As you undoubtedly know by now, Jon Moxley (fka Dean Ambrose) was a guest on the most recent episode of the Talk is Jericho podcast with fellow AEW roster member Chris Jericho. It’s a fantastic show you should find a way to listen to, be it through Westwood One, Apple, or wherever you get your podcasts. It’s a long listen, clocking in at more than an hour and a half, but it’s well worth it.
Here, we’ve taken the time to transcribe the entire interview. Text betrays tone, so we strongly suggest listening to the interview. But a full transcription is a valuable resource, so here you go. Fair warning: It’s really long and not all the language is PG.
[Audio of Jon Moxley’s AEW debut plays.]
Jericho: Alright, so this is gonna be a huge episode of Talk Is Jericho and I just wanna say as a precursor, before we get into it, and we’re gonna get right into it, but we’ve recorded this a few days before Double or Nothing and a few days before Jon Moxley surprise attacked me in the ring and, uh, gave me a, a Dirty Deeds that he, that he... so I’m not happy about that and uh, I, if he was here right now I’d slap him in the face, but... as a journalist, this interview is unbelievable and I’m very happy with that.
So even though, uh, Dean Ambrose has an asskicking coming to him, um, this is his, uh, first interview since leaving the WWE and man, he’s got a lot to say. So, uh, let’s get right into it, right here, “The Emancipation of Jon Moxley” on Talk Is Jericho.
[Theme song plays.]
Jericho: Okay so, um, it was a pretty crazy weekend. Double or Nothing was huge, lots of surprises, lots of great matches, but one of the biggest surprises, if not the biggest, was the appearance-- the addition of Jon Moxley to AEW, and, um... you’ve been on this podcast a few times, the Paranormal podcast, the one with Jeff Hardy, the difference was back then we were both in WWE and now here we are both full-time members of All Elite Wrestling, which still seems a little weird for me but I’m actually glad to have you because it’s one other guy that kinda came from that system.
Mox: I’m very glad to be here because Chris, my friend, it is time to talk, finally. After a bizarre few months, it’s been crazy because throughout all of this, I guess it’s been five months or so since, uh, rumors or whatever leaked that I was planning on leaving WWE at the end of April and the world went into pandemonium and, y’know I’m sitting there listening to everybody giving their opinion, and all these different rumors and everybody’s talking about it. The announcers are talking about it while I’m in the ring and the fans know and I haven’t said a word. Throughout this whole process--
Jericho: Interesting, yeah.
Mox: I just been... I didn’t ask them to put out a weird press release or bring it up on commentary or none of that, I just... I haven’t said a word. The only thing that was close to a word I even said was, uh, we had the little interview with Michael Cole and I said something at the very end, and... that was only out of self-preservation, because I had a feeling I was getting set up, so I was ready and I beat him to the punch. And even that I didn’t really give any information out.
Jericho: What did you say?
Mox: Uh, y’know I said, I just gave him the line that, y’know, I walked into this casino eight years ago and now I’m cashing in my chips. That didn’t give any information and that was only out of self-preservation because I thought that was some kind of like setup where they were going to try to, like, “Breaking news: Jon Moxley can’t hack it in WWE so he’s going to go pursue a career in the minor leagues!” or something like that, you know? So I was ready for that. But hey, man, y’know, we’re sitting here at my kitchen table and uh, my beautiful home and I... I’ve never been happier. I am at the absolute apex of life right now. I feel so good, I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off of my shoulders, and nothing but gratitude toward WWE. Nothing but positivity over here, nothing but gratitude, that place... I’m so grateful for my run over there, y’know that place changed my life. When I walked in there I was a kid, y’know, 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. I mean it was almost eight years ago exactly, May of 2011. I got in my little beater car and drove 24 hours straight nonstop from Philly to Tampa with nothing but my gym bag full of wrestling gear and whatever cash I had in my pocket was all I had to my name. And now, eight years later, I got to live my dream, I got to do so many amazing things, y’know, in the ring in WWE. I got the opportunity and the real, the real blessing to be a part, a big part of like the Make-A-Wish program and to connect with so many fans all over the world and be, um... Y’know, I, uh, it’s something I kind of took seriously over, y’know, my whole time there, no matter what I was mad about or, y’know, I’m mad about creative or whatever, I always tried to remember that, like, y’know... It’s hard to... until you are one of those guys doing, like, Make-A-Wish stuff and you meet these fans from all over the world and they tell you these stories about how you, y’know, helped them persevere through whatever, y’know, they did, when... I always took that responsibility very seriously, y’know, so I was always very, uh, grateful for that, and uh, y’know, if nothing else over all these past eight years I met my wife in WWE, who’s my best friend and my soulmate, and if we got nothing else out of this run, y’know, I got her. And y’know, I always tell her, I’m like, “Yo, if things ever get too weird, we’ll just sell all this stuff and we’ll just pop in an RV and we’ll hit the road, babe, because all we need is each other.” So... needless to say, the last eight years couldn’t be any more successful, and full of gratitude to WWE for that. But now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s just bury the company for the next two hours.
Jericho: [Laughter] Well, I mean, let’s... let’s... Because I’m the same, the same way, just, y’know, so we’re on the same page, which you know that, but so everybody listening... I love the WWE, I wrestled there for 18 years, had no intentions of ever wrestling anywhere else other than for the WWE and for Vince McMahon until the opportunity came to work with Kenny Omega at the Tokyo Dome last year and when I did that match I realized that this is actually really fun. And, um, reasons which I’m sure we’ll get into, lot more free, felt more like an artist, I felt more like there was no chains or restrictions for what I could and couldn’t do, I was allowed to be Chris Jericho, a 28-year vet who knew how to put together a wrestling match. And after that I realized I wanna stay in Japan for a bit. I did three or four matches in Japan and then when the opportunity for AEW came up, I really started thinking, “Do I want to go back to WWE?” because I know what to expect, I know what’s going to happen, I know what it’s like. For you, because like you mentioned, I hadn’t seen you for a couple years, since my last run there you got hurt and you were gone and then I was gone. What and where did you start to realize that “Maybe I don’t want to stay here and continue in this system”?
Mox: I knew, prettymuch knew that I was gone in July of 2018. And at that point I was out with an injury-- I, uh, tore my tricep and, uh, normally that would only be like a four month thing but it was so banged up and bruised because I had been working on it hurt for a long time and it was just, the tendon was all mangled and everything so then it was, like, minimum six months, then I got staph infection, then I had to go in for surgery again, it turned into a whole... it turned into nine months. It was a mess, a very miserable time in my life. Very challenging. In July is when I knew. But before we get to that, let’s dive right into some good stuff, alright? I kinda want to tell a couple stories, and I’m gonna try to tell them almost from like an objective third person standpoint, you know, and just kinda let the viewer decide if this is ridiculous or not, and gonna kind of shine a light on the creative process that goes on in WWE. What... to give the fans a glimpse into what it was actually like, a day in the life of Dean Ambrose, right?
So the first one I’m going to tell you is the day I physically looked at the calendar and started counting down the days. The other one will be the day that I absolutely knew, 100%, no turning back, I am gone. The day I almost walked out, because like, even though I knew in July, I knew the whole time that I wasn’t going to quit, I wasn’t going to ask for my release, I wasn’t gonna try to get fired, uh... anything like that, I was just going to ride it out to the very end, for a couple of reasons. One, I’d just rather not do business like that if I don’t have to. My wife works there, it would have been unfair to put her in a position of any awkwardness, y’know? And, y’know, we get all the way to April 30th, the clock strikes midnight, I’m just free AND I get all my royalties, y’know. So if they’re gonna sell a Shield DVD in Cambodia two years from now, I’m getting my 2.7 cents, you better believe that.
Mox: So, okay, this... before I even do that, I’m gonna give you even, we’re gonna start off with a little snippet. I’m gonna give you a pre-appetizer, right, before we tell these and then maybe go back and tell the linear story of what my 2018 looked like. A pre-appetizer, an amuse-bouche if you will.
[Jericho cuts a promo advertising Omaha Steaks.]
Mox: So one day I come into TV like normal, at this time I think I’m on SmackDown. I’m a very, uh... I’m a good guy, I’m a babyface, a pretty major good guy on the show, basically the lead good guy on the show at this point. I come in and I get a backstage promo handed to me from a writer-- writer’s gonna be a key word on this podcast, you will find, so... And the word script. So I get a script handed to me by a writer, right? And it’s a backstage promo, and it’s, uh... me describing the things I did on the way to the arena that day. And it’s, I can’t remember exactly what the things were, because they were so ridiculous, and this isn’t an isolated incident, there’s hundreds of these promos that have happened over the years, that they all, uh, y’know, get lost in the shuffle. But it was three or four things, they weren’t things that a cool person does, that a relatable person does, that a guy you want to hang, uh... sorry, a guy you want to have a beer with does. Not even things a guy you would root for does, these are the things that an idiot would do. Like, things along the lines of, like, driving backwards on the street on a unicycle or, uh, sharing a pizza with a homeless man on the street, just... weird stuff like that. So I’m like, “I’m not saying any of that, change ALL that, rewrite it just to something normal.” Go about my business, writer comes back to me later, Vince redid it, put all that stuff back in. So, I’m like “Uhh... okay, now I have to go in and talk to Vince.”
Jericho: Because you’re supposed to be the wacky, kinda kooky guy who does, y’know, whatever, the unexpected. So therefore you would ride a unicycle backwards for thirty feet.
