one of the biggest stars in WWE, his arrival in any other promotion was always going to create a stir, and that has proved to be the case in both New Japan Pro-Wrestling and All Elite Wrestling.

The fact that Moxley ended up in AEW was always going to cause a huge reaction in the pro wrestling world. Maybe there was a feeling in some quarters that he would try to maintain the momentum he gained in WWE by doing certain things the same. The lunatic gimmick, the in-ring attire of vest and jeans. But to his immense credit, Moxley has laid to rest the Ambrose character and gone in a new direction.

It's something you suspect WWE will look back on in time and regard as one of their biggest mistakes of the modern era. But Moxley's frustrations, which he aired quite remarkably in a tell-all podcast interview with Chris Jericho soon after his departure from the company, appear to have had plenty of substance given the way he's acted both inside and outside the ring.

It was Moxley's victory over Shota Umino in the early stages of NJPW Dominion 6.9 when that was fully illustrated the best. His in-ring performance didn't exactly ruffle too many feathers, but his post-match antics—when Moxley not only declared himself for this year's G1 Climax but also appeared to befriend Umino and take him under his wing—demonstrated the character freedom Moxley now has.

In a backstage interview, he promised to look after Umino and to help him develop, doing it with an element of humor that appeared to mirror the best of Ambrose in WWE. However, having made no secret of the fact that he was frustrated from a creative standpoint during his final few months with the company, this felt like the unleashing of the freedom Moxley had long desired.

Because that's the thing about someone as talented as Moxley. Not only does he have the ability to keep reinventing himself as a performer and a wrestler on a regular basis, but he's also got the potential to strike a chord with fans of whichever promotion he is competing for. Only a small percentage of wrestlers have gone on to become bigger and better after leaving the clutches of Vince McMahon.

Just two months on from his acrimonious split from the company, Moxley is already showing he's nailed on to be included in that bracket as he solidifies his credentials as one of the most sought-after wrestlers in the world. Who knows which other stars frustrated with WWE that could end up inspiring.


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