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The Curious Case of Jon Moxley

Neville Triplett looks at Jon Moxley and all the avenues open to him following his departure from WWE.

On April 30, 2019, Jon Moxley, formerly known as Dean Ambrose, posted a video to twitter indicating that his time with WWE was well and truly done.

This announcement sent shockwaves through the professional wrestling community with fans and wrestlers alike weighing in on the topic. Moxley’s real name is Jonathan Good, he wrestled under the moniker Jon Moxley during his rise through the independent wrestling ranks from 2004 until his entrance in the WWE in 2011. The return to the Moxley character paired with the video he posted on Twitter has many wondering which promotion he will end up wrestling for in the future.

Dean Ambrose’s eight-year stint with WWE came to an end on the April 8th, 2019 edition of WWE Raw. The match featured Ambrose vs. Bobby Lashley aka The All Mighty and ended with Lashley putting Ambrose through the announcer’s table. A fitting end to Dean’s time in WWE as he is best known for being the “Lunatic Fringe”, with a style more suited for a street brawl than as an in ring technician. His brash attitude and lack of respect for WWE authority made him a fan favorite throughout his time in the WWE.

Ambrose’s WWE resume boasts a WWE Championship, a United States Championship and as a three-time Intercontinental Champion. The Lunatic Fringe was also part of The Shield, a trio which skyrocketed from being a relatively unknown group to some of WWE’s best known and loved wrestlers featuring Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and The Big Dog Roman Reigns. The Shield debuted at Survivor Series in November of 2012. After a successful two-year run, The Shield disbanded in 2014 at which point Ambrose became a singles wrestler once again.

Speculation has been rampant across social media as to where Jon Moxley will land. Fans and wrestling aficionados alike have pointed to clues from the twitter video while other sources have predicted everything from Moxley joining All Elite Wrestling to the idea that he is actually staying in the WWE and that this is an angle to boost interest and ratings. Moxley has been less than forthcoming about his future plans. You can see a portion of the interview below: courtesy of WWE.

It appears that Moxley is in no hurry to tip his hand about his future in the wrestling business. Michael Cole interviewed members of The Shield and Ambrose attempted to head off questions about his future by stating: “Eight years ago, I walked into this casino. And now I’m cashing in my chips, and I’m walking away from the table. I won the game. And what I do with the rest of my life from here on out, is my business. I answer to no one.” Many people suspect that creative control over his character rather than financial reward will be the determining factor for Moxley.

Is this a ruse by Dean Ambrose and the WWE to boost its ever declining ratings? Is there already a deal in place for Jon Moxley to debut somewhere else even as early as this month? Only time will tell. Let’s take a look at the most likely scenarios for Jon Moxley to continue his wrestling career. I can envision three places which would fit his unique position as a free agent. It is no secret that Jon Moxley has not been happy with the direction of his career over the last three to six months. He is now in a position to rejuvenate himself professionally and to rekindle the passion that has made him a fan favorite wrestler over the past several years.

All Elite Wrestling seems like the best and most likely fit for Moxley for a number of reasons. AEW already has an impressive stable of talent such as Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, Cody Rhodes, and Chris Jericho. Landing a big-time name like Moxley would bolster the AEW brand and allow Moxley to make an appearance almost immediately at Double or Nothing later this month in Las Vegas. The timing is perfect for both AEW and Moxley as each would benefit from his presence. The mere possibility has generated more excitement for this highly anticipated event and sent fans abuzz across social media. Many people have pointed to the dice in Moxley’s Twitter promo representing Las Vegas where Double or Nothing takes place. Other observant fans note that the numerals on the dice, a 2 and 5 correspond to the date of Double or Nothing, May 25th. Are these strategically placed clues about his intentions or mere coincidences? I’ll let you decide. The mere speculation of Moxley joining AEW has benefitted the organization far more than any advertisements or press conferences ever could. No matter what he decides, AEW is already a winner in the short term of the Jon Moxley sweepstakes.

Another potential landing spot for Moxley is New Japan Pro Wrestling. NJPW is the second largest professional wrestling organization with respect to attendance and revenue. The physical style of NJPW would be a compliment to the brawling gritty brand of wrestling Moxley prefers to employ. NJPW also has agreements with Ring of Honor wrestling which often include talent sharing and exchanges as well as pay per view crossovers. With names such as AJ Styles, Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho as alumni, NJPW certainly has the credibility to attract a top tier talent such as Moxley. Additionally, New Japan Pro Wrestling has deep enough pockets to compensate a wrestler of Moxley’s calibre should all other factors be equal. We stated before that creative control of the character is important to Moxley but let’s not pretend that money is completely insignificant.

Ring of Honor is an intriguing spot for Moxley to take his talents to. He would be the biggest star the organization would have on its roster and consequently, the brand would center around him. Being the face of the franchise would show wrestling insiders what he is capable of doing for an organization. As the crown jewel of the organization; Moxley, would presumably, be given a high degree of creative freedom and control over his professional brand.  If he is able to propel Ring of Honor from the depths of mediocrity to respectability then he would be able to write his own ticket and name his price for the next phase of his career.

It is not often that a performer of Jon Moxley’s calibre and profile finds himself in a position in which he has the leverage. There is an abundance of options for him to choose from professionally. From a fan’s perspective, this is the golden age of professional wrestling as there are more choices for the fan to select than ever before. It is the responsibility of the organizations as well as the individual wrestlers themselves to attract and retain fans for their specific style and brand. Fans now have instant access to the thoughts and opinions of wrestlers throughout the multiple social media platforms that the performers must use to compete for the attention and loyalty of fans. I, for one, can not wait to see where Jon Moxley winds up and how his character develops in his new environment.

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You can find the author of this article on Twitter @ngtriplett. Thanks for reading!

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