Mox: Yeah, whatever it was, something like that. So, I’m like, “Ugh,” now, so, if you can’t get it through without having to go in there, now Vince has rewritten it himself, now the-- it’s out of the writer’s hands, I gotta go in and talk to Vince. Alright. Go in and talk to Vince, I’m like “Yo, all this stuff... I can’t say all this stuff, it’s ridiculous, y’know,” and he’s like “Oh, it’s such good shit! Oh, this stuff, this is the reason people like you, y’know? This is why they connect to you, ‘cause you know, you’re... you’re different and it’s so... this is you!” And I’ve had a million conversations with him that almost this exact same conversation about similar promos or things. You know, “This is you! It’s such good shit, this is what makes you you!” And I said, “So I’m an idiot?”, and he goes, “Hahaha, no, it’s you! You’re different!”, and I’m like... “Okay.” And I don’t know where that particular... where we landed on that particular promo or whatever, but yeah. But that’s just an example--
Jericho: He saw you--
Mox: That kinda sums up the battle I’ve been fighting for six years, right? So now, lemme take you to the day-- I’m gonna try and just tell this almost as a narrator and not try to be emotionally invested in it.
This is the day that I started - I remember being in the writer’s room and pulling out my phone and counting down the days... We’re in L.A., early start - show starts at 5. Get there at noon, Seth gets there about the same time as me. Working with Seth, I’m the bad guy at this point, I’m a heel. Get to the arena, and immediately a bunch of writers come up to me with a bunch of scripts, and the thread throughout the show is that Seth Rollins will be challenging me to come out to the ring and fight and I will pop on the screen and cut a promo and then - I’ve got like six promos throughout the night saying various stuff and then at the very end we finally have a big fight in the ring, right? So it’s gonna be a long day. Lotta running around, some are gonna be live, some are gonna be pre-taped. Even pre-taped ones that should take 30 seconds, as you know, in WWE they can take 40 minutes...
They hand me these scripts and, to my eye, all the things that are on these scripts - they’re typical WWE scripts. It’s a bunch of words, a bunch of big words, a bunch of goofy words, none of it makes any sense to me. We’re not telling any kind of tangible story, we’re not doing anything to get any kind of characters over or - nothing that makes any sense to me, so, you know, typical.
The one I’m most concerned with is the in-ring promo at the end of the night... 6:16. So we go into the writer’s room, I start reading this promo. And, again, not trying to pass judgement, but to my eye, in my opinion - this is absolute hot garbage, awful crap. I can’t make any sense of it, I don’t know what we’re even saying. The main jist of it was that the people were smelly, disgusting people and they’re foul, disgusting - you can kind of just see Vince saying these words, “Ohh, Liverpool - sounds like a skin disease” you know? You can just picture the Vince face. I don’t know who wrote this, but if it was you, you should be ashamed of yourself...
The things that catches my eye the most is a joke about a pooper scooper. I’m gonna let that hang in the air for a minute. I’m gonna let you really absorb it, then I’m gonna say it again - pooper scooper. Like something along the lines of I wouldn’t come out there without a pooper scooper. I’m like, I’m not saying that, so let’s change it. So I’m like, did Vince write this? “We don’t know who wrote it” so Vince -
Here’s how the creative process works in WWE. It doesn’t really make any sense, I still don’t know how it works but, so, now it’s like, okay, Vince is in a meeting, so we have to try and re-write it, send it in to Koski, have it re-printed, and put it in front of Vince without the pooper scooper line. Because if he sees it, he’s gonna fall in love with it, and then he’s gonna be like “Aw, ya gotta say the pooper scooper line! It’s such good shit!” So we’re like, okay, hurry up and take out the pooper scooper line. So he writes, it’s something along of the lines of - we’re in L.A., he tries to insult the content of their character more so than their actual smell. He says something along the lines of “Oh, L.A. shallow trash, I wouldn’t come out here without a gas mask” or something. Remember that, because it’s gonna be important later.
And then I’m like, okay, whatever, I might not say that line but okay whatever, we’ll worry about it later - let’s just get it in front of Vince without the pooper scooper line, cause I’m just like - that’s just too embarrassing, I can’t say that. So anyway, we get it in, we send it in, we cross our fingers that Vince sees our version and not the original version.
So then I go off to do, then I’m a little bit exhausted just from this insanity. So I’m going off to do the next promo that was in a hallway with another writer. And I’m reading it and again, it doesn’t make any sense, I don’t really know what I’m saying, or what points I’m making, or how I’m supposed to be getting any heat or telling any story or any - I told the writer, I said, You know, if we didn’t have to run around trying to like, make ourselves not look like idiots and get rid of pooper scooper lines and stuff like that, we could actually sit down and tell a story. We’re all just in self-preservation mode trying to not look like idiots instead of creating good things. He’s like ‘ah, uh, hhhh’ whatever. Do that promo, I think that was pre-taped. Come back to the writers room and I’m like, any update? No update yet, but we did get this - notes from VKM.
And it says, ‘Notes from VKM: Dean needs to understand why he needs to insult the audience. Dean needs to read his promos verbatum and not try to re-write them.’ And I’m just like [long sigh]. Just like the feeling of getting punched in the gut like what the... And I said to the writer, it’s not his fault, but I yelled at him. He just took the brunt of it. I’m like, Why do I work here? I’m a professional wrestler who can tell stories and come up with promos and I believe that I have the abillity to talk people into buildings, I learned those skills years ago and wanted to bring them here to WWE and you just want me to say your stupid lines. If you want somebody to read your stupid lines, hire an actor. Cause they’ll probably do a better job of it than me. I’m not interested in doing it.
So I’m just like, uh, so we’re still just hoping we got our version in before the pooper scooper version. So go off to do ANOTHER promo, I believe this one was live. And again, it doesn’t really make any sense to me, I’m just like saying stuff. And earlier I had to go into Vince, because in this promo there is a line, that’s a very distasteful line taking a jab at my friend who had leukemia and is now going off to recover from that, Roman Reigns. I don’t remember what the line was, but I went, I’m not saying that - are you kidding me? I’m going right into Vince on this one, this is clearly a mistake.
Jericho: It’s a cheap heat line.
Mox: Yeah, this is clearly a mistake, right.
I go into, I think it was a production meeting at the time, and I’m just like, Hey, real quick, this is [laughs] surely you don’t want me to say this. And he’s like “oh, but Roman’s part of the story, we’ve got to make sure he’s still included, you turn on him and Seth,” and he kind of explains it to me, “you know, you just say the thing about Roman, just include him”. And he said it in kind of an innocuous way, where it kind of didn’t seem so bad, and I was just like, uh, okay and all the writers were like “oh, you gotta say this” and basically he gave me the Vince jedi mind trick. Which I’m pretty immune to at this point, but every once in a while he still gets me. It’s my fault, I got jedi-ed, whatever.
So I think this one we did live, I cut the promo. Soon as that line left my mouth, I went Oh my God I can’t believe I just said that.
Jericho: Do you remember what it was?
Mox: It was just something about “He’s got cancer, sucks to be him” something like that. Not cool... and in the middle of all this, trying to get pooper scooper lines out of the script, I don’t even realize that this HORRIBLE thing that I shouldn’t be saying, it’s like oh my god.
Now I go back into the writers room, this is getting to be an exhausting day. And if you’re having trouble following all this, imagine what it was like to be me. So I go back into the writers room and - success! We got our version of the promo in before the pooper scooper line. And also, keep in mind during all this - this is a billion dollar company, run by a man who’s allegedly a genius. And keep in mind, we’re all adults, and we’re talking about stuff like this. So, good news, we got it in before the pooper scooper line. But when he wrote that, whatever line he wrote “I wouldn’t come out here without a gas mask or whatever”, now, I read the new promo, now this is written by Vince.
And it says, “Dean Ambrose enters wearing a surgical mask”, you know, like a mask like a doctor would wear to protect you against diseases, disease from the disgusting smelly people. And it’s just more of the same... and I’m so embarrassed and I’m just like, Are you kidding me? Cause he saw the gas mask - here’s where he made a mistake. He used a noun. You gotta watch out for nouns, cause Vince will turn a noun into a prop real quick. So now I’m wearing a surgical mask. “He wants you to wear a surgical mask tonight, then next week come out with a gas mask, and then the next week come out in a full HazMat suit” to protect myself against the disgusting fans. And I’m like OH MY GOD, so now I gotta go in to Vince. Again.
I remember I walked up to his office, where he is at this point. And Koski was about to go in to go over something or whatever and I’m like, can I go in real quick? I just gotta do this, and he’s like okay, cool. And I was about to walk in and I was just like, can you give me 30 seconds though first? I remember physically leaning on a road case and feeling like actual exhaustion, just like emotional, physical, mental exhaustion. And not so much because of that day, but because of six 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 naming a mannequin in the ring is a stupid idea. I was just like, I was done.
So I go in, and I’m like, yo, I tried to explain it that like I don’t think people will be able to understand me if they can’t see my mouth moving. But he’s like, “Oh, but it’s such...” So we came to some sort of compromise where I have like a handkerchief, which is a little less embarrassing and he’s just like, “Oh, you just - it’s just so you. You don’t want to lose that thing that makes you you cause you have so much creative license you can do anything. You can check with props, see if maybe you can put a clothespin on your nose, I don’t know, something like that.” I’m thinking, what? Creative license? What creative license do I have? I do exactly what you tell me and it’s terrible crap. That’s not creative license.
So I’m like oh my god, so, whatever, do the promo with the handkerchief, whatever. I remember I ran out of the building when I was done. We had a big fight, I was hot, had a little bit of adrenaline. Everybody’s super happy, people are high-fiving at the end of the show like it was this great success. We got in the truck, went to the hotel around the corner and as soon as I got in the room I was just like - first of all, I need a drink right now. Second of all, I’m like what a waste of time. We didn’t accomplish anything. I have nothing. I did six promos, I can’t tell you what I said. I can’t tell you what the story is. Our angle now is gonna be dead, if it wasn’t dead already. You know? I don’t even have words.
Jericho: I will say, and this is one of the reasons I left WWE in uh, May of ‘17, and we went on tour with Fozzy. But there’s a lot of people, right after we did the Kevin Owens thing, like... “Why would you leave right now? You’re, y’know, the character’s so hot!” and to me, I was mentally exhausted, like you just said. Because every week I had to do the same thing that you had to do, go wait in front of his office, which takes forever. Maybe it’s an hour, maybe it’s 45 minutes, go in there and then you gotta put on a show for the boss and convince him why your idea is the right way to go. It burns you out, man! The match is the easy part.
