One year. 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,000 seconds. If you break it down like that it seems like an incredibly long amount time, but at the end of the day or the year rather, is it really all that long? Well, in this crazy world of professional wrestling one year can make all the world of difference, and what a difference one year has made in the career of Jonathan Good. Now better known as Jon Moxley, perhaps no one as had as much of a career turnaround in one year’s time than he has.
It was this time last year that the former Dean Ambrose was in the midst of a much needed and much welcomed heel turn. Although the initial turn, one basically capitalizing on the earlier announcement of Shield brethren Roman Reigns’ leukemia diagnosis was met with mixed reactions, at the end of the day this is professional wrestling. However, what followed the next couple months was anything but. What should have just been the spark to kick off the heel turn and subsequent feud with Seth Rollins became the basis of the feud. Constant exploitation of a real leukemia diagnosis for nothing. It wasn’t even cheap heat, it was just lazy. It was nothing but cheap lines to try and get some sort of shock value maybe, but in reality, was just a company coming across in the poorest and worst of taste. Then it just became weird. The Dean Ambrose character became one of a germaphobe disgusted by the fans? Gorgeous George he was not. He wore a gas mask to the ring, got himself “fan-vaccinated”, and by his own admission, was almost forced to come out with a clothes pin on his nose. Just bizarre. His promos came across more like a crazed germophobic mental patient, and again by his own admission, a “weirdo”. But I guess that was always the character. He just went from being the “good” crazy guy to the “bad” crazy guy. Great upward trajectory. Needless to say, he wanted out. By February, it became known that he would be leaving WWE come the end of his contract. With all that, he wrestled his last match in WWE on April 21st, 2019 and his contract officially expired on April 30th.
Then at 12:01 AM on May 1st, 2019 a video appeared on the now @JonMoxley Twitter account, and Mox was back. But where would Jon Moxley end up? The wrestling world wouldn’t have to wait long to find out the answer, as Jon Moxley would make a surprise appearance and debut following the main event of All Elite Wrestling’s inaugural pay-per-view event Double or Nothing, laying out Kenny Omega. And with that the rebirth of Jon Moxley began. He would follow this up with his first match with the promotion at the Fyter Fest event in a Lights Out, Unsanctioned Match against Joey Janela in a match style that Moxley originally built his name on. In his own words, it was “beautiful, glorious violence.” But rather than slide right back into the style he originally built his name on, Moxley wanted a challenge, and perhaps there is no greater challenge in professional wrestling than New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s G1 Climax tournament. It was in the G1 tournament that Jon Moxley got to show everyone the kind of wrestler he really is. More than focusing on blood and guts, he was able to showcase an ability to work all different kinds of styles from comedy style to Japanese strong style, and in particular his match against Tomohiro Ishii was a classic match of the year candidate. And more importantly, he was finally able to showcase himself, after years of suppression in WWE.
But perhaps even more than anything else in this rebirth, has been his ability to put it all together. Dean Ambrose, Jon Moxley, whatever you want to call him is someone that has always drawn comparisons to some of the most eccentric and unique characters in professional wrestling history. The unpredictability of a Brian Pillman. The wild nature of a Terry Funk. The sharp as a knife mic ability and promo skills of a Roddy Piper. All big names and legends in their own right, but also all big comparisons to live up to for one Jonathan Good. Whereas for most of his tenure in WWE it felt like Dean Ambrose was portraying a character and a parody of these comparisons to himself, it finally feels like not only is Jon Moxley living up to these comparisons, but he’s forging his own path in professional wrestling. Coming off another classic, albeit violent, match against Kenny Omega this past Saturday at AEW Full Gear, what’s next for Jon Moxley is unsure. However, the one thing that can be for sure with Jon Moxley is that he will continue to be himself and do things his own way as he continues to forge his “beautiful, glorious, and sometimes violent” path in professional wrestling.