Jon Moxley’s AEW Championship history is the most comprehensive in history – but which is the most impressive of his title reigns?
Since his arrival in the promotion at AEW Double or Nothing 2019, nobody has embodied the spirit of AEW as much as Jon Moxley. The former Dean Ambrose in WWE came into the promotion with all the hype in the world, having left WWE after Wrestlemania 35 with a point to prove and a new lease on life.
He made an immediate bang upon his first entrance, attacking Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho after their main event match and made his mark on AEW. He marked himself as a top star in the promotion and it was only a matter of time until we saw Jon Moxley as AEW Champion in the company.
Since his first title win at AEW Revolution 2019, Jon Moxley boasts the record for the most titles in the company history. He has held the companies world championship a record three times, one more than his rival CM Punk and two more than the other former champions.
He has carried the company through tough times and helped build them up to the point where they attracted top stars like CM Punk and Bryan Danielson. Even through his recovery from alcoholism, Jon Moxley continued to be a consummate professional and helped elevate the company and the young star to a whole other level whilst also presenting himself as the true AEW Champion in the division.
In this article, we will look at the three legendary Jon Moxley AEW Championship reigns, ranking them from worst to best and analysing what makes Jon Moxley the best AEW world champion the company has had so far. Let us know what you think in the comments and who you think is AEW’s best champion so far.
2nd Reign – Forbidden Door 2022 to All Out 2022
The second reign of Jon Moxley as AEW Champion will, for the purpose of not overcomplicating things, will be considered to have begun at Forbidden Door. He won the Interim AEW Championship at the event by defeating NJPW legend Hiroshi Tanahashi in the main event.
The AEW World title had been won by CM Punk at Double or Nothing 2022, but his reign only lasted a week. A foot injury forced him to take a leave of absence from the company, but the injury was not so severe that he needed to vacate the title. Therefore, a mini-tournament for the Interim AEW Championship was set up, with Jon Moxley winning his second title.
He would unify the interim title with CM Punk’s AEW Championship on the August 24, 2022 episode of AEW Dynamite when he defeated Punk in a short match. It went barely three minutes after Moxley targeted Punk’s injured foot, leading to a final showdown at All Out 2022 for the AEW Championship between the two former WWE Champions.
His reign would end at the event, as CM Punk became victorious in his home town of Chicago. This ended his second reign at three title defences, although they were all before he unified his interim title with CM Punk’s belt. He defended against Brody King, Rush and Chris Jericho en route to his clash in Chicago and became the first ever two time holder of the belt.
This reign was his least impressive, as it technically only lasted 11 days according to AEW. The three title defences were all very low-key affairs, with only the Chris Jericho match having any sense of jeopardy. It was also the time where he began to bleed in almost every match he took part in which the fans soon saw through and began to get bored of.
3rd Reign – Grand Slam 2022 to Now
The third AEW Championship reign for Jon Moxley is also the one that is currently ongoing. Despite losing the title to CM Punk at All Out 2022, he would win it back at Grand Slam 2022 in a huge match against fellow Blackpool Combat Club member Bryan Danielson.
The title was vacated after All Out, due to an injury and suspension to CM Punk ruling him out of action for up to 8 months. This led him to finally decide to let go of the title, leaving a vacuum of power in the AEW main event scene.
After Moxley defeated Danielson to win his record third AEW Championship, his first defence would come against Adam Page. This match took place in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, the first time AEW had toured the city. He faced Hangman in the main event of AEW Dynamite in a first time ever match that had fans salivating about.
It was a fantastic match until Page overturned on a lariat bump, landing on his head and suffering a “nasty concussion”. The referee called off the match and awarded the win to Jon Moxley, although it is not how he would have wanted his first AEW Championship defence of this reign to go.
He is set to defend his title against MJF at Full Gear 2022 and while it did not get off to a good start, he came in clutch in a pitch, cancelling his holiday to once again prop up the company in hard times and show he is the ace of AEW, not Kenny Omega.
1st Reign – AEW Revolution 2020 to Winter is Coming 2020
It would not take him long at all to win gold. He feuded with Kenny Omega until Full Gear 2019 and then moved on to his next target – Chris Jericho. The then AEW Champion battled hard against the former WWE Champion but eventually fell, losing the title at AEW Revolution in the main event of the show.
This should have been Moxley’s crowning glory and lead him to rising to the top of the industry, making him a household name. However, the world would soon fall apart as the dread COVID-19 pandemic caused everything to be shut down and left AEW with a mad rush to film as much content as they could.
This also left them with empty arenas, with no fans allowed to attend due to the lockdown in Florida. This left AEW in a very precarious position – they needed to keep filming tv shows but had no fans to gauge their reactions of. This also led to some strange booking, with some wrestlers unable to attend Dynamite tapings due to illness, isolation or other reasons (for example, Roman Reigns stepped away from WWE due to his cancer history).
This led to some odd challengers for the championship during this one – Jake Hager and The Butcher being two prime examples. Despite the uncertainty of the world and the strange ways AEW were operating under, Jon Moxley still continued to prove his worth and kept the AEW Championship as the most prestigious title in pro wrestling.
Jon Moxley’s AEW Championship reign marked him as a fighting champion. He set a record, which to this day still stands in AEW, for the most title defences. He defended the title 9 times against 8 different opponents, with only Eddie Kingston facing his twice for the title, losing both times.
His title defences were against the following AEW stars;
- Jake Hager
- Mr. Brodie Lee
- Brian Cage
- Darby Allin
- Eddie Kingston
- The Butcher
- Lance Archer
He was undoubtedly the top star in the promotion during this time, with nobody coming close. Kenny Omega was being built up as the man to beat him for the title eventually, but Moxley managed to beat everyone who came calling in a variety of matches that showed off his versatility inside the ring.
Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega would eventually clash at AEW Winter if Coming 2020. The special episode of AEW Dynamite featured the debut of the iconic Sting and also saw the first time that the AEW Championship would change hands on an episode of AEW Dynamite (although, funnily enough, both of his next two reigns would begin on TV as well). Kenny Omega pinned Moxley after help from Don Callis to become the AEW Champion and end his reign at 277.
This was the best reign of Jon Moxley as AEW Champion so far, even taking the pandemic into account. He carried the show on his shoulders and showed that he could still lead the company through trying times and without the audience in his corner. His matches were also brilliant story driven and emotional and gave fans a reason to tune in during one of the darkest periods in modern history.
What do you think is Jon Moxley’s AEW Championship reign? Let us know in the comments or click below to read about CM Punk as WWE Champion