Mox: Yeah, and I’ll tell you, I don’t, y’know, I always get irritated by the notion that comes from a lot of, a lot of, like, former wrestlers especially, or like Attitude Era type guys that, like, “Oh, the guys today they’re scared, they’re all scared to get fired. They’re scared to stand up for themselves, they’re scared to take risks, they’re scared to go off script, they’re scared of getting fired...” I’ve never been afraid of getting fired. I’ve never... not saying that like I’m so good or anything, I’m just saying that I’ve never felt like me speaking up is going to lead to me being fired. I’ve never had that fear.
I always go in and give my opinion, y’know? My opinion of it is, okay, I’m gonna try to convince you that my idea is better, but if I can’t convince you of that by showtime, you’re the guy who writes my checks and I’m not gonna just be a complainer, I’m going to try to make the best of this.
Jericho: Right, even if he doesn’t go for your idea, then explain to me your idea, let me comprehend what you want me to do.
Mox: Yeah, like, alright... if I can’t convince you that I shouldn’t be walking to the ring eating a Cuban sandwich, then... screw it, I’m gonna go to the ring and making eating a Cuban sandwich look so cool. I’m gonna have mustard on my face and people are gonna be like “Damn, he pulled that off better than anybody else could.” And I think I proved that I could do that a lot over the years.
[Jericho cuts a promo advertising Arm & Hammer Cloud Control Cat Litter]
Mox: Onto the second story, right? This is the day that I knew 100% I was gone and there was no turning back. I actually almost walked out. Not really, I’m glad I didn’t because I could have ended up in some legal stuff, whatever, y’know? I knew I was gone in July but I’m thinking, like, why rush it? It’s only like eight more months or whatever, from like September to April. What’s eight months? And who knows, maybe everything will change? Maybe, y’know... Who knows?
So this day, Monday Night Raw takes place in Milwaukee. I wake up in the morning and I get a text from a writer, Ice Pick, my man, good guy, explaining to me what I’m going to do that day, and it says, “So you’ll have a backstage where you’ll be with your own personal doctor who’ll be injecting you with rabies shots and all kinds of inoculations,” um... however he explained it, “...to inoculate yourself against the disgusting fans.”
And I replied, “I fucking hate that,” and he replied, “I know.” So I get to the building and I’m like... you can imagine the mood I’m in when I get to the building. Now the word just from my response has already circulated that I might not be very excited about this, so when Michael Hayes coming up to me, “How you doing, Dean? Heard you’re not very... not real excited about your promo.”
And I was like, “No... why? I’ve been talking about this for months. Why am I always doing this goofy crap? Y’know, this has been me and Vince butting heads on this since February, you know? We’ll get to that later, but so they hand me this sheet and it’s just... ugh, as bad as you imagine. And uh, then I got... I remember I got herded into some kinda like sexual harrassment meeting that we all had to do or whatever. So I’m just sitting in this meeting while they’re talking and I’m just staring at this promo and just SEETHING.
And I’m like, as soon as this meeting is over I’m going to bolt right to Vince’s office. Right? And uh so as soon as I get out of the door of the meeting the writer’s already in front of me and he’s like, “Hey, uh, Vince wants to talk to you about this promo, he wants to make sure you know it’s not comedy.” So Vince anticipated that I was gonna come storming in there and go, “Why am I doing all this prop comedy all the time?” ‘Cause I’ve been having the same argument with him for like a year now.
So anyway, I go into Vince’s office and he’s like “Hey pal! So this promo, I want you to know this is not comedy.” And he’s got the promo in his hand and he’s pointing to it, “This is such good stuff, it’s so well-written, and it’s gonna get you a ton of heat.” That’s exactly what he said-- “It’s so well-written, and it’s gonna get you a ton of heat.” And he’s explaining it to me, you know, you’ll get rabies, and of course, y’know, uh, distemper, which y’know people don’t know it’s for dogs, and he’s laughing and I’m like, thinking like, “What? How’s this...?”
And I remember saying something like it’s just more of this Carrot Top prop comedy and he’s like “There’s no props!” and I’m like, then what is the actor we hired to play the doctor and the giant syringe, is that not a prop? Y’know, so... I had the feeling in my head that this was going to be the last time I was going to say this to him, and I’ve had to say this to him a bunch of times.
I went, “If this is what you want on your show, I am the best man for the job. ‘Cause like I always do when you throw me these crazy curve balls, I pull this stuff off. If I can. So I’m going to do like I always do and give this my absolute best effort to make this good. If anybody can, it’s me.” And I kinda had a feeling like, this is the last time I’m going to have to say this to him, y’know.
And he’s like “Ah, I know you will, get outta here ya scamp, get to work!” So we go do the thing, it’s awful, y’know. I can’t save it, y’know, and uh, we were able to pretape that and uh, before the show. And it got greenlit by Vince, y’know, everybody’s high-fiving, “Vince loved it!” and I’m like [flat affect] “Great.” So I was able to get out-- I got a Southwest flight, and I was able to get out that night.
I couldn’t have gotten out of that building any faster. I mean, I... earlier in the day I had been like thinking, “I gotta walk out.” I remember having a feeling of, like, dizziness. Like a weird pit of my stomach feeling dizziness, and talking to some of my friends like, “I can’t work here. What is this? What are we doing? What? Are they trying... it’s so embarrassing.” Like actual dizziness, you know what I mean, like I can’t believe what’s happening, y’know?
So like, I bolt out of there, I go to the airport and I was just like... I just sat down at the bar at the airport and was just like... so depressed. Just like... ‘cause I was like that might be the thing. ‘Cause I always kept waiting to like, when would be the thing that I couldn’t recover from? ‘Cause you know, you do have some stupid segment where everybody’s like, “What is that, catsup and mustard? What’s he doing, why is...”, or whatever, but then I can recover.
I was always able to recover, I remember sitting there and thinking like, that might be the one I just can’t recover from. AND, remember what I was saying about the line in the uh, previous promo, the week or so before? This promo also had a line regarding my actual friend who’s going through actual leukemia, that Vince wanted me to say. That he tried to talk me into saying.
This is where I said, where I absolutely drew the line. I was like, absolutely not, no. And he actually tried to talk me into it a little bit, but I... I was like, absolutely not. And he was like “Well, if you feel uncomfortable, that’s fine,” y’know I’m like... no. That’s where I had to finally put my foot down.
Jericho: This is another cancer reference to Roman?
Mox: Yeah. And it’s... it is the worst line. You cannot... I’m not gonna say it on air, I’ll tell you after we’re done, but I’m not even gonna say it on air, that’s how bad it was. It would have been like, a thing where like somebody would have had to get fired. Maybe even me! They would have lost sponsors, like the Susan G. Komen and all that, it would have been like...
And I don’t know who wrote it, I dunno if it was Vince himself or if it was a writer and you’re listening right now, you should be ashamed of yourself. You, like... You wouldn’t believe it. But if I had just said it, if I had just been like “Okay!” and just read the script, I can’t imagine, y’know? But it would have been on me, not on Vince, y’know? Uh... anyway, so that’s that day.
Those are just two examples of a day in the life of me.
Jericho: When did this start getting this way for you? You mentioned you were there for eight years but you said for six years, ‘cause like... when we worked together in ‘16 it wasn’t like that. I mean, you were the Lunatic Fringe, a little bit nuts, but it wasn’t like you were like, this wacky... I mean you did wacky stuff, Mitch the potted plant and all that ridiculous shit, but it wasn’t like, you know, giving yourself inoculations from the stinky people in Poughkeepsie.
Mox: I mean at least when I was a babyface I could still kinda be like lovable, y’know? And uh... fans always stayed on my side through all the crap, you know what I mean, they forgave me for all the stupid crap I was forced to do. But even like when we were working together, that’s when... I mean, it was during that period of time I was starting to get really brain dead.
Like, just like, we tried really hard to get cool stuff and we did some good stuff, but I mean, I was like, pretty brain... getting brain dead at that point, like starting to get like... ‘Cause it’s like they take wrestling away from you. Wrestling is my first love, my only love besides my wife, uh... the thing I’m most passionate about. I love it. I feel like now I got it back finally, y’know.
Since I was a little kid I was obsessed with just watching tapes, always watching tapes, always thinking of promos. I’d wanna watch all the wrestling, I’d love pacing around my house just thinking of promos, waking up in the middle of the night because you just thought of a cool line, a way to tell the story of the match or whatever, like... [sharp excited inhale] Oh my god... and I’m just pacing around the house, cutting promos in a mirror.
Promos used to be my favorite part of wrestling, I loved ‘em. They ended up becoming my least favorite part, the part I dread, because it’s not me coming up with ideas and coming up with a way to hook you into our story, it’s me trying to not look like an idiot, me trying to appease all these different people. Y’know, sitting down with a writer while he’s writing... that’s not how it’s supposed to be, you know?
It’s like, when I first... they never had any plans for me as a babyface. NEVER. Right, when the Shield broke up I think they were gonna feud me with Seth and then if I just petered out and went away, they would have been fine with that. They had no idea I was gonna get over, and I got over on my own. My vision-- y’know, they had the Authority and stuff at the time, y’know, which is kinda perfect for me, and my vision for the character kinda was like... Okay, I have no idea how to be a babyface.
I had no idea, so my idea was like 90% John McClane from Die Hard and then like 10% whatever, Dusty Rhodes, whatever other people I’m inspired by, I dunno, Bret Hart, Big Japan deathmatch guys, whatever, you know what I mean? Gets his ass kicked all the time, perseveres, walks through glass in bare feet, maybe throws a one-liner out there, which I’m capable of.
Which may have been one of my biggest mistakes, because once I showed them that I had even a SHRED of comedic timing, it was over, now they’re writing jokes for me. But it’s like, I’ll write my own jokes. If it’s time for a joke, I’ll know. So it’s like... so I got over on my own, ‘cause I think people really felt that I was fighting for my life those first few months as a babyface.
And like, everybody else is gonna be pyro and all these crazy entrances and I’m just gonna walk to the ring, no entrance, no gimmicks, just... I’m fighting. And I really felt like I was, like, fighting for my life, and I think that’s why the people, uh, connected with me there. And then when they were like “Whoa, he got over” and I started selling a bunch of merchandise and then they were like... now they have to get their hands on it and try to turn you into what they think you should be or whatever.
And like for whatever reason it is, me and Vince, my particular type of charisma, Vince just can’t like let me be. He’s gotta like put a hat on me or put me in a goofy vehicle or something. Y’know? For whatever reason we’re like Mentos and Diet Coke man, me and Vince together just create this explosion of goofy nonsense, that I had to test. I tried my hardest and I always tried to stay positive and... always tried to stay positive and be grateful for this opportunity that I had.
And I felt like I had a responsibility to all these fans, too, that I was put in this position of, like, Make-A-Wish guy and all that, and that might sound corny and stupid if you’ve never been in that position, but it’s real. And also just like, trying to save money, y’know? Trying to... the ultimate goal was to be where we’re at now, y’know?
I mean, so... to go on a linear story of 2018 is like... so we started the year with surgery around Christmas, from said injury. And I was working hurt and just in a lot of pain and really miserable and just really not... no adrenaline before matches, just like, couldn’t wait to get out of the ring just ‘cause everything hurt. Everything was like... my arm was starting to just wither away, I couldn’t do anything physically, I mean and more injuries on top of that. I mean, I was just banged up.
Like, so when I go home from the surgery I’m like, okay I’m just checking out mentally from wrestling. I think I’m just burned out, y’know? I’m just like I’m a little burned out, it’s fine. I’m gonna heal this injury, I’m gonna come back better than ever, maybe this is a blessing in disguise, right? Maybe this is just a break I need mentally. And, y’know, you get away from the fans for a little while, absence makes the heart grow fonder, come back stronger than ever, right?
So, end up having to move to Birmingham, do rehab, so... I’m waking up in the morning, going-- once I kinda got rehab where I could train and stuff, rehabbing twice a day then I’m waking up in the morning and going for a run, going for my first rehab, go eat lunch or whatever, maybe hit the chiropractor, go back for a second rehab, then go hit the gym and lift weights, y’know, then... every single day.
Like a... just a machine, trying to build myself into the best version of myself. ‘Cause I’m already thinking like, okay, if it’s only gonna be eight more months I don’t want to give myself any reason to lingering of like, “maybe if I’d have just tried this, or...” I wanted to make sure I’d exhausted all my options with WWE and that I was totally sure that this was what I wanted to do, right? I didn’t want to like, go out with a whimper, you know what I mean?
I was like I’m gonna give this my absolute best effort in every way, whether that’s pitching ideas up in Vince’s face 24/7, whatever it takes, I... y’know what I mean? So I remember like around July, I think at this point all I could do is the recumbent bike because my arm was still jacked up, so I went to town on that recumbent bike. I was getting there every day, putting it on and just cranking on it.
I like to do, sometimes, you know we like to sit around the house and put on, like, concerts and just hang out and talk and watch concerts. And I like to do that sometimes like, when I’m doing something like that, like I’d just be riding the bike and put my phone up and put on, like, concerts. Performances. I love watching performances of anybody who’s... any guy or girl who’s awesome at what they do, y’know, whether that’s Freddie Mercury at Live Aid or Cody gave me a good one, uh, The Killers from Royal Albert Hall.
Y’know, Woodstock 99, whatever it is you’re into, y’know? And I remember watching like some concert and just watching people in their element, just playing their music the way they want to play it and just hitting on all cylinders and just connecting with the crowd on all cylinders and like maybe change a little lyric up, maybe sing it a little different way, just in the zone, y’know? You know, you’re a frickin’ rock star.
Jericho: Right, yeah yeah.
Mox: And I remember thinking, like, getting a little sad because I haven’t felt that way in a long time. Huh. Y’know? So I think that was when the seed was planted, because like I’m just shackled at WWE. So once I get back from Birmingham, now I’m like training, I’m getting ready to go, finally finishing up the healing process, y’know, now I’m like okay it’s time to start dipping my toe back into wrestling, check out the product a little bit, the current product.
Y’know, and I start just getting obsessed again, like I haven’t watched wrestling in months. So I’m watching new stuff, I’m watching old stuff, I’m watching stuff I liked when I was a kid, I’m watching stuff from Japan, I’m watching stuff from the indies, I’m watching Impact, I’m watching Ring of Honor, I’m watching everything and I’m getting like so excited and I’m thinking of all these ideas and I’m getting revved up and I’m like ready to go.
But then I started thinking, like, y’know... I’d come up with ideas like whoa, I could come back and do this, or wouldn’t it be a cool way to come back and do this? Or I could go back and do that, oh that’d be cool too, and every time I go, “No, they wouldn’t go for that. No, they wouldn’t go for that either. No, they wouldn’t go for that either.” And then I started thinking, man, maybe they’re sitting around the writer’s room right now, discussing what they’re gonna do for the return and it’s like me coming back in the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile or something.
Then I started getting like anxiety and started going, “Ugh, I’m so excited to come back to wrestling, but I’m not excited about coming back to WWE.” I was picturing myself coming back to other places. I was picturing myself coming back to like, CZW, I was picturing myself in Japan, anywhere but WWE. Y’know, and then I’m like... but like I said, I was gonna ride this out to the end no matter what.
So when it comes time to come back, I took a page out of your book and I flew to Stamford to meet with Vince. And I had had another meeting with him in February when they had a show in Vegas and I went in and I was like, look, when I come back we’ve got a long time to plan and I want to come back as a heel, as a totally different character. And I was explaining to him, how... I’m always telling him this, but I’m like, trying to really hammer the point home-- I hate my own character.
I hate looking at myself in the mirror. I hate everything I do. You give me this goofy stuff, I try my best to hit out of the park, it works sometimes but I’m like this is an opportunity to evolve and change and grow. I want to be something different. At that point I thought that I might be able to come back at WrestleMania, right about the four month mark. So that was the pitch, to come back, maybe get Seth or whatever, and kinda redebut at WrestleMania as a new character.
I would be out a lot longer than that, y’know, but I had already told him all this in February so now I’m gonna double up in it. I’m gonna fly to New York as you told me to do, ‘cause you told me a long time ago you gotta pitch to Vince in person. And I’m like, I didn’t want to go to a show where he’s busy, I was like... And I thought that would go a long way to tell him how serious I am-- who flies themselves to New York? I’ll bet nobody’s done that probably since you did it last.
So I have a meeting with him or whatever, we sit down, and I go over the same stuff. I pitch all my ideas for coming back, y’know I had thought about maybe coming back on SmackDown and feuding with like AJ and Daniel Bryan. Uh, come back, y’know, come back as a heel or come back and immediately... I dunno, I had a bunch of different ideas open to talk and discuss, y’know what I mean?
But anything but what I’ve been doing for the last couple years, y’know? And all it was was, well, y’know they have the Shield booked for this big show in Australia in October and that’s already advertised, so there’s no way I’m gonna be heel any time before then. And basically it was like I’m just coming back as Seth’s partner and we’re just gonna do-- which I love tagging with Seth, great matches, but...
Jericho: More of the same.
Mox: Yeah, just the same... Basically their idea for me coming back was exactly what everyone expected, no shock, nothing different, just... good ol’ Lunatic Fringe, again. Like... that’s it? And I remember leaving real deflated, like “That’s all we’re gonna do?” I at least got him to, like... I was like, they wanted me to come back the week before SummerSlam and then just at SummerSlam be in Seth’s corner and I was like at least let me come back AT SummerSlam, make a big impact or whatever, I dunno if that’s the right idea or not and they’re like, okay, you can come back at SummerSlam.
So I leave, I’m like deflated, y’know, I’m in Ohio training with, uh, I flew out Joey Mercury and uh, who’s that, my original trainer Cody Hawk’s gym, y’know, we’re doing some training, I’m getting ready, I’m trying to go back to just like old-school physical wrestling the way I started, y’know, no hitting the ropes, just real meat and potatoes beating people up wrestling, y’know? Training my ass off to get back in the ring.
We’re at dinner that night, I’m sitting there that night and I get a text from Koski, “I actually want to bring you back to TV this week and you’re just gonna come out and you’re in Seth’s corner.” So it’s exactly what they originally told me, they pretended like they were gonna go with my idea but they didn’t and I remember just being like... I’m not even back yet and I’m already pissed off!
And I’m like... their idea didn’t even have any physicality! And I just remember showing the text to Joey and Cody and being like, look at this, is this a good return to you? I’ve been out for nine months, they want me to walk out and just like...
Jericho: Hey guys!
Mox: Like... but that’s what we did. I at least got them to add some physicality in there.
Here’s another example. This is not a big deal. It’s not a big deal at all. It’s a tiny little example about how they just screw everything up. So y’know, you’re on the shelf for nine months, y’know, something that keeps you going, you’re imagining like, your pop. That like, unexpected, [guitar noise], music hits, [crowd noise], place goes nuts, we haven’t seen him in a long time, y’know?
You’re waiting for that, you can’t wait for that. So they have these promo segments going on and I didn’t realize that they... the way they wrote this, I’m waiting there, standing behind the curtain, waiting to, waiting for that pop, okay this is all gonna be worth it, nine months, it’s all gonna be worth it for this pop, man. And the way it’s written, Seth goes, and it’s not his fault, he was just reading the line, “If you’re gonna have a Scottish Psychopath in your corner... eh... then I’m gonna have a lunatic in mine!”
So like kinda the crowd went “Oh, he’s in!” so like, it like, it muddled the pop into like four different reactions because people were listening and then some people were popping and blah and by the time I came out they were going nuts but like, it’s a small example of like... they ruin everything! How do you screw that up?! Hit the button, play the mu-- but it’s like they have to get their hands in it, they have to like justify their jobs or something. It’s a great example of overproducing EVERYTHING. How do you screw that up, y’know? Unbelievable.
[Jericho cuts a promo advertising bug traps.]
Jericho: When you were, uh, even before the existence of AEW or you even knowing about it, what was your plan to, like you said, you wanted to finish up and go, you mentioned CZW and Japan, is that kinda what you were thinking of doing before you even knew about AEW?
Mox: Yeah, for sure. Like, uh, I mean, people are gonna get really into this everybody wants the Monday Night Wars back and everybody’s gonna want to have this big Monday Night War between AEW and WWE, my leaving WWE exists outside of that. Whether AEW exists or not, I was still leaving WWE. Whether the-- I mean, it was good to know the wrestling business was doing so well outside of WWE, but even if it wasn’t, I still would have left. If there was no other promotions in the world, I still would have left WWE. If there were no other wrestlers, I would have just started my own promotion, started my own training school, and trained my own opponents. I would have re-seeded the wrestling business from scratch if I had to.
But the timing of it is just, it’s so crazy, like this... Me and Cody just keep going back and forth, and you too, just serendipity. All these little things, it’s just so serendipitous. It’s just... and I love, and obviously that was the instant rumor as soon as it came out, “Oh he’s going to AEW”, but people don’t know anything, you know?
Jericho: And others were saying you were making a movie and that you were retiring and that you were gonna go...
Mox: Yeah, I saw every possible rumor. I get a text every day for like a screenshot or a link or whatever, is this true, is this true, is this true? Every single... and I guess silence drives people nuts and I’ve just been silent. People hate silence, they have to know, and the people that are supposed to know, they have to say something! Y’know, like, so... they keep saying that they’re gonna, there’s new contracts coming. I know I’m not gonna sign it but I’m like “Okay.”
It’s coming next week, it’s coming next week, we just gotta get through Saudi, then a new contract’s coming, y’know. I’m like okay, okay, and I’m waiting for it because I’m relishing the opportunity for them to go “Here’s your new contract,” and for me to go “Not interested!” I’m like waiting for it, I’m excited about it ‘cause I dunno how they’re gonna react.
And it doesn’t come and it doesn’t come and then it’s like Royal Rumble weekend and I’m thinking like, I know I’m supposed to work with Seth on the Monday and Carrano’s like it’s coming Monday, Hunter wants to give it to you personally or whatever. And I just like, couldn’t hold it in anymore, we were at like some Axxess or something and I just couldn’t hold it in anymore.
I was like, dude, look, in 114 days or whatever it was, and he’s like, before you say anything, hold on, and I’m like “I am gone” and he’s like [garbled talking sounds] and I was like... here’s what... I said this is not, and this is what I told Vince, too, and Hunter, 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 okay. Y’know, and he’s like “Ah, y’know... you want me to tell them?” and I’m like... I... do what... I’m gonna talk to Vince on Monday, I’m sure you’re gonna... because I’m trying not to ruffle any feathers, y’know, Royal Rumble weekend... I didn’t tell anybody. I didn’t tell Seth because I knew he was going over in the Rumble and I didn’t want to put any weird mojo on him, y’know?
So I’m just like, look, just tell Vince, if you want I’ll talk to him Monday, I can tell him after the show, before the show, we can talk next week, no rush. I’m here for the 90 days or whatever it is, y’know I’m just putting it out there so you all know before you start advertising for Europe tours and your Mania plans and all that. Seems like a time when you need to know, Royal Rumble weekend, that like, who you got going forward and who you don’t. I’m trying not to make any trouble.
So we get to Raw the next day and I’m also secretly hoping that I’ll just work with Seth, he’ll curb stomp me into oblivion, and I’ll get to go home. ‘Cause I’m thinking there’s no way they’re gonna keep me on TV.
Jericho: It’s like February or something, or...?
Mox: It’s January. There’s no way they’re gonna keep me on TV if they know I’m gonna be gone in three months, right? Or they could try to bury me or whatever, but I’m, y’know... I dunno, we’ll see what happens. So I’m thinking... so it’s in Phoenix, early show, again, 5 o’clock, so the meeting’s going on early so I’m like, I’m waiting for the meeting to get over so that I can, I’ll talk to Vince, be like hey you want to talk now, after, whatever, no rush. Not telling anybody, and uh, working with Seth, whatever.
About an hour before the show, producer comes up to me and is like, “Uh, there’s been some additions,” I’m like, “What?” and he’s like “So anyway, you stay out there after the commercial break, Nia’s music hits, she comes out, yadda yadda, and you take a bump for her.” And I’m like, “Are you serious?” and he says, “Yep.” Johnny comes running up to me like [extremely Johnny Ace voice], “Uh we’ve got some additions, Vince said in his office, whatever, uh Nia comes out, take the bump, you know you can go talk to him if you’re uncomfortable with it,” and I said “Yes! Let’s talk!” because now I’m getting hot.
And it’s not ‘cause I don’t... I’m not... I’m totally cool with taking a bump with Nia-- for Nia, I did it, it’s 2019, she’s a very powerful woman, she did great in the Royal Rumble the night before. If this existed outside of me leaving, that’s a totally different conversation. But I knew... because, here’s the thing, the production meeting whittles down as it goes along. They get rid of some people and then they get rid of the writers and then... so an hour before the show it’s down to the super secret meeting where it’s only like Vince and Hunter and maybe like Koski, those are the only people that knew I was leaving.
So once it goes down to the super secret meeting where it’s only the people that know I was leaving, that’s when this mysterious new addition comes in? And it really felt like, just a middle finger so like my skin was hot and I was like “Let’s go talk to Vince!” So I go like storming to the production meeting room, Johnny’s following me behind, papers flailing everywhere, and I come storming into there. I come storming right into the middle of like the production meeting room and he just immediately gets up and he’s grabbing his stuff and he’s like “Oh my office, my office!” and I’m like, “Yes, let’s go to your office!”
And he starts babyfacing me and he’s like, “Oh, I understand you gave your notice and you know, thank you so much for everything” and I’m like, I guess we’re doing this now. And, y’know, so we have our talk or whatever and by this point he’s tried to justify it in his mind, y’know, ‘cause Carrano said something-- I told Carrano like, yeah, I think the day I knew I was gone was that day I got the shot, so I think he told Vince that ‘cause Vince goes, “Yeah I mean I heard you were unhappy with something about the shot thing we did, I wish you’d have told me. I didn’t know you had all these problems.” And I’m like, I’m thinking in my head, why the fuck was I in your office, then?! I went storming in there and said “What the hell is this?!” like I do all the time, how do you not know?! Of course you know!
But he’s gotta, he’s gotta y’know, make everything okay in his mind. “I didn’t know, I had no idea!” and I’m like... you knew. Like... you’ve known for a long time. So. But I’m still trying to babyface him, be as nice as possible, show him my gratitude, you know what I mean. It got a little emotional, you know what I mean, and uh... on both sides! And uh, but I said, I took the opportunity to say EVERYTHING that I wanted to say, because I’d been having this conversation in my head for months.
So I was like, I’m getting everything off my chest, and I told him, I was like, “Every Monday I get a physical sick feeling in my stomach. And it happens every Monday, on the dot, a writer will come up to me, ‘Hey Dean, we got you for stage six’ or whatever, and he’s got a script in his hand. And I don’t know what kind of goofy nonsense, what kind of embarrassing stuff is on that script, and what kind of challenges will lay ahead to just not look like an idiot today, and like I get a physical sick feeling in my stomach.”
And he’s like, “I can’t, [sputtering], wish I had known.” And I’m like, I can’t live like that. I can’t live in a world where I’m in, like, Paducah, Kentucky on a Friday working a house show and there’s some writers who I don’t even know writing words for me in some office, that... you know what I mean? I just... I can’t do it anymore. Y’know, like... but I’m trying to be as, you know, just like, yeah, I just need to get away for a while, because I’m hoping that he just writes me off of TV that night.
And then he goes like, “Ah, y’know, we’ll just finish you up at Mania, y’know, and whatever, and we’re not going to bury you on the way out or anything like that.” And I went, “Actually, it’s funny you mention that, because that’s the reason I stormed in here, because it looks to me like that’s exactly what the fuck you’re doing.” And he goes “Oh no no no,” and he proceeds to tell me this whole thing, idea he’s got for me and Nia, and all I hear is “We’re burying the fuck out of you, blah blah blah, we’re burying the fuck out of you.”
”It’s an attraction!” and I was like, okay, and I went to Johnny like “Okay. Alright.” So I’m like, let’s do it, and we actually had a good time. It was like, fun, we were doing the rehearsal, we’re just trying not to laugh, I was like saying funny things to her, y’know, whatever. It was over! They took the bump, they were like “Let them fight!”, I’m like hey, that was cool, whatever.
Jericho: But you guys were actually even supposed to do some house shows and stuff like that, too, with it.
Mox: Yeah, I don’t know what all they had planned. Oh, and also that night, because I worked with Seth before that and there was a promo before, with me and Seth and Triple H. It was live, I don’t know what might happen, because I just told them I’m leaving and now there’s this... there’s all this AEW stuff happening too, that has nothing to do with it but I’m like, I dunno what--
Jericho: But now the cat’s out of the bag with AEW.
Mox: Only Hunter and Vince and me knew, but I don’t know what I’m going into with this live promo, right? Cause I’m like... Not that I don’t think... Not that I don’t trust Triple H or think he would do something, whatever, but they are ruthless businessmen and they don’t care. So I don’t know what I’m going in for. So I go out there and I’m like, as long as my mic is live, I’m good. So I got bullets in the chamber and it’s kinda like a half shoot kinda promo anyway, know what I mean, and you have a little bit of room with Triple H to wiggle and play around a little bit, but I got bullets in the chamber. This can get as awkward as you guys want it to get. I’m ready.
But nothing bad happened, y’know, it all went great. Whatever.
