Jon Moxley has gone from someone who we knew very little about outside of the ring during his run with the WWE to a man we know an astounding amount regarding his character as a man. Jon Moxley has not had it easy since leaving the promotion. While he found stardom once again in All Elite Wrestling, it wasn’t enough to keep Moxley’s demons at bay. It is well documented that Moxley was in a very low spot in October of last year and would enter rehab due his problems with alcohol.
It is incredibly important to note that Jon Moxley, by all accounts, was not a problematic drunk. His wife Renee and AEW President Tony Khan have both stated that Moxley was never violent or tried to get behind the wheel of a car while drunk. However, it would result in Moxley having a lot of problems with self hatred and coping. For a long time, Jon felt he could not function without alcohol, recently revealing that he felt like he would die if he stopped drinking. This is what withdrawal can do to a man, and that is the main reason why Moxley wanted to enter rehabilitation for his alcoholism. Moxley would enter rehab on Halloween of last year and recently opened up about his time there. ESPN dropped an intriguing look into Moxley’s troubled times last year, with quotes from Eddie Kingston, Renee, Tony & more. The piece was dropped the day after Moxley’s recording of The Sessions with Renee Paquette became watchable to the public.
One thing that fans have noted since Moxley returned to the AEW ring earlier this year is how quickly he assimilated back into the product, once again becoming one of the top workers in the company. Moxley would return in January of this year, and cut an impassioned promo on the January 19th edition of Dynamite.
You may be wondering why at this point in this piece I have not referenced the title, well, now we will cover why Jon Moxley is the true phoenix of professional wrestling in 2022. For many, rehab is seen as a humiliating experience and for even more, it is described as hell for people who have a dependence on substances. Moxley stated in his interview with ESPN that he had gotten to such a low spot he physically couldn’t bring his daughter trick or treating and in the end, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Jon. He would enter rehab and in the same ESPN piece, it was revealed Moxley didn’t care in the slightest what Renee told AEW and what Tony Khan should tell the world regarding his absence. Moxley’s status was addressed directly by Tony Khan, who said that all in AEW were supportive of Moxley and bar a few bad eggs (Bully Ray stating Moxley should apologize for letting down fans springs to mind) Moxley has been supported universally by fans.
This is not always the case however. Usually when a celebrity of any industry enters a rehabilitation centre, it is kept under wraps as much as possible due to the media backlash it usually brings. Moxley however took charge of his own situation and eventually, was happy with the world knowing where he was. Renee Paquette had passed along the news to Moxley through a payphone, as Mox was not allowed a phone while he was at the facility. Even when he was allowed his phone back however, he told the staff he didn’t want it. CM Punk in particular cut a promo supporting Moxley on the Dynamite following the announcement. Punk would say how proud he was of Moxley in this promo.
Anyway, back to the point of this editorial. CM Punk said when he was injured that “The get back will be bigger than the set back”. This statement encapsulates Jon Moxley’s re-emergence to the top of the AEW card. For those who do not know, a phoenix is an immortal bird in Greek mythology that is born again from its own ashes and burns brighter upon that regeneration. Moxley went through the fires of hell to kick his addiction and is now reaping the rewards of that good will.
Circling back to CM Punk, his injury left AEW in a tough position. The main event for Forbidden Door was up in the air and the AEW World Title would need an interim championship until Punk is ring ready. Fans expected Tanahashi to be part of that situation and Jon Moxley was the man chosen to represent AEW in the main event of their biggest show in the companies short lifespan. See, Jon Moxley and Hiroshi Tanahashi have a long history. Moxley said in a promo prior to the match that he’s been chasing “Ace” all over Japan.
Now, back to the Phoenix analogy briefly. The part that makes this important is because Jon Moxley went to rock bottom and he could have easily given up. He was even told by a therapist in the rehabilitation facility he attended that he should retire for the ring. Moxley has been open in the fact he thinks the therapist was wrong, and it appears that may be the most truthful thing Moxley has said. Since returning in January, Moxley has never looked better in the ring and his character and mic work has been incredible. Last night on AEW Dynamite, Moxley would make his first entrance as AEW Interim World Champion and the man was fired up. Usually making a beeline for the ringside area in his entrance, Moxley would soak up the love from the AEW crowd as the serenaded Jon to the ring as Wild Thing blared out. Moxley was ecstatic and at one point missed a camera cue because he was too busy going nuts on the ramp.
For fans who have kept up to date with Moxley’s story, it was a humanizing moment for a character that is much larger than life. Since returning to AEW, Moxley has torn it up with Bryan Danielson, formed the Blackpool Combat Club, had an incredible star making performance with Wheeler Yuta and his promo work leading to Forbidden Door and Blood and Guts was some of his best work on the microphone. Jon Moxley has never burned brighter in his pro wrestling career and he deserves every bit of love that he is receiving now.
Truth be told, Moxley is at a point in his career where he could play the trump card with CM Punk. He has stepped up for the company in a big way in the last few weeks. With all the injuries to top talent in the promotion, Moxley was left as the man to carry the western audience’s attention in the main event and with the numbers Tony Khan has been quoting, he seems to have succeeded in more ways than one.
Why is Jon Moxley the true phoenix of professional wrestling? Because he has constantly been at rock bottom in one way or another in his pro wrestling career and always finds a way to burn brighter than he ever had done before. One way or another, the title unification program with CM Punk will be an interesting one, and despite many wanting to see MJF take the title off Punk, hopefully we will get to see a program between Moxley and Punk beforehand.
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