By now, a lot of us will have heard the latest Talk is Jericho podcast, featuring the newly All Elite Wrestling acquired, Jon Moxley (formerly Dean Ambrose).
The podcast comes mere days after the hugely successful Double or Nothing PPV. The instalment, slightly over 90 minutes, is aptly titled “the emancipation of Jon Moxley”. The definition of emancipation is: “the fact or process of being set free from legal, social, or political restrictions; liberation”. Therefore, going into this podcast, it was safe to assume that Moxley’s tone towards WWE was going to be somewhat negative.
It was also damning.
What became clear over the duration of the podcast is that the current crop of WWE talent have no control over their creative direction. Moxley stated during the podcast that:
“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.”
Jon Moxley also admitted to feeling “sick in the stomach” every Monday, simply because he knew that he would be dealing with the creative team. He admitted to confronting Vince McMahon about his creative direction on numerous occasions. Mox would often wait around Vince’s office – an, apparently, lengthy process. He would stick around to discuss his disgruntlement with Vince, only to be greeted with “this stuff is great! It’s so you! You’re different!” This appears to have offended Moxley, who admitted the Dean Ambrose character had become “stupid”. Therefore, to state that the stupid actions of Dean Ambrose are “so you” is quite offensive.
Jon Moxley states during the podcast that Brock Lesnar being paid “millions of dollars” every year is “killing your [Vince McMahon’s] company”. If you remember, Mox – appearing on the Steve Austin podcast in 2016 – also referred to Brock as “lazy”.
We have known for years that the WWE has issues with creative and, particularly, with letting its performers have control of their characters. This was a large part of CM Punk‘s infamous podcast in 2014, in which he criticised McMahon’s creative process, among other things. CM Punk and Jon Moxley are not wrong, either.
Monday Night RAW has made for difficult viewing for years now. Whereas Moxley admits to never being afraid of being fired, it is clear that others are. There is nothing controversial about RAW; you can tell that 99% of the roster (the 1% being John Cena) are afraid to go off script, for example. Unfortunately, as Moxley states in the podcast, the scripts “suck”. A good example of how bad the scripts are is the promos Ryback used to cut. Ryback – a big, overly muscular, bald-headed brute of a man – would cut strange, robotic, long-worded promos. A memorable one comes from 2015.
“The intercontinental Championship has a rich history of fighting champions. The key word there is fighting champions. That is what I want to be, that is my goal.”
The scripted promos are, quite often, awful. Moxley is one of the few who could make them work; he’s a natural promo-man. During the podcast, Mox admits that he couldn’t save some of the heel promos he cut earlier in the year. The promos in which he would accuse the audience of possessing a foul odour.
Moxley also admits to having been upset with creative insisting on him using Roman Reigns‘ cancer battle for cheap heat. Whereas Moxley (as Ambrose) did mention Reigns in one promo, he revealed that there was another line he was being pushed to say.
“This promo also had a line about my actual friend who’s going through leukemia that Vince wanted me to say, that he tried to talk me into saying. This is where I absolutely drew the line. I said, ‘absolutely not.'”
“It is the worst line. I’m not going to say it on the air, I’ll tell you after we’re done. It would have been like a thing where someone would had to get fired, maybe me. They might have like lost sponsors, like the Susan G. Komen and all of that.
“I don’t know who wrote it, I don’t know if it was Vince himself. If it was a writer and he’s listening right not, ‘you should be ashamed of yourself.’ You wouldn’t believe it!”
Whereas RAW would largely benefit from an added dose of edginess, this is not what is needed. The fact that a writer – or even Vince McMahon – would suggest a performer make a mockery of a fellow employee’s cancer battle does nothing but display how detached creative is from the real world. A major sponsor of the company, as Moxley mentions, is Susan G. Komen – a charity for women’s cancer. To so openly jeopardise the agreement between Komen and WWE is absurd. To make someone publicly mock their friend’s cancer battle is heartless.
In the podcast, Moxley admits to wanting WWE to succeed. He argues that, whereas he no longer cares for the company (“it’s in the past”), he has friends there. He wants the fans to have enjoyable wrestling, also. Additionally, a strong WWE is always what’s best for wrestling; as the largest promotion, it is the one which draws the most eyes to wrestling. Although Moxley cites that Vince is not a wrestling fan, because it’s “sports entertainment” to him, it is, at the end of the day, professional wrestling. The WWE is a wrestling company. The rest of the wrestling industry, therefore, relies on the WWE.
If the WWE continues with its current creative process, it will continue to drive its talent away. Moxley is a true wrestling fan; someone who lives and breathes wrestling. Mox is someone who turned down a big money offer to stay in the company where where his wife and friends work. He did so simply because he wanted to wrestle for a promotion where he had more control over his character. If the WWE and Vince McMahon’s ludicrous approach to creative can drive impassioned performers like Moxley away, then prepare for a mass exodus. Not everyone can boast to being as cool and collected as Moxley and, therefore, not everyone will be as courteous as the AEW star.
Moxley referred to WWE Universal Champion (and best friend), Seth Rollins, as being a “wild animal that has been tamed”. The point being that Seth has become too accustomed to the WWE way of doing things. It has blunted his edge. Moxley surely felt that he, himself, had become domesticated because in order to become “emancipated”, you must have previously been caged. The initial Moxley teaser (something Moxley self-funded) posted to his Twitter account on May 1st showed him escaping from a prison. Whereas at the time it was a reach to assume that the prison was representative of his time in WWE, it is now apparent that that’s exactly what it was.
— Jon Moxley (@JonMoxley) May 1, 2019
Moxley is finally free and his post-WWE career is surely going to be fun. With a run in AEW and New Japan Pro Wrestling to look forward to, it’s only a matter of time until current WWE stars take notice. Hopefully Vince McMahon takes notice first. In the meantime, good luck to Joey Janela at AEW’s Fyter Fest event in June. He’s going to need it.
NOW @TalkIsJericho– @JonMoxley UNCENSORED! Just days after making his surprise debut w @AEWrestling, #Mox talks frustrations w @wwe creative, when he knew he wanted out of #WWE for good, his angle w @NiaJaxWWE, thoughts on breaking up #TheShield & more! THIS IS A MUST HEAR SHOW!
— Chris Jericho (@IAmJericho) May 29, 2019
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.