Jon Moxley: “Vince McMahon’s way of producing wrestling is killing WWE”
Jon Moxley, f.k.a. Dean Ambrose, appeared on the latest edition of Talk Is Jericho, which dropped today. The episode was recorded late last week. We recapped the incidents that led to Moxley knowing for sure that he was leaving the company here, however he also spoke in depth about the problems with the creative process in WWE.
One of the major creative hurdles with the company is their over-scripting of promos. Moxley noted that promos used to be one of his favorite aspects of pro wrestling, but he was dreading them by the time he left the company.
“They take wrestling away from you,” Moxley said. “Wrestling is my first love and my only love besides my wife. It’s the thing I’m most passionate about, I love it. I feel like I got it back finally. Since I was a little kid, I was always watching tapes, always thinking of promos. I wanted to watch all the wrestling, I loved pacing around the house thinking of promos, waking up in the middle of the night and just thinking of a cool line or a way to tell the story of a match.
“Promos used to be my favorite part of wrestling. I loved it! They ended up becoming my least favorite part, the part I dread. Because now it’s not me coming up with ideas and coming up with ways for me to hook you into our story, it means me trying not to look like an idiot… Sitting down with a writer, that is not how it is supposed to be!”
During the interview, Moxley discussed his return to WWE last summer from injury. He said that he was motivated to return and was working out profusely, even though he felt “shackled” creatively at the time. He said that he was thinking of ideas for his return, only to realize that the company wouldn’t go for it.
“I was so excited to come back to wrestling, but I was not excited to come back to WWE,” Moxley said. “I was picturing myself in other places, I was picturing myself coming back to like CZW. I was picturing myself in Japan. Anywhere but WWE.
“My particular type of charisma, Vince [McMahon] just can’t just let me be. He’s got to put a hat on me or put me in a goofy vehicle. For whatever reason, me and Vince are like Mentos and Diet Coke together, we just create this explosion of goofy nonsense that I detest.”
Moxley flew to Stamford, Connecticut to meet with Vince about his return. He had said that he wanted to come back as a heel to change his character because he hated it. He looked at the return as an opportunity to reinvent himself. He met with Vince again later to discuss his return as it was getting closer about, but was told that The Shield was already advertised for a show in Australia in October so there’s no way that he’ll be a heel before that. He was also told that he would basically be returning as Seth Rollins’ partner, which he loves doing, but it was more of the same.
“Basically their idea of me coming back was exactly what everybody expected,” Moxley said. “No shock, nothing different, just good ol’ Lunatic Fringe. That’s it.”
WWE wanted Moxley to return the week before SummerSlam, but Moxley convinced them to have it be at the pay-per-view. Moxley said he was deflated with how he’d return, but he continued to train hard and then got a call that it would be the week before SummerSlam, as they originally discussed. Moxley also mentioned Rollins’ promo introducing him back where he told Dolph Ziggler that if Ziggler’s going to have a “Scottish Psychopath” in his corner, then he’ll have a lunatic in his. Moxley felt that the verbiage cheapened the original pop as opposed to if they would have just hit his music.
“It’s a small example of they ruin everything!” Moxley exclaimed. “How do you screw that up? Hit the button, play the music! It’s like they have to get their hands in it, they have to justify their jobs or something. It’s a great example of overproducing everything.”
Moxley said that he was leaving WWE regardless of what other companies were out there. He said that he would have left even if there were no other promotions in existence.
When it was time to renew his contract, Moxley said that he was “relishing the opportunity” to say that he wasn’t interested. When he finally was told over Royal Rumble weekend this past January that he would be presented the new contract that Monday at RAW, Moxley said that he couldn’t hold it in anymore and exclaimed that he’s gone as soon as his contract expires. He said he wouldn’t change his mind, it was something he thought about for a long time, it wasn’t an emotional decision, but he was done.
Moxley talked about WWE issuing a press release after rumors of his departure started, which was unprecedented. Moxley doesn’t know why it was sent, other than Vince probably wanted to control the narrative.
“[Vince] has got the Million Dollar Man complex,” Moxley stated. “That’s why he pays Brock [Lesnar] billions of dollars to come in and ruin his company. Because he wants to own Brock. He wants to be like, ‘Brock’s my attraction!’ A guy he has no power over (me), he doesn’t know how to handle it.”
Moxley revealed that he never looked at his new contract when it was offered. Moxley said he felt something akin to a physical depression during his time, because the company “takes away something that you love.” He said that they take away the talents promos because they have writers, they can’t come up with cool things in matches because of the producers and they can’t come up with intriguing storylines because of the writers.
Moxley said that there would be days where he would just lay in bed because he’d be dreading the conversations with the writers. He said that once his departure became real, he feels like a new person. He added that he’s excited with his opportunities with AEW and plans to prove that the WWE creative process is wrong.
“I want to prove that [WWE’s] creative process sucks,” Moxley stated. “It does not work, it’s absolutely terrible. I’ve said that to Vince, I’ve said that to Hunter, I’ve said that Michael Hayes. I can’t even tell you how their system works, it’s some kind of system of meetings that take place in Stamford, then there’s a home team. There’s writers and producers and production meetings and nobody knows what’s approved and what’s not.
“The bureaucratic red tape that you have to go through to get anything approved is crazy! It doesn’t work! It’s killing the company and I think Vince is the problem. And not so much Vince, but whatever the structure that he built around himself probably starting around 2002 after the sale of WCW and this infrastructure of writers, producers and this is what the WWE is and what the product is, and the product sucks. [They have] great talent, amazing talent. None of this is their fault.
“If I had a goal with AEW, that’s that if we can prove that Vince’s way sucks. That’s not what I’m going to focus on, because it’s not about competing with WWE. We’re just going to be over here doing our best and putting on our best product. If a byproduct of that is that it pushes WWE to re-evaluate their creative process and it makes Vince – not that he’s going to step aside because we all know that he’s going to die in the chair – but maybe he’ll listen to someone else’s ideas. Maybe he’ll be open to doing it a different way.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription. You can listen to the full podcast below: