Jon Moxley was the latest guest on the Talk is Jericho podcast where the new AEW superstar discusses years of frustration, even battles with depression, due to the WWE’s abysmal creative process. Moxley reveals that he knew he wanted to leave the company in July of 2018 when he was sitting on the sidelines with an injury.
I knew, I pretty much knew I was gone in July of 2018 and at that point I was out with an injury. I tore my tricep and normally that would only like a four month thing, but it was so banged up and bruised cause I had been working on it hurt for a long time and the tendon was all mangled and everything so it was a minimum like six months. Then I got staff infection, then I had to go into surgery again, it turned into like nine months, it was a mess. Very miserable time in my life. Very challenging.
Moxley’s story of telling the Senior Director of Talent Relations that he was done.
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 OK.
Moxley would then go into detail about specific incidences that drove him to exhaustion, such as the promos written for him following his heel-turn on Seth Rollins on the same night Roman Reigns announced his battle with leukemia. Moxley took issue with telling Reigns he had to “answer to the man upstairs” but that Vince McMahon assured him it was necessary. There was even a line that Moxley outright refused to say because he believes it could have lost them sponsorship.
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!
He then discusses how on that same night he had to argue with McMahon about wearing a surgical mask during a promo, where he would tell fans they were “smelly.” It was content like this that drove Moxley to the brink of frustration.
I remember leaning on a road case and just feeling actual exhaustion. Just like emotional, physical, mental exhaustion. Not so much because of that day, but because of six of 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 maiming a mannequin in the ring is a stupid idea. I was done. Why do I work here? I’m a professional wrestler who can tell stories and come up with promos. I believe I have the capability to talk people into buildings, I believe that I developed 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 because they’d probably do a better job. I’m not interested in doing in.
Moxley would later admit that he didn’t even look at the new contract that WWE offered him, stating that even if WWE were the only wrestling company in the world he still would have left. As for his final appearance for WWE in the Shield Final Chapter special, Moxley reveals that he was only paid $500 for his work, something that is offered to extras or WWE enhancement talent who appear on television. He did however, spend $8,000 of his own money on his social media prison video that went viral shortly after his departure.
Despite all of his grievances, Moxley says that is grateful for all the positives that came out of working for WWE because it helped shape him into the man he is today.
Nothing by gratitude toward WWE. Nothing but positivity over here. Nothing but gratitude. I’m so grateful for my run there; that place changed my life. When I walked in there, I was a kid. 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.
Check out the full Talk is Jericho below.