Jon Moxley left WWE under controversial circumstances in 2019 and signed for AEW, making his debut at Double or Nothing 2019.
Since then he has gone on to become a legend in the company, winning the AEW Championship three times and beating top stars like Kenny Omega, CM Punk and Chris Jericho en route to a Hall of Fame calibre run. But why did Jon Moxley leave WWE?
Why Did Jon Moxley Leave WWE?
Jon Moxley revealed that the creative direction the WWE was taking his character was the reason why he left WWE.
After years of being mismanaged with nonsensical booking and forced, scripted promos, he felt depressed and angry at the company and Vince McMahon and decided to leave the company once his contract ended.
The former WWE Champion had his last match in the WWE alongside his former Shield teammates Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins just after Wrestlemania in 2019, as his contract came to an end and he refused to renew with the WWE.
He had no intention of moving to AEW at the time, as by the point where he decided he needed to leave, All Elite Wrestling was just a rumour that nobody believed could be true.
The breaking point for Moxley was a line that he was told to say by Vince McMahon, likely to do with Roman Reigns’ cancer diagnoses. He refused to say the line, on TV or on Talk is Jericho, but said he would tell Chris Jericho after the interview.
“It is the worst line. I’m not going to say it on air, I’ll tell you [Jericho] after we’re done, but I’m not even going to say it on air – that’s how bad it was. It would have been a thing where somebody would’ve had to get fired.”
Moxley also revealed in the interview with Chris Jericho how his booking was terrible and WWE creative ignored all of his suggestions when he tried to make things better. He described his segments as “excruciating” and “a living hell”.
I was fully aware of it through every slow and excruciating second, yet my objections went ignored or refuted, like that movie where the guy is still awake but paralysed during open-heart surgery.
“If you sat through any of my segments on TV during this timeframe, you know what I’m talking about … unless you blocked it from your memory.
If you thought you were confused, imagine what it was like being me? S***, at least you had a remote control. I couldn’t just turn the channel on my own life. I was in a living hell. Gee, it’s fun reminiscing.”
He also described himself as “depressed and angry” during this time that the WWE had forced his hand and that he had to leave the company he dreamed of working for, for the sake of his own mental health.
“I wasn’t just depressed, I was angry,” he continued. “It’s not like I don’t like money. I don’t WANT things to be this way. Why do they have to make it impossible?
Why does everything have to be so f****** stupid? They’re really gonna make me walk away from all this money, aren’t they? They can’t just write one good angle, let me cut one good f****** promo? F***!
He also noted that “they ruin everything!” when talking about his return from a year-long injury that nearly killed him.
The staph infection he suffered prior to reforming the Shield with Seth Rollins eventually took his toll and doctors were worried that it could have killed him had it been left untreated.
Moxley held out hope about his long-awaited return to the ring. It looked like he would be coming back at Summerslam 2018, to help Seth Rollins in his match against Drew McIntyre.
However, the decision was made for him to return the week prior, helping Rollins to even out the numbers when challenged by Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler. He was not included in the match at Summerslam, making his early return seeming rather meaningless.
He also admitted in an interview with Inside the Ropes that he wasn’t even excited about coming back tot he WWE during this time, instead preferring to wrestle for a company like CZW.
However, he was excitied to hear the pop when his music hit after months away and made a suprrise return to the company.
However, he revealed how the WWE ruined the surprise, as Seth Rollins telegraphed the return in his promo and segemneted the pop, taking away the huge return they were expecting.
Before Moxley’s music hit, Rollins said “If you’re going to have a Scottish Psychopath in your corner, I better have a lunatic fringe in mine”.
Then the music hit, but some of the crowd had already figured out what was happened, while others only realised when the music hit, making everyone pop at different times and ultimately spoiling what should have been a huge wall of noise for Dean Ambrose big return.
These were all ultimately reasons why Jon Moxley left WWE. It’s unlikely we’ll ever see Dean Ambrose wrestling in WWE again, especially after the five year deal Moxley signed with AEW these past few months.
He looks to be an AEW lifer at this point, being a three time champion and undoubtedly being a AEW Hall of Fame inductee if that concept is brought over by Tony Khan.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.