Jericho: The fact that you recognized that, like you said, that’s a very ruthless businessman type of a thing. Because they actually like you mentioned, they said you were gonna finish up at Mania. You didn’t, you prettymuch went down to the wire but I mean, they were pushing you all the way up to the end. The final thing with the Shield, I mean, they didn’t try and bury you on the way out at all as far as I recall.
Mox: Well it’s open to interpretation. After that, it might have been the next day after that thing with Nia, now the rumors leak out. Now everybody knows, now my phone doesn’t stop ringing for 48 hours, everybody’s like is this a work, what’s going on, whatever. So now they put out this weird press release...
Jericho: Yeah, let’s talk about that.
Mox: It was so bizarre! People are like “What is this press release?” and I was like, that’s awesome! It’s never been done before! All that ever happens is the, uh, wish for future endeavors.
Jericho: Yeah, ‘cause the press release basically said, y’know, Ambrose’s contract, he’s not re-signing and he’ll be leaving in the end of April and we wish him luck and hope he comes back and they’ve never trumpeted that before.
Mox: It’s unprecedented! It was like a glowing review, and uh, so I was like, alright, cool, I dunno. I’m not saying anything. What I think happened is they just felt like they were getting backlash or whatever... I don’t know the motivation behind that press release, but that’s why a lot of people thought it was a work.
Jericho: Well yeah, ‘cause... maybe because they wanted to have the jump on it because they knew rumors would get around.
Mox: Exactly. Because they want to control the narrative. That’s the thing that Vince hated about this whole situation, why it was so bizarre and there were so many ups and downs - cause he has no control. Because I told him I don’t care how many zeros you want to put on a piece of paper, I am gone. And he just got - he’s got the million dollar man complex. He has to be able to buy everyt - he’s got to be able - that’s why he pays Brock billions of dollars to come in and ruin his company, cause he wants to own Brock. He wants to be like, ‘Ah, Brock’s my attraction,’ you know? A guy he has no power over - me - he didn’t know how to handle it. So it was like, it went in a bunch of different weird crazy directions over five months.
Jericho: Did he ever actually give you the new deal and what did you do when they did?
Mox: I never looked at it.
Jericho: So they literally gave you a contract in an envelope or whatever and you just took it and gave it right back?
Mox: I didn’t look at it, no. I didn’t want to.
Jericho: But that shows how, and like I said, I can empathize with you because I went through the same thing when I left WCW, where you can offer me a million dollars, I’m not taking it. Because it’s not about the money any more. It’s about literally, like you mentioned, killing my love for this business. It’s all I ever wanted to do and now I don’t want to do it any more. And Eddie felt the same, and Benoit felt the same, and Malenko felt the same. It was killing you will to be a part of this business at all.
Mox: Dude, yeah. I remember thinking at one point early on in the - thinking about the decision, what if they offer me ten million dollars. What if - like a Brock contract? What if they offer me ten million dollars? What am I gonna do with ten million dollars? My truck is paid off, my house is paid off, my mother’s house is paid off - I got everything I need! What am I gonna do with ten million dollars? Am I gonna go buy a Mazzerati? I don’t live like that. So there’s literally no number they can put on a piece of paper that would get me to stay. It’s almost like, over the years, like a physical depression sets in. Cause they take away the thing that you love. Like I was saying, being obsessed with wrestling 24/7, it’s like they take it away from you. ‘Oh, don’t worry about coming up with your own promos, we have a writer. Don’t worry about coming up with cool things to do in your matches, cause we have producers who will tell exactly what to do in your matches. Don’t bother thinking of storylines, cause we’ve already written ‘em for you.’
Jericho: Don’t be an artist and be creative.
Mox: Don’t worry - we’ve taken care of everything! You just show up. So you’re just like oh, okay. So what do I do in my off-time? What do I have to think about? Uh... so you try to fill it with other things, and that’s a recipe for a very unhappy person. A very unfulfilled existence. And I think just like a depression set in at some point, like not to minimize anybody who actually goes through like real depression - I remember like WedMD-ing it, cause there were days like, TV days where I’d be like, be in bed, wake up and just like stare at the ceiling and like, couldn’t get out of bed. Like no motivation to work out, no motivation to do...
Mox: ...just dreading going, having this moment with the writer that I’m gonna have that I described, to Vince, like, it’s crazy. The fog that has drifted slowly since it became real, that like - I am leaving, it’s all good - to now, I’m like literally an entirely different person.
Jericho: They call it Stockholm Syndrome, where people are like in prison and they end up falling in love with their captor, and can’t envision not being in prison and not being told what to do by the warden, for example. And I’m not saying it’s like the same thing as WWE, but when you’re in that system, you don’t realize what it’s like in the outside world. And when you get on the outside world, it’s like, I can’t believe it’s this easy. I can’t believe this is really how it can be, not in that world.
Mox: Yeah, it’s crazy, man. Looking back on it now, I can’t believe I hung in there that long. And it’s a shame to think of like, I don’t every want to be one of those “I could have been a contendah” guys who sit and bitch about the past like, what should have been. “I shoulda been on top but I got screwed by Hogan...” While I do think there was a lot of stuff they missed out on with me, I don’t care. It’s over. I don’t think it was meant to happen. I think I was meant to be sitting here today, talking to you. Cause the ultimate goal, or the ultimate reward I got from WWE was that now, I’m sitting here with all my freedom, and I got to do that. And it’s like, it’s the ultimate gift because it’s almost like, now I get to start over. It’s like I’m 18 again. I can be anything I want to be, I can - as a wrestler, as a performer, as an artist - I can do anything. And now I have experience and stuff that I can... I’m starting ahead of the game now, you know?
Jericho: And you can also, we discussed this before, make a difference. You or I going back there, or you staying. It’s the WWE. It’s not going anywhere, it’s the machine, it is what it is. We have a chance to actually change things in the business with AEW and be a big part of this new history.
Mox: Dude, it’s very exciting. Like, to be able to be a difference-maker is such a - I haven’t had that in, I can’t even remember. One thing that I want to do is cause like, if I have something to prove, it’s that I want to prove that your creative process, the WWE’s creative process sucks. It does not work. It’s absolutely terrible. And I’ve said that to Vince. I’ve said that to Hunter. I’ve said that to Michael Hayes. I think that - I can’t even tell you how their system works. It’s some kind of system of meetings that take place in Stamford with the home team, it’s writers and producers and production meetings and nobody knows what’s approved and what’s not and like the bureaucratic red tape you have to go through to get anything approved is just - it’s crazy. It doesn’t work. It’s killing the company. I think Vince is the problem. And not so much Vince, but Vince and whatever the structure that he built around himself, probably starting I’d imagine like 2002 after the sale of WCW, and he started building this infrastructure around himself - this team of writers and whatever and producers and however he does it, and this is how WWE is and this is what the product is, the product sucks. Great talent, amazing talent, none of this is their fault, you know? So I’m hoping, if I have a goal with AEW is that’s we prove that Vince’s way sucks. I mean this is not what I’m gonna focus on, because it’s not about competing with WWE. I don’t think that’s any of our...
Jericho: Yeah. It’s an alternative.
Mox: ... any of our mission. We’re just gonna be over here doing our best. Putting on our best product. And if a byproduct of that is it pushes WWE to re-evaluate their creative process, and it makes Vince - not that he’s gonna step aside, we all know he’s gonna die in his chair - but maybe he’ll listen to somebody else’s ideas. Maybe he’ll be open to doing it a different way.
Jericho: Maybe he won’t micro-manage everything so much. I think that’s the biggest problem.
Mox: The last - I’ve never been micro-managed more than I was in the last four months, once I turned heel. It was so weird.
[Jericho cuts a promo advertising electric toothbrushes for Father’s Day.]
[Jericho follows this up with a promo advertising the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s campaign to remind you to buckle your seatbelt.]
Jericho: Did you feel at any point, besides the few times you mentioned with Nia Jax, that they tried to bury you in any other way?
Mox: Well... so after that they did the weird press release, then they put me against EC3, debuting from NXT. Great talent, great friend of mine, excited to work with him. They have EC3 come in as a babyface, defeat me in two minutes. I dunno if this is before or after the press release, uh... it’s at like the same time. The crowd does not like this, because it’s transparent what’s happening and this is not a... this is not good for EC3, because now he’s gonna get the backlash.
So it was an unfair position for him to be put in. So we get to that weekend, I’m working with EC3 on house shows, now I’m the biggest babyface on the show. I’m a heel, I’m thumbing him in the eye, I’m making fun of the town, it doesn’t matter, they’re...
Jericho: Because you’re the bigger name and you’re the underdog now.
Mox: Yeah, they’re violently rejecting him as a babyface and they’re cheering the hell out of me. It’s got nothing to do with him, it’s like an anti-WWE...
Jericho: Yeah, you’re a martyr.
Mox: Yeah so... then they go, talking to the writer by text and he’s like “You’re gonna work with EC3 again, he beats you in two minutes again,” and I was like, I couldn’t help it, I was like, “Fine, that’s cool. Am I the only one that sees the inherent problem in this?” And even the writer knew, was like “Oh, that it’s making you a babyface or looks like we were burying you and that’s backfiring?” and I was like, “Yep, that stuff, that’s what I was talking about” and he was like “Yep, I know.”
But it’s Vince, “He’s got you, he’s determined!” So by the time we get to that Monday there are, from what I understand, the reports from the house shows, the producers telling him what happened, and he’s pissed. Apparently he’s like, mad about this. That like, god forbid, so sorry that the fans, who I’ve busted my ass for for years, might be upset at the fact that you want to bury me on the way out, y’know, like... Sorry, dude, y’know?
That I’ve given my body up for, sorry that they have a shred of respect for me that you apparently don’t have. So then I get to TV that night and they’re just like, Jamie’s a producer, he comes up to me and he goes, “You’re going to do a little promo with Seth, he’s a heel and you’re a babyface.” We just switch roles, no explanation, so I guess that was their solution.
And then like, the Shield comes back and we do that whole thing, and then I start working a series of matches with Drew McIntyre who, we’ve had a bunch of great matches but now it’s like increasingly more DQ matches and every week I think this is finally where they write me off. So they put me through tables, they put me head in a guardrail, smashed my head off, he’s kicking my head off every week, now it’s like a different gimmick match every week so it’s like they tried to kill me figuratively twice and it backfired so now they’re just going to kill me literally and... y’know...
I was like okay and just kept, y’know... and it was crazy because like a couple weeks before Mania and I’m like in the main event of Raw and I’m like... this is... impossibly somehow I’m in the main event of Raw! I thought for sure they were gonna take me off of TV, but he has to be in control somehow, he has to exert whatever control over me he could.
Jericho: How big was it for the Shield to kinda be disbanded and be done? Because the Shield, I think, you’re looking at one of the, probably one of the biggest factions, with DX top two, top three of all time and to me that was a huge thing from a business, kind of a sideline business thing where not only are we losing Ambrose, but we’re losing the Shield as well.
Mox: Yeah, I mean, uh... you know how much I got paid for the last show I did?
Jericho: And now this is the Shield special...
Mox: This is a house show.
Jericho: Talking about, uh... Hello, Renee! Hi. The Shield special, live on the Network...
Mox: This is literally, they turned this into a special, flew in writers and camera men and everything, put it on the Network, basically for me... Five hundred dollars. Got paid five hundred bucks for that sucker. [Laughter] I can just imagine Vince and like Carrano and them, at the, “What are we gonna pay?” “Five hundred bucks, screw him!” Which is like, the minimum... what you get just to show up and not work.
Jericho: That’s what you get if you’re an opening match guy from NXT, y’know, not building a whole special around you.
Mox: Yeah, if you show up to TV and they don’t use you, you get five hundred bucks. Or like I think that’s what extras get.
Jericho: Yeah, yeah, you’re right.
Mox: That’s like, the minimum. Five hundred bucks for a Network special, c’mon! I thought about calling them for a second, but I was like, nah, it’s funnier to just...
Jericho: Do you remember when we headlined Asheville, it was the Ashville Street Fight, Jericho vs. Ambrose, and they paid us seven hundred and fifty bucks?
Mox: Yeah, and you said “I don’t get off my couch for seven hundred and fifty dollars!”
Jericho: Yeah, I told Vince, I said “Next time can I set up a table, sell some gimmicks in the back of the room like Virgil?”
Mox: Yeah, right?
Jericho: And you know what that is, that’s just one last little kinda “Eff you, Ambrose, here’s your five hundred bucks, see you later pal!”
Mox: Yeah, I actually like it, I should frame that check.
Jericho: Yeah, don’t spend it, for sure. Um, a few other things as we start to wind down here-- when you started really embracing the concept of AEW and now you’ve made your first appearance and I mean, I think that like, we talk about the happenstance and the serendipity and all that sort of stuff, but what is your goal for coming to AEW? Because you’re very driven, you’re very creative, and you seem like you have... you feel you have something to prove, I’m picking that up from what we’ve been saying the last hour or so.
Mox: Anyway, for me it’s about being the best version of myself, finally. And being, y’know, having the creative freedom to just like, oh, come up with an idea and just do it. Well we’re gonna have that here in AEW and y’know, from the first time I talked to them, they’re just like... I’ve always been friends with Cody, always vibed with him. Cody’s kinda like me in that, first and foremost a wrestling fan. Like when he was like, Stardust and stuff and he’d be painting up, he’d be in the locker room, he’d have his little iPad and put on WWE Network and just put on...
Mox: Put on, like, old WCW or whatever.
Jericho: WarGames ‘89 or something like that.
Mox: And like, we always like, me and him would always just sit there and watch all this wrestling and talk about it, ‘cause we just like, we love wrestling. And he has a very... We think of wrestling in a very similar way, and uh, just everything he said from the get go was like, yo, play your music your way. And y’know, he went through a lot of the same stuff during his exit from WWE, y’know. When I was telling him about my, he was like I went through the same thing, y’know, was like the kinda depression you go through where you’re trapped in some thing you don’t want to be, we share that experience.
And just, uh... I feel like a lot... Me and him are kinda two sides of the same coin in a lot of ways. Been through a lot of the same experiences but we went through them at different times and a different order. I like that wrestling can be anything, y’know, he says it can be anything. We can have the lucha guys, you can have the hardcore match, you can have the old school, and I’m like, for so long I’ve been told wrestling is this, this is all wrestling is.
I’m like, I can’t wait to just, like, open up my mind and, like I said, it’s kinda, it’s almost like, my goal is like, not look at it like I’ve got something to prove to Vince or WWE or anything like ‘cause I don’t give a shit about WWE. They’re in the past. I want them to be good, I want... if a byproduct of us being good is they have to change their creative process and uh, they get better, ‘cause I want my friends that are there to be happy and my wife’s there and I want her to be happy. I want everyone to be happy, I want the business to be better, I want the fans to be happier with their product, so...
But I don’t care about them. They’re in the past, they’re on the back burner. I wanna be the best version of myself, y’know. This past month I’ve been home, only got a month home to just like, rest and recharge, so I’ve just been, chiropractor massage, training twice a day, y’know, getting everything fixed. Y’know I got hooked up with a new trainer, Gil Gardano here, he’s actually Randy Couture’s strength and conditioning coach, and I was just like, “Yo, let’s just, I wanna just start over, build a foundation from the get go as, like, as an athlete.”
So working on like agility and strength and power and hopefully a year from now I’m just like a fully new athlete, y’know? ‘Cause it’s like the whole world is my oyster now, I can do anything, be anything, y’know, like...
Jericho: You’re inspired again.
Mox: Yeah, and like, y’know, some people might y’know, want to put you in their little hole of what they think you are and you can’t be anything but that, but I’m like, I could do anything. And there’s a bunch of bucket list stuff I’m gonna do by the end of the year that, uh, is gonna be cool, it’s gonna be challenging. I’m gonna put myself in uncomfortable, unfamiliar situations and try to just rise to the occasion.
And I’m, like, y’know... There’s new styles to learn, new opponents to work with that, just... it’s all... just... I can’t wait, y’know? Like... you could argue that I should have just taken a year off and healed my body and just rested and everything like that but I’m like, physically I feel pretty good. I’m doing the best I can with a month before I really step on the gas pedal, but mentally I cannot wait to get started! I’m like, champing at the bit!
Jericho: And timing is everything, it just so happened that Double or Nothing takes place a month after your deal is up.
Mox: Dude, the first time I heard that, when you were like... I was like... man. Y’know, telling me all this stuff about play your music your way and everything, that’s amazing like, I wanna be part of this, a hundred percent. Like, let’s go, I’m with you, let’s take the world on, let’s make history. And, like, and just that it was in Vegas, twenty, it was just like... there’s so...
Jericho: Once again, the serendipity.
Mox: It was just so crazy, like the universe was... because I didn’t have to necessarily go to AEW, y’know what I mean, there’s a bunch of other options, I have a lot of people at the table, know what I mean? And it was a little scary to sign a contract with y’know, like a corporation, because I just got done with that, but like... it’s totally different thought! I love this “for the boys, by the boys,” y’know what I mean?
Jericho: What’d you think of Tony Khan when you met him?
Mox: It’s what you said, he’s the exact opposite of Vince, but I liked him. The thing I like about him, man, is that he’s a wrestling fan. He can sit and talk to you about ECW pay-per-views from ‘98.
Mox: And just, talking to him is like...
Jericho: There’s passion there.
Mox: Yeah, he’s more of a wrestling fan than Vince is. Vince loves sports entertainment and he loves promoting and he loves... he’s a 24/7 workhorse, but Tony’s just like a fan, he loves wrestling. And it’s just like, so fun to talk to anybody about...
Jericho: I think the thing about Vince, too is I kinda feel bad for him sometimes because, think about this. He can’t... he can’t take a break. Does he still have the passion for wrestling, could you still have the passion for wrestling when all you do is deal with wrestling for forty years every day. Every day. I wonder if... what could ignite that for him again, if it’s even possible to do that. And y’know, the passion that Tony has...
Mox: I dunno... I’ll put a challenge to him right now. Your creative process sucks, change it.
Jericho: [Laughter] The facial expression after that was great. Speaking of which, though, we’re laughing about this and I always loved the fact that @DeanAmbrose was your Twitter and the description was...
Mox: Ooh, I’m very excited to tell this story!
Jericho: “They made me get one of these, so here it is, enjoy.” And you never followed anybody and you never posted one frickin’ tweet, until...
Mox: Until the day I became king of all social medias.
Jericho: That’s right, one tweet!
Mox: Mic drop, bitches!
Jericho: One tweet, three million views or whatever it is at this point.
Mox: I gotta tell this story, especially because I gotta shout out to my boy. I had the idea, back in... back before anybody knew I was leaving, back in January. I was like, okay, how is this going to look. Y’know, the world’s different now, you gotta use social media, y’know, I’m not stupid. Just because I don’t wanna get on there and communicate with people and read comments doesn’t mean... I’m not an idiot, social media’s the way of the world now, right? So I’m like, okay, what do I do?
So I’m like, okay, my idea was I’m a big fan of like, movie trailers, right? And kinda the inspiration for this was the Venom teaser trailer when I first saw it. Venom with Tom Hardy? Because you didn’t see it, it was only like thirty seconds, and you didn’t see Venom, and the movie didn’t come out for like eight months but it gave you just enough to where you’re like “Oh I can’t wait until that movie comes out, we have to wait so long!”
At that point I kinda knew, likely, Double or Nothing was gonna be the first appearance, y’know, and I had to go to great lengths to make sure I’m not advertised or anything for anything before that, I’ve been keeping people at bay and having to tell people to eff off, so I apologize to everybody I’m doing that to...
Jericho: There’s a reason.
Mox: Yeah. Um, so I’m like, okay, my idea was like to make a movie trailer kinda thing, like a teaser trailer just promoting myself, and drop it at midnight on April 30 so it’s like, literally the minute that I get out of WWE, it’s like “Oh, it’s about to get real, it’s on!” so the people get excited.
Jericho: It’s Jon Moxley.
Mox: So I’m like, huh, I wonder how I do that? Like, I don’t really... y’know. And it became more ambitious than I originally envisioned it, right? So I’m like, I don’t really know how to, I’m not a technology savvy guy, I don’t really know how to do all that, but I know the people I do know how to do all that stuff, they’re all in WWE. And then it’s a secret, so I’m like... huh, screw thinking about it, I’m just gonna do it. So I hit up my friend, who wrestling fans may know as one “Sick” Nick Mondo, who’s actually something of a deathmatch legend and now he’s a filmmaker in LA.
And uh, I met him in Japan, and he’s a very interesting guy, he was living in Japan, learning how to be a filmmaker and we kept in touch. We first started talking when he put out a movie called The Trade and it’s kind of a docudrama about his life and everything.
Jericho: Fantasy sequences in it.
Mox: Yeah and we kinda vibed because uh, kinda the theme of it is what drives you to mutilate yourself. Like self-harm, like getting some kind of satisfaction out of, like, putting yourself through glass and light tubes and stuff like that and what is the... why do you do that?
Jericho: Yeah, just the thrill?
Mox: And I’m like, is it like some kinda deep down thing or is it like, childish, what is the thing? And that hit real close to home to me so I, y’know, started talking with him about that film and stuff, anyway we became friends and I just hit him up and I was like “Yo, do you do, like, trailers and stuff like that, is that kinda what you do?” because he’s a freelance filmmaker and he’s like “Yeah!” for instance and he sent me a couple of examples of different trailers and I went like I think you’re the guy.
So I was like, look, here’s the deal, I’m gonna be leaving WWE yadda yadda and I gave him my idea and he’s like, totally. And he’s like... so then he sends me this treatment where he’s like, you’re in a prison, there’s drums building and it was a full movie script and I was like “You’re hired, you’re the guy!” So we, uh, started collaborating on that or whatever, and we filmed it in February.
I had the typical two days off in-between loops so I landed in Vegas, threw the dogs in the truck, drove out to LA and we filmed for prettymuch two days straight, ‘cause it takes like... when you do... we rented a Red camera, you know what a Red camera is.
Jericho: Yep, very fancy.
Mox: It’s like the highest quality... it’s what they filmed Lord of the Rings on, I spared no expense on this son of a bitch. It’s like eight grand all told, totally worth it, two days of just nonstop filming cause there’s a lot of sitting around, setting up shots, y’know what I mean? He had like, he hired actors, we had like a runsheet, we, so... for the prison we rented out this film set in LA where it’s like a warehouse where they have a bunch of different sets, they have like a prison, a bar, a courthouse and all the different rooms for you to film various things.
So we did the prison scene, then we’re like, it took two days... actually, Vince texted me at like what would have been four in the morning his time while I was filming this to try and get me to extend my contract to do the Europe tour. He’s like “Hey pal, need a favor, need you to whatever, the biggest box office we would have would be the Shield, last run through Europe, whatever, these dates,” and for half a second I was like... eh... and then I was like, no. I was like... now you want a favor from me?
But I’m like, a few months ago, this wasn’t how you wanted it to go and now you need a favor? I’m like, dude, and it’s not like you’re gonna put me on WrestleMania and do some angle that we’re gonna follow up on the tour with, like... no, screw you. Like... you want me to do your brutal post-Mania tour but...
Jericho: Right, right?
Mox: I was like, I was thinking like, call Dave...
Jericho: And you just paid me five hundred bucks...
Mox: Call Dave, call Triple H, call Brock, call somebody else, I ain’t your huckleberry this time. So what I told him was I said sorry, I’m committed to a film project, which technically wasn’t lying, because... so I knew he would take it like I was on a movie set but the film project I was committed to was dropping this at exactly midnight when I’m like, I already came in, I already paid for it, I’m out here running through fields at four in the morning, like... I’m done, man, like this is happening. That’s just a funny aside, but uh...
Jericho: But when you released it though, man, it was a huge success right off the bat.
Mox: Oh, uh, yeah, that’s how I had envisioned that for months. And the cool thing is I didn’t even tweet it. My social media guru guy tweeted it, so he had it set up to where like...
Jericho: Like on a timer.
Mox: Yeah! Agency I was meeting with during Mania week in New York, y’know, just about other entertainment stuff, and I told them the idea and I showed them the video and they’re like, oh, let’s get our guy in here. So they brought in like their social media expert and he’s like oh yeah, we can just embed it directly into Twitter and they do it in a certain way where they work specifically with Twitter and they keep your followers and all... I dunno how all that works but he had it on a timer to where it was set to go at exactly midnight, it changed over and the video popped up.
And when that went up, I was actually on stage at the Cauliflower Alley Club in Vegas, giving an award to my original trainer Cody Hawk. So I was on stage, giving, like... presenting an award at the moment that tweet went up.
Jericho: Right, right.
Mox: And then by half an hour later, by the time I got home, because I ran out of there real quick and then by the time I got home it was like the exact response I wanted to have, y’know.
Jericho: A million, two million, three million...
Mox: Yeah, lemme plug his stuff, just so... I don’t wanna...
Jericho: Last, as you’re looking that up, what did, uh, Roman and Seth say when you told them you were gonna leave?
Jericho: Because I mean, I know you guys are fairly close.
Mox: Yeah, I mean, they’re like... cool. This, you want everybody to be happy kinda thing. Sad to see you go, but like, also like, they’ve been with me watching me go through all this crap...
Jericho: They know how you are.
Mox: Yeah. So when I told Seth he was like, “Man I’m so bummed out, dude,” and I said, “Dude, this is like the ending of Harry and the Hendersons, where like they released him into the woods and all the other sasquatches pop up and now he’s where he needs to be? I’m a wild animal, babe, I’ve been domesticated too long.” [Laughter] And he’s like “Actually that’s a perfect description.”
Jericho: It is a perfect description for you.
Jericho: He’s the one who made that trailer which was... blew up the internet.
Mox: Yeah, we’re actually trying to, uh, right now we’re kinda taking that a step further. We made a ninety second movie, so right now we’re in the development stages of we’re trying to make our own like, feature length actual action movie where he would direct and I would star. So right, we’re in the early stages of putting that together now. Because now the word... now anything can happen!
Jericho: Right, you don’t have to ask permission to go do a sitcom for five minutes or whatever it is.
Mox: Just the rest of the year, I dunno when people are gonna hear this, there’s some stuff that I’ll be doing that... will, y’know, some people will be like “You’re doing that, no way!” but I’ll be like, I can do whatever I want. From now on, everything I do, nothing is about money. With AEW we didn’t even discuss money, we literally didn’t. It just... ‘cause from day one with them I was like, this ain’t about money, we vibe on everything else.
Nothing I do is like, motivated by money. Everything I do, whether it’s a show I do, like a wrestling show I do, a match I have, something I... uh... anything I do, any project I’m involved in, I’m chasing and directed by passion, creativity, artistic satisfaction, and fun, y’know? That’s what I’m chasing. And I think the rewards, be they monetary or otherwise, will come.
Mox: It’s about, like I said, it’s about becoming the best version of myself that I can be. And that might take... and, y’know, I think you can always grow and always get better and always learn new things. I mean, I’m only 33. Y’know? You’re what, 48?
Mox: And you’re on the top of your game right now, you’ve totally reinvented yourself.
Mox: I got a lot of future ahead of me, and it could be anything. It could be anything I want it to be, y’know?
Jericho: It’s exciting.
Mox: Yeah, I ain’t the friggin’ elf in, uh... y’know it’s like the elf in, uh, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer when he wants to be a dentist but everybody tells him...
Mox: ...you’re an elf. But he’s like I wanna be a dentist! So I’m here to tell everybody man, no matter where you are, who you are, what you come from, if... if you want to be a dentist and you’re an elf, you go be a dentist. You don’t let anybody tell you!
Jericho: That’s great, last question for you-- who are you looking forward to working with in AEW?
Mox: Oh, everybody. Literally everybody. And, it, I’m in a little bit of a different position, more similar to you where like, I can help bring eyeballs, because now we’ll be on TNT or whatever and like, if somebody’s flipped through channels and they go “Oh, that’s the dude from the Shield! What is this? Who’s that? Who’s Hangman Page? Oh, he’s cool. Oh, what’s AEW? AEW’s awesome, you ever seen the Young Bucks?”, y’know?
So like, I’m kinda thinking of it like, however I can help the most, put me in that position, y’know? And I’m so excited.
Jericho: I think where we’re gonna be able to help a lot, too, is we’re guys, and there’s very few, who have the experience of working weekly live television.
Mox: Live TV is a big... dude.
Jericho: Like I was talking to Kenny about it the other day and he’s like “I’ve never done it before,” well it’s like it’s not hard to learn but there are some tricks you need to learn that we know.
Mox: Yeah, I mean... first time, there’s just so much when I got to WWE that I thought I knew that I didn’t know. ‘Cause, about cameras...
Jericho: Hard cameras and thirty seconds before the break and all this other stuff.
Mox: Yeah, and it might... the exciting part is there’s gonna be a lot of trial by fire. We have no idea what’s gonna happen!
Mox: Who knows, we’re like... rolling down the river on like a barrel, just trying to stay above the water. It’s so exciting, y’know?
Jericho: Yeah, dude, well, I’m glad. I can tell how excited you are, I feel the same way and here we are, brother. AEW adventure begins!
Mox: Dude. I dunno... Man, I wish I had a great closing line, man. We’re going to war!
Jericho: You already said it, if you want to be a dentist and you’re an elf, be a dentist. Thanks, dude.
[Audio from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys of Hermie admitting he’d rather be a dentist than make toys plays.]