Written Podcast Recap: Talk Is Jericho – The Emancipation Of Jon Moxley
Release Date: May 29, 2019
Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes
Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo
Chris welcomes Jon Moxley to the podcast. It’s his first interview since leaving WWE
1:40 – Jon Moxley
Chris welcomes Jon to the podcast. The last time he was on the show, Chris and Jon were in the WWE and now they are in AEW. Jon says he is glad to be there and says ‘it is time to talk’.
It’s been about 5 months since the rumors leaked that Jon was leaving WWE at the end of April. Jon did not say a word and did not ask the WWE to put out a weird press release about it. The closest he came to mentioning anything was during an interview with Michael Cole and says this was for self preservation because he thought they might try to set him up and report he couldn’t handle being there.
He says he’s at the apex of life and the weight of the world has been lifted off his shoulders. He is grateful for his run in WWE. He feels he’s learned a lot of life skills and has grown as a person. He got to live his dream and do many amazing things as a part of WWE. He also got the opportunity and blessing to be part of the Make-A-Wish program which is something he took seriously and was always grateful for. If nothing else, he met his wife during his time in the WWE. The last 8 years couldn’t have been any more successful.
Now that he got that out of the way, Jon says “Let’s just bury WWE for the next two hours.”
Chris makes the comparison to his own career. He loved WWE and had no intentions of wrestling anywhere else until the opportunity to wrestle Kenny Omega at the Tokyo Dome came along. After that match, he realized it was fun and felt he didn’t have any restrictions. He was allowed to be Chris Jericho and worked a few more matches in Japan. When the opportunity came with AEW, he really started questioning whether or not he wanted to return to WWE.
Jon knew that he was going to be leaving WWE in July 2018. At the time he was out with an injury which kept him on the shelf for nine months. This was a very miserable and challenging time in his life.
Jon says he wants to tell some stories and shine a light on the WWE creative process to give the fans a glimpse of what it was like.
He wants to talk about the day he physically looked at a calendar and started counting down the days until he was done. The other story is the day he absolutely knew he was 100% gone and almost walked out.
Even though he knew he wanted to leave in July, he wasn’t going to quit, ask for his release or try to get fired. He was going to ride this out to the very end for a few reasons. He would rather not do bad business if he didn’t have to, plus his wife still worked there and he didn’t want to put her in an awkward position.
However, before telling his stories he wants to start with a precursor:
12:27 – Precursor Story
At a Smackdown taping, Jon was given a script which was a promo of him describing a list of things he did on his way to work. These were not things that a cool or relatable person would do, they were things an idiot would do. Jon didn’t want to say any of that script and asked the writer to change it.
The writer changed it but Vince re-wrote it and put all the stuff Jon didn’t like back in. He went to talk to Vince and said he couldn’t say all that stuff. Vince said it was “good sh*t” and what made Jon who he was.
This story sums up what Jon had been dealing with for six years.
15:17 – The Day Jon Looked At His Phone And Started Counting Down The Days
At a RAW show Jon was working heel against Seth Rollins. The premise of the show was that Seth would challenge Jon to a match. Jon would be cutting various promos around the arena throughout the night and at the end they would have a fight in a ring.
When Jon looked at the scripts he said they were ‘typical WWE scripts’ which were a bunch of big goofy words that made no sense, told no stories and didn’t get any characters over. He was most concerned about the in-ring promo at the end of the night that he called “absolute hot garbage awful crap.” The main idea of the promo was that the people in the audience were smelly and disgusting. What caught his eye the most was a joke about a pooper scooper. Jon didn’t want to say that line and asked the writer to change it.
The writer changed the line and mentioned Jon coming out in a gas mask which will come up later. Once the script was changed it had to be sent in, reprinted and reviewed by Vince, hopefully before he saw the script with the pooper scooper line.
Jon went off to do the next promo and says it made no sense. He told the writer that if they weren’t so concerned about not looking like idiots and trying to change pooper scooper lines, they might be able to create something.
Back in the writing room, Jon got some notes from Vince saying “Dean needs to understand why he needs to insult the audience” and “Dean needs to read his promos verbatim and not try to rewrite them.” Jon had the feeling like he’d been punched in the gut and yelled at the writer.
Jon went off to do another live promo that didn’t make sense. Earlier in the day, Jon had gone to Vince about this promo because there was a line about Roman who had left for leukemia treatments. Jon admits that he fell for the Vince Jedi mind trick and ended up saying the line. However as soon as the line left his mouth he couldn’t believe he said it.
Back in the writer’s room, they found out the pooper scooper line was changed but because the writer had mentioned a gas mask, Vince rewrote the script that called for Jon to come out with a surgical mask.
The idea was that Dean would come out with a surgical mask this week, a gasmask the next week and a full hazmat soon the week after. Jon went to see Vince again, but before walking into the office, he needed 30 seconds to compose himself because he felt mental and emotional exhaustion not because of this day, but six years of having to talk to Vince and explain why this (and other ideas) were stupid. They ended up compromising and using a handkerchief.
After this show, Jon left the building right away, got to the hotel and felt they had accomplished nothing.
Chris compares this to his experience when he left WWE after the Kevin Owens feud. Even though his character was hot, Chris was mentally exhausted because every week he had to talk to Vince about changing creative ideas.
Jon gets irritated by the notion from older wrestlers, especially from the Attitude Era, that today’s wrestlers are scared of getting fired or taking risks. Jon has never had that fear and always gives his opinion. He tries to convince Vince that his idea is better but if he can’t he’s not going to complain, he’s going to try and make the best out of the situation.
29:16 – The Day Jon Knew 100% He Was Gone
In July 2018, Jon knew he wanted to leave but didn’t want to rush it.
Monday Night Raw was in Milwaukee and he got a text from a writer that he was doing a backstage segment with a personal doctor who would be injecting Jon to inoculate himself from the disgusting fans. Jon texted back “I f*cking hate that.”
When Jon got to the building, word had gotten around that he was not excited about this segment. They handed him a script and during a meeting, he stared at the promo, seething. Vince said the promo was “so well written and will get you a ton of heat.” Jon argued with Vince and said to him “if this is what you want on your show, I’m the best man for the job, because like I always do when you throw me these crazy curve balls, I pull this stuff off if I can. So I’m gonna do what I always do and I’m gonna give this my absolute best effort to make this good. If anybody can it’s me.”
They did the segment and Jon left as soon as he could. He felt this segment was the one that he couldn’t recover from.
Also, in this segment, there was originally a line scripted about Roman’s leukemia that was so bad Jon wouldn’t say it on the podcast. He felt someone would have gotten fired or that they could have lost sponsors.
These are just some examples of a day in the life of Jon Moxley.
Jon says when he was working a program with Chris, he was starting to get brain dead.
He felt the WWE was taking wrestling away from him which is his first love and the thing he is most passionate about. He feels like he’s finally got that passion back.
Since he was a kid, Jon has been obsessed with wrestling, primarily promos, which were his favorite part of wrestling. In WWE, they ended up becoming something he dreaded and he says sitting down with a writer isn’t the way it was supposed to be.
Jon says WWE didn’t have any plans for him as a babyface. They had no idea he would get over and he did that on his own. Jon regrets doing one-liners during promos because it showed he had a shred of comedic timing. When the writers saw this, they started writing jokes for him. He felt like he was fighting for his life during his first few months as a babyface, which is why people connected to him.
Jon says he and Vince are like Mentos and Diet Coke. They don’t go together. They create an explosion of goofy nonsense that he despises.
40:07 – 2018
Jon ended 2017 by having surgery. He had been working hurt and was in a lot of pain. He was miserable.
After surgery, he decided to check out mentally from wrestling because felt he was burned out and needed a break.
Jon was rehabbing twice a day everyday to become the best version of himself. He didn’t want to give himself any lingering regrets and wanted to make sure he exhausted all his options to be sure this is what he wanted to do.
Jon loves watching performances of anyone who is good at what they do. He liked watching people who were in their element and in the zone and said he hadn’t felt that way in a long time.
As he was getting ready to come back, he started watching the current product and getting obsessed about wrestling again. He came up with a bunch of ideas but would say “no, they won’t go for that.” He realized he was excited about coming back to wrestling but not WWE.
When it was time for Jon to come back, he flew to Stamford to meet with Vince to pitch some creative ideas that he had pitched in a previous meeting in February. He felt going that extra mile and flying himself up to meet with Vince would show him how serious he was. However, WWE had advertised the Shield in Australia, which meant he couldn’t change his character. He left that meeting deflated.
During the meeting, he had pitched coming back at SummerSlam to make a big impact, which the WWE agreed to. After returning to Ohio, the office texted and said they wanted to bring him back to TV that week to be in Seth’s corner, which was the idea WWE originally pitched even though they said they would use his idea of returning at SummerSlam. He wasn’t even back yet and was already pissed off.
Another example of how WWE overproduces and “ruins everything” was when Seth Rollins introduced Jon using a corny line.
52:21 – Exit Strategy From WWE
Jon says his decision for leaving WWE had nothing to do with AEW. If wrestling wasn’t doing well or there were no other wrestling promotions, he was still leaving the WWE. He even says he would’ve started his own promotion.
Jon saw every single rumor but kept silent, which drove people nuts.
He was told a new WWE contract was coming. He was relishing the opportunity to tell WWE he wasn’t interested.
At one point, Jon couldn’t hold it in anymore and told Mark Carano he was gone after his contract expired. He did not come to this decision quickly and wasn’t going to change his mind. This was in January 2019.
At RAW in Phoenix, he was told he was going to be taking bumps for Nia Jax which made Jon hot and he stormed into Vince’s office. He had no problem putting Nia over, but says it was obvious they were attempting to job him out.
During this meeting, Jon told Vince everything he wanted to say. He said every Monday he would get a sick feeling in his stomach, usually after getting a script from a writer. He didn’t know what goofy stuff would be on the script and what he would have to do to not look like an idiot.
Jon was hoping Vince would write him off TV. He agreed to work with Nia and said they had fun. Also that same Raw, there was a promo with Jon, Seth and Triple H. He didn’t know what was going to happen but was ready and had “bullets in the chamber” if anything happened.
The next day, the rumors of Jon leaving leaked out and WWE put out the press release saying Jon was leaving which had never been done before. He doesn’t know why they did that but thinks Vince wanted to control the narrative.
Vince hated this situation because he couldn’t control it. Jon says Vince has “a million dollar man” complex. Vince pays Brock a lot of money because he wants to own Brock.
Jon says WWE gave him a contract but he didn’t want to look at it. They could have offered him $10 million and he wouldn’t want it. There was no number they could have offered that would have made him stay. Looking back on it he can’t believe he hung in there as long as he did.
Jon doesn’t want to be thinking about the past and what could have been. While there was a lot of stuff WWE missed out on with Jon, it’s over.
The ultimate reward Jon got from WWE is that he now has his freedom and he gets to start over. He can be anything he wants to be and do anything, but now he has experience.
Chris says he and Jon have a chance to change things in the business and be part of a new history. Jon says this is exciting to be a difference maker.
One thing Jon wants to prove is that the WWE’s creative process sucks and doesn’t work. It’s killing the company. He thinks Vince and the infrastructure he’s built is the problem. He hopes AEW can prove Vince’s way sucks.
Jon says AEW is concentrating on putting out their best product and not worrying about competing with WWE. Hopefully, a byproduct of that is that Vince will be willing to listen to other ideas or do things a different way.
After the press release, WWE had Jon lose to EC3 in two minutes. The crowd didn’t like it because they knew what was happening and it wasn’t good for EC3 because he was getting the backlash.
During a house show run with EC3, Jon was becoming a babyface. The crowd reaction was more of an anti-WWE reaction as opposed to an EC3 reaction.
Vince was allegedly pissed that the fans were cheering Jon.
Every week, Jon was wondering when they were going to write him off TV. He even main-evented a Raw prior to WrestleMania which he couldn’t believe.
Jon says for the Shield special which was the last show he was on, he was paid $500 which is the minimum pay for talent.
1:18:30 – AEW
Jon says AEW is about being the best version of himself and having the creative freedom of coming up with an idea and doing it.
Jon has always been friends with Cody and says they’re similar. They’re wrestling fans and think of wrestling in a similar way. Cody also went through a lot of the same stuff Jon did when he left the WWE.
Jon says he wants WWE to be good, but doesn’t care about them as they are in the past.
There are a bunch of bucket list things he wants to do. He wants to put himself in difficult situations and rise to the occasion. Physically he feels good but mentally he can’t wait to get started.
When Jon heard about AEW, he wanted to be part of that. It was a little scary to sign a contract with a corporation because he just left one but it’s totally different.
Jon says Tony Khan is the exact opposite of Vince. He also says Tony is more of a wrestling fan than Vince is and it’s fun to talk about wrestling with Tony.
Jon throws a challenge out to Vince and says his creative process sucks and to change it.
1:24:40 – Social Media
Jon had the idea back in January to do a video trailer that he would release right after he got released.
He contacted Nick Mondo, a freelance filmmaker, to help him with it. They filmed in February during time off between loops and Jon spent $8000. During filming, Vince actually called Jon and asked him extend his contract for the European tour after WrestleMania. Jon told Vince he was working on a film project and couldn’t do it.
After the video was ready, Jon had his “social media guru” set it up to tweet at midnight once his WWE contract expired.
Roman and Seth were sad to see Jon go but also knew what he was going through.
Jon is now working on a 90-second trailer and trying to make a feature length movie.
From here on in, whatever Jon does is not motivated by money but rather passion, creativity, artistic satisfaction and fun. The rewards, monetary or otherwise, will come. Jon is 33 and says he has a lot of future ahead of him.
He says he’s looking forward to working with everyone in AEW. He wants to be put in positions where he can help the company the most.
Chris thanks Dean for being on the show and they sign off.
Joe is a long time wrestling fan from Toronto. He is a co-host on the Pull Apart Podcast with Jeff Rush and Caitlin Lavelle as well as a contributor to www.pwpodcasts.com. One of his life goals is to be a guest host on one of Wade Keller’s post-show podcasts. He doesn’t consider himself any sort of expert, he just likes wrestling. Check him out on Twitter and Instagram @ja113.