At the first All Elite Wrestling Revolution pay-per-view event in February 2020, Jon Moxley pinned Chris Jericho to become the second-ever world heavyweight champion of the organization.
Moxley had to deal with one of the most trying years in recent memory, reigning as world champion during the COVID-19 global pandemic. He held the belt until Dec. 2 when he lost to Kenny Omega in one of the best matches of 2020.
The path to regaining the gold has seen a lot of twists and turns. But Moxley will get his chance to become a two-time titleholder at this Sunday's Revolution against Omega in an exploding barbed wire death match. It is the first time this brutal type of match has taken place under the lights of a major pro wresting organization in the United States, after gaining notoriety in Japan's Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling promotion in the 1990s.
.@JonMoxley said all roads in wrestling go through him. But, that road is covered in barbed wire & landmines as Moxley takes on the champion @KennyOmegamanX at #AEWRevolution in an exploding barbed wire death match! Sunday, March 7 LIVE on PPV 8/7c pic.twitter.com/vanaNnpg8S— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) March 3, 2021
Days before the historic battle, Moxley sits with DAZN News to preview the match, discuss who the best wrestlers in the world are and attempt to explain what is so special about him and Omega.
(Editor's note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)
DAZN News: I remember we talked about a year ago, right before Revolution. We talked, and you could feel that it was a big match (with Chris Jericho). It was built up really well. You could feel the energy even in the building the night of the show. Does this match feel like the match a year ago with Jericho? Or is it on a completely different level to you?
Jon Moxley: It's different. (It's) two different stories, two totally different things. The thing with Jericho was a culmination of a year or so kind of for me in coming to AEW and me slaying the final dragon at the end, which was Jericho. It was the culmination of our whole eight weeks of television storytelling. It was a real culmination for me just over the previous 18 months from there to kind of get to the top of everything where I felt like I was the number one guy in the business.
The world championship's on the line, but it's different. Because me and Kenny just had this thing where it's like we're destined to destroy each other. It's hard to even put into words. It's two guys just for whatever reason, they're two positively charged ions or two diametrically opposed things or whatever it is, and they just saw lions and hyenas, whatever you want to call it that just seemingly are destined to create explosions actually, literally, in this case.
From the moment I walked in AEW and threw Kenny off a 20-foot thing and nearly killed him and put him in an ambulance. That was my first night in. Obviously, we had the pay-per-view match (Full Gear 2019) before we took it to all kinds of extreme levels of violence we haven't seen in this country in a long time.
I dropped him on his head. He's beating me up. We beat each other bloody. He's the only guy that has ever defeated me in AEW. It's been almost two years now, coming from the moment I walked in AEW. It's not even like we have this deep story or deep history like a story with like me and Eddie Kingston, where we have like a personal history.
Sky-high onto the shattered glass! pic.twitter.com/tLYgwLwRva— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) November 10, 2019
Me and Kenny is like me and him in the same room, on the same show, on the same card, on the same television screen; just something about the energy creates an explosion. Of all the people I've gone through and run through, and all the people I have dropped on their heads and choked unconscious and everything of everybody will last two years, I've put Kenny through the wringer more than anybody.
I've thrown him off a giant stack of poker chips, thrown him into barbed wire, busted him open, and dropped him headfirst on a bunch of different hard surfaces. I put him through the wringer, and he still keeps coming back for more and upping the ante. So that tells you what kind of performer, competitor, and what kind of screw loose performer that he is. It's just this real combustible thing.
You talk about an exploding barbed wire death match. I don't think there's any two perfect guys if you are going to do that, you're going to try to put that on pay-per-view, if you're going to try to sell tickets and put people in the building to watch this match, I don't think there's any two guys better. And definitely, I don't think better with just kind of personal chemistry and the combustion that creates an explosion.
I don't think there's a better combination than me and Kenny Omega for this match. I don't think I'd want to do it with anybody else.
DN: Is it fair to say that you guys are in a way kindred spirits?
JM: Yeah, definitely. I think you find that the top level of this business and probably a lot of other sports, and different realms of entertainment or any other endeavors, definitely in wrestling, which is a little bit of both. The guys at the very, very top have a certain screw loose. If you go back to the beginning of their careers, the way they did things differently, or the way they were obsessed, you find that they're the people have even though on the surface, you might go those two dudes are totally different people, and they might be.
The commonality is there. The obsession with being at the top. The obsession with what we do. I think the commonality with me and Kenny, more specifically, is a lot of people just want to be at the top and in a more literal way of like, 'Oh, yeah, I want to be the champion. I want to be in the main event. I want to be the most famous. I want to make money. I want to have the nicest, like, whatever'. It's important to them to be recognized as, 'Oh, I am the top guy in a competitive sense'.
Whereas I think with me and Kenny, I've wrestled him enough times to kind of know that I think we share the commonality is we're obsessed with the work of life. We're mad scientists or artists. Although we might play slightly different music, we're just as obsessed with our artwork.
That's a cool thing about wrestling because you have different guys with different styles and stuff. It's like music, or it's like the classic Kenny Omega matches considered classical music. Like a form of storytelling. Very detailed ups and downs and these sweeping epic sagas. A lot of my stuff that I'm known for, and where I'm best at, and what I bring to the table better than anybody would be like thrash metal, like Anthrax, Slayer.
Three minutes in your face, rain and blood, aggressive, offensive, in and out in three minutes, knock your d– off. When you combine two things, like the first time Run DMC and Aerosmith got together, it's rock and hip hop; two different things. Now we combine them.
Now I have walked this way, something entirely new. I think the matches you've seen with me and Kenny, especially the last time, were on pay-per-view together. You have the best of Kenny and the best of what I bring and create something entirely new that nobody's ever seen before. That's exciting. We definitely are kindred spirits in that we're both mad scientists and we're both obsessive artists, and we just really, really care about the work and feeling satisfied with what we created. That's the most important part to us more so than any material accomplishments.
DN: In the grand scheme of it all, do you feel that you and Kenny are the two best guys in this business?
JM: To answer your question very simply and expediently, yes. But I'm not, especially in something like wrestling; it's not like hockey where if you win a Stanley Cup, you're the best hockey team. In wrestling, that's not necessarily the case. It's different.
You can be one of the best. The most important thing is how do you say who's better: Shawn Michaels or Ric Flair? You can't pick. If your favorite wrestler growing up when you were a kid was Big Van Vader or Ahmed Johnson, then they're the best wrestler in the world to you. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter who drew more money or who had people think had better matches. The most important thing is you just got to be the best you.
But yes, I think we are the two best wrestlers in the world right now. Because if I had to answer why, I'd say because what we do, especially here at AEW, is we're being the best versions of ourselves. We're not being fettered or held back. We're not being put in any boxes. We're fully creating the things we want to create the things we want to be. We're not being held back by just about anything.
There are some things you can't do on regular television, but that's about it. As long as I'm not going out there swearing or whipping my d– out, I can pretty much do whatever I want creatively. I wouldn't need to anyway. You're getting the best version of Kenny Omega, the best version of Jon Moxley on a weekly basis on Dynamite. I don't think anybody's doing it at a higher level than me and Kenny are right now. We're both in our prime, both at our peak, both just really hitting on all cylinders.
We're in a position with AEW where we just get to go out there, be given the ball, and get a chance to score touchdowns on a weekly basis. Nobody's doing it at a higher level than us two right now.
DN: Why should fans watch the exploding barbed wire deathmatch between you and Kenny Omega, Sunday at Revolution?
JM: I think you have to watch this weekend, not only because it's going to be an amazing pay-per-view top to bottom, but AEW's got maybe the most stacked talent roster or one of them in the world right now. I think one of the best, best PPVs going right now. That's not even a shot at anybody. I think we have the best. I think it's a fact.
I think we're hitting on all cylinders right now, top to bottom. We've never not delivered a big home run I think on PPV as far as the best every kind of wrestling, from high flying wrestling to tag team wrestling to the main event. You're never disappointed. It's always worth your money to get an AEW pay-per-view. For the main event specifically, I think you're going to see something because you're guaranteed to see a type of match you've never seen on American soil first of all and that you haven't seen anywhere in decades.
Not only is it maybe the most dangerous type of match ever, it's the most spectacularly violent type of match ever with probably the best two wrestlers ever to attempt it or engage in it both at the same time. It's not just an exploding barbed wire death match.
As we spoke about earlier, it's the two best wrestlers in the world having an exploding barbed wire death match. It's going to be something incredibly special that may never happen again. It may be a complete absolute disaster. But either way, people are going to be talking about it for decades to come. So you definitely want to be there live to make sure that you are part of it or remember it when you are talking about it for the next 20 years.