Jon Moxley Discusses How The Pandemic Affected His World Title Reign, Compares His Run With Top NJPW Superstar

AEW superstar Jon Moxley spoke with NJPW's Kevin Kelly about a number of topics, including his world title reign being similar to Tetsuya Naito's, and how he is a key component in opening up the Forbidden Door between the two promotions. The Purveyor of Violence also hypes his IWGP U.S. championship match against KENTA, and hopes to re-establish the belt since it has not been defended in 385 days. Highlights are below.

Compares his world title reign to Tetsuya Naito's due to the pandemic taking away fans:

“You know, [Tetsuya] Naito is going through the exact same that I was. Freshly win the world title, I guess he won it in January, and then all this happened. And then we’re running no shows, and then empty arena shows, so you start — you go from 20,000 people to nobody, so, and you’re like the new world champion. So, you’re like literally the definition of a champion who can’t put asses in seats because we’re not allowed to have asses in seats. So, that sucks. It’s a terrible position to be put in, but at the same time, it’s a — and I’m sure he felt a similar way — like, you got to this position because the company and the fans lean on you and put you in this position. Or you can take it a step further and you might be able to — that’s another great thing about wrestling. You can inspire people through he stories you can tell and overcoming challenges and so forth and setbacks to go on to win championships or whatever, whatever it is. There’s a million different ways we as pro wrestlers can inspire individuals. A lot of people have gone through tough times this year, so that’s kind of a responsibility that we have that we take on, especially world champion type guys like Naito and myself. So, I’m sure he felt the same way. He just took it on as like, ‘OK. We’re gonna — we have to bring — there’s an uncertain, unstable time, so we have to bring stability.’ That’s the way I look at it. To be the rock of Gibraltar in all this craziness, and not just anybody can do that. So you take that kind of responsibility as kind of an honor or a privilege.”

How he has not defended the IWGP U.S. title in 385 days:

“Now the match is going down. It’s a reality, and it’s 100% going down. And that will be exactly a year, and I will be in exactly the position I was in with New Japan exactly a year ago. February, defend the US championship. So, kind of look at it like, ‘OK. We just hit pause for the last 10 months. As far as my career in New Japan, we’ll just do — instead of just a pause, we’ll continue moving forward from here.’ And now the world, hopefully, will start getting a little better. 385 days, I’m not even going to look at it like that because I would’ve defended it 30 days after the last time I defended it and 30 days after that. At least that’s what was on the books until the world went to ****. So, I was look at it as a weird press pause kind of moment, and now we’re back to the — now we’re back to where we started.”

On breaking down the forbidden doors:

“That’s how it always is for me since the beginning. I don’t really give a damn about anybody’s feelings on anything. Like I said, you gotta make halos, sunshine, or whatever, I’ll walk through whatever door I want to walk through. I’ll kick down whatever door I want to kick down. I’ll walk in any room I want, and I’ll take a **** room, I don’t care. But honestly, I think in 2020 and beyond, kind of the whole business has had to adapt and change and look at things different. And just because of the way things have been done the last 10 years, 20 years, whatever, in different places all over the world, in different countries. I think maybe people are looking at it now, ‘Maybe we can do things differently now than what we’ve always done,’ because of the adjustments they’ve had to make during the pandemic has opened their mind to different adjustments. Maybe this guy could come over here. We can bring in a guy over here. Or maybe this company can work with this company, and so forth. Maybe everybody kind of is looking at it like, the business is taking a hit and having to adapt. Maybe we can all work together to make pro wrestling better because the better pro wrestling is as a sport, as a business, as a whole, the better it is for everybody. That’s what the fans want. ultimately, that’s what the wrestlers want. So, I think a lot of ‘forbidden doors’ and all this and stuff that seemed impossible because of the way things have been done — I think anything is possible going forward. But me, I don’t care what anybody else thinks. I’ll walk in wherever I want. If I think there’s an opponent that I want to wrestle or something I want to accomplish, I won’t look at why it can’t be done. I will look at how it can be done, and I will make it happen.”

Full interview is below. (H/T and transcribed by 411 Mania)