The fourth singles match between Jon Moxley and current IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega will take place on Wednesday’s AEW Dynamite as they do battle in a Steel Cage match. Moxley made his AEW debut at Double Or Nothing 2019, attacking Omega after his loss to Chris Jericho to become the inaugural AEW World Champion. Moxley recently spoke with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated to promote Wednesday’s Steel Cage match, and recalled his AEW debut and the early days of the company.
“That was surreal,” Moxley said of his debut. “We started fighting through the crowd, and I heard the crowd cheering ‘AEW! AEW!’ That gave me a feeling this was going to work. Before then, it was just an idea. At the time, Kenny was known as the best wrestler in the world. I was coming off fucking off [from] WWE, so I was in the news, and people wanted to see what I was going to do. I was a hot name, he was a hot name and we’d never entered each other’s universes before. On the first show, we got all these incendiary ingredients lined up: Jericho, a TV deal, the Young Bucks. And then the real explosive fuel was me and Kenny at Double or Nothing. That’s where the match got lit and we set it ablaze. It was the spark that ignited the whole blaze that is AEW, and four years later, it’s coming back around again. It feels really good, it feels like where we should be.”
Moxley said he stayed in hiding most of the night at Double Or Nothing, so his debut angle was the first “AEW!” chants he’d heard live. As he beat Omega down, he finally had genuine reason to believe in this brand new pro wrestling group, one he could only imagine when it was pitched to him at his kitchen table by AEW President Tony Khan. He also commented on selling 60,000 tickets to AEW All In at Wembley Stadium later this year.
“When me and Kenny entered each other’s spheres, AEW was just beginning,” Moxley said. “Tony was sitting at my kitchen table telling me about this theoretical TV show that might exist and this theoretical promotion that might exist. Now, four years later, we just sold 60,000 tickets to a country we’ve never been to without a match announced. There is definitely pride for those of us who’ve been here since the beginning. I don’t know if you want to call me and Kenny the definitive rivalry, but it’s important. The cool thing is, this is four years later and we just sold 60,000 tickets to Wembley fucking Stadium.”
After the debut angle at Double Or Nothing 2019, Moxley would go on to defeat Omega in an Unsanctioned Lights Out match at Full Gear 2019, but Omega defeated Moxley for the AEW World Title on the Winter Is Coming edition of AEW Dynamite on December 2, 2020. Their last match was Omega retaining the AEW World Title over Moxley in the Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch at Revolution 2021. Wednesday’s Steel Cage match will advance the heated storyline between The Elite and The Blackpool Combat Club. Moxley said he’s eager to test himself against Omega, which is the same mindset he had at the beginning of their feud. He also said he wants to challenge himself against the AEW Executive Vice Presidents, who he has immense respect for.
Moxley added that he’s now much better than he was in 2019, his substance abuse issues are behind him, and these days he feels better, mentally and physically, than he has in a long time. Moxley also said he’s never given less fucks about anything in life like he does right now.
“I have an immense amount of respect for Kenny and the Young Bucks,” Moxley said. “We’re blades looking for iron to sharpen ourselves. That’s true. I want to challenge myself against the three of them. Four years ago, a lot of people were ready to write me off. A lot of people thought I couldn’t even measure up to Kenny. He was coming off that New Japan run and he was the greatest wrestler of all time. I felt an immense amount of motivation. I felt like, ‘I’m going to show all you motherfuckers I belong on the top.’
“So Kenny has been pushing me since day one in AEW. And now I’m far better than I was then in 2019, especially now that I’m not scared of dying of a seizure in the ring. And substance abuse issues are never really over, but it’s in the rearview. Mentally, physically, this is the best I’ve felt in a long time. Let’s face the facts: I’ve got a lot of miles on my body. You only live once and I don’t take it easy. I’ve pushed myself to get everything I can out of my body. Mentally, I feel better than ever. And right now, never in my life have I given less fucks about anything. I’ll do whatever the fuck I want. And I don’t give a fuck. That may sound abstract, but it’s a powerful thing.”
Moxley has been teaming with Danielson, ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta as The Blackpool Combat Club. He commented on how The BCC is the real deal, and how close he is to Danielson and Castagnoli.
“The BCC is real,” Moxley said. “It’s only been around for a year, but those guys have been my partners for like 10 years. I don’t have many close friends in the business. Danielson and Claudio, those two are on that list. They’re best friends, training partners, and I’ve spent so much time in the ring with them. The only difference was, back then, it was the opposite side of the ring. Me and Seth [Rollins] vs. Sheamus and Cesaro [now known by his real name, Castagnoli], we’d wrestle so much and tear the house down. I get off on shit like that. I think there was a match where Claudio busted his teeth out, and, for some reason, we felt slighted in some way because it wasn’t getting the attention it deserved. So we said, ‘Fuck it, we’re just going to steal the show every night.’ I was in The Shield at that time, but you need guys on both sides to push each other.”
It was noted how cutting-edge wrestling is on display every time The BCC enters the ring with Moxley, Danielson and Castagnoli visibly relishing the chance to experiment with in-ring pacing, tempo and timing, bringing an innovation to their matches that subverts the audience’s expectations. Moxley commented on why that is, and looked ahead to The BCC vs. The Elite.
“I love to ask, ‘Why?’” Moxley said. “A lot of times, the answer is because, ‘That’s the way it’s done.’ That goes for all professional wrestling. Why is it that everybody hits the tackle and then takes off and runs to the ropes on their right? What if we cut out the other bullshit and got back to the fight? We’re going to do it our way. Gearing up with The BCC for this war against The Elite, I’m so excited I can do this now that I have my shit straight. I don’t care what obstacles are in front of me. By sheer force of will, I’m going to squeeze every single drop of potential out of myself that I can. Anyone who stands in the way can get fucked. I’m not going to sit idly and let time go by. I’m going to completely realize the best version of Jon Moxley, whatever that is.”
Moxley said he intends to deliver when he steps in the Steel Cage against Omega on Wednesday night. He commented on what he and Omega have in common, and what the factions feud means for pro wrestling right now.
“Another thing me and Kenny have in common is that no matter how our bodies feel, when people give us their time and money, we put it all on the line,” Moxley said. “We just don’t know any other way to do it. The BCC vs. The Elite, this rivalry is the absolute apex of professional wrestling right now. We’re going to have a great crowd and we have the steel cage. It’s got all the ingredients for a really memorable night.”
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