Has Jon Moxley Surpassed Roman Reigns And Seth Rollins In 2022?

Jon Moxley, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins will always be compared because almost ten years ago, they debuted together on the WWE main roster at Survivor Series 2012. They would take out Ryback and leave the ringside area in chaos after delivering the first of many triple powerbombs. Fast forward to 2022 and Jon Moxley is wrestling for All Elite Wrestling where he is the current AEW Interim World Champion. Meanwhile, Roman Reigns has reduced his schedule while remaining the WWE Undisputed Universal Champion. Rollins is still successful as one of WWE’s top heels and arguably helped produce Roman Reigns’ best storyline and match this year.

Due to the link they share in one of WWE’s most iconic factions, fans tend to argue over who is the best of the three and for a long time it was a case that many fans have had varying opinions for different reasons. In terms of kayfabe success, it isn’t remotely close as Roman Reigns has been pushed as the next John Cena since the split of The Shield. While Rollins and Moxley have also had success, it does not compare to the litany of accomplishments that Reigns has achieved in WWE.

For a casual fan, that would be the end of the conversation. However, for many fans that is not the case as the argument can be made that both Moxley and Rollins have had better storylines and matches than The Tribal Chief. In 2022, Jon Moxley has had a career resurgence since returning from his stint in rehab. Moxley returned in January and since has torn it up with some of the best in the world including Hiroshi Tanahashi, The Jericho Appreciation Society, Kyle O’Reilly, Bryan Danielson and Wheeler Yuta. Meanwhile in WWE, Seth Rollins delivered a trilogy of incredible matches with Cody Rhodes, including a 5 star match at Hell In A Cell despite Cody working with a torn pectoral muscle. Reigns meanwhile has defended his world championships twice after unifying the WWE World Title’s at WrestleMania 38 vs Brock Lesnar. However, since winning the titles his schedule has been reduced heavily. Reigns is next set to defend his titles vs Drew McIntyre at Clash At The Castle next month.

It would be remiss if I didn’t for a moment to touch on how incredible these three stars are as individuals and as a faction. Despite all three suffering through adversity in their lives and careers they have all shone brightest in recent years as they continue to get better and are arguably three of the biggest stars in the sport in 2022. While Moxley has had his stint in rehab, Roman Reigns has battled through Leukaemia to return to WWE and has been on fire ever since. Rollins of course had to deal with his nude photos being leaked and multiple injuries including an ACL tear that kept him out for almost a year when he was at his red hottest.

Now, the question that lead to you clicking on this editorial. Has Jon Moxley surpassed his Shield brothers in the year 2022? Personally, I feel he has to an extent that Rollins and Reigns cannot touch and here’s why.

Jon Moxley returned in January earlier this year and cut an incredible return promo that ended with a highly motivated Mox declaring all he drinks now is blood. This would lead Moxley into a storyline with Bryan Danielson where Danielson teased the possibility of teaming with Moxley. Mox would respond to Danielson he doesn’t team with people he hasn’t bled with first and they agreed to a match at AEW Revolution. Moxley would defeat Danielson but the match would not be the end of their fight, where the two would brawl until William Regal got involved, making them shake hands and the Blackpool Combat Club was born. While Roman Reigns has been aligned with his cousins in The Bloodline, the story that has been told since Regal showed up at Revolution has lead to Moxley taking a leader-esque role with the faction.

Shortly after the match between the pair, they would team together and garner some momentum with several wins. The Blackpool Combat Club then decided to recruit Wheeler Yuta who would go one on one with both Danielson and Moxley, with both matches being praised incredibly well, with the match with Moxley being a star making moment for Wheeler Yuta. Yuta would join The Blackpool Combat Club and Moxley would take a role with Yuta similar to the relationship he had with Shooter in New Japan. To this day, Moxley still treats Yuta in this role with the pair even teaming recently with fans noting Moxley’s reactions to Yuta being beaten down.

But Moxley’s run kicked into another gear when CM Punk was announced to be injured and an interim world champion would need to be crowned at Forbidden Door. Moxley would have an incredible match with Kyle O’Reilly in the main event of Dynamite that would end with Moxley getting the win and earning a match at Forbidden Door for the AEW Interim World Title. His opponent? Hiroshi Tanahashi, an opponent Moxley had been wanting to face for years while he was IWGP United States Champion. Moxley would put the build of the match on his back due to Tanahashi’s limited English and this lead to several interesting promos from Moxley, including when the two faced off for the first time in the ring in the leadup to the match. The match at Forbidden Door would deliver, with Moxley pulling out the win and became the new interim AEW World Champion.

Since becoming the interim AEW World champion, Moxley has had several title eliminator and title defense matches for the title and his promos have made a lot of fans forget that CM Punk remains the AEