Shooter and The Mox: The Union of Jon Moxley & Shota Umino

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Photo: NJPW

At NJPW Dominion this year, newly crowned IWGP United States Champion Jon Moxley faced highly touted New Japan prospect and Young Lion Shota Umino in a short decisive match-up. After defeating Juice Robinson for the US title a few days prior at the finals for the Best of the Super Juniors, it was a result to be expected. But what was originally seen as a throwaway “learning tree” match-up for Umino has became one of New Japan’s most entertaining angles, as the Young Lion – whom Moxley refers to as “Shooter” – has became Moxley’s trusted valet and assistant, as Moxley gets accustomed to life in Japan and NJPW during the G1 Climax.

Following his victory – and after announcing his intent to enter the G1 – Moxley entered the post-match press call with Umino on his shoulder. “He can be my new Young Lion,” Moxley said. “I’m gonna need some help around here. I’m gonna need a partner, I’m gonna need a training partner, I’m gonna need a spot on the bench. I’m gonna need someone to drive me home from Roppongi – you can drive? He can drive. This is my new boy right here.”

Following his first victory in the G1 after his first match against Taichi, Moxley came back to the media spot, again followed by Umino, who was now firmly entrenched at Moxley’s side. Following his obligatory threats to the field of the G1, Moxley went silent, before turning to Umino stating, “Come on, you’re supposed to give me more ideas, you’re supposed to be feeding me lines, I’m out!” He went on to promote his upcoming tag match, as he an Umino have since worked as a tag team on Moxley’s off nights.

After his most recent victory, against Tetsuya Naito on Saturday, Moxley and his Young Lion were once again in front of the cameras, but this time, Jon Moxley wasn’t waiting for Shota to chime in. After saying his piece, he turned to Shota and said “Shooter, step in. Come on. Cut the promo. Talk to your fans, talk to your fans, while I’ll be here in the background giving the middle finger to every person in the universe who deserves one.” Shota cuts a short stoic promo which prompts Moxley to declare “he’s a real panty dropper ain’t he?”

The pairing of Shota Umino – son of longtime NJPW ref, “Red Shoes” Umino – and Jon Moxley has helped pushed the talented Young Lion into the public eye – Moxley’s YouTube videos are some of New Japan’s highest watched in history – and will hopefully see him adopt some of his new mentor’s aggressive side as he is readied to go on his own path down the line. But in the meantime, it’s been fun to see Jon Moxley’s comedic side – on his own terms, and not the “Good Sh*t” that WWE wrote for him – come out during one of his strongest runs in years.

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. You can catch Moxley’s G1 run on NJPW World, and catch the post match media talks on NJPW’s YouTube Channel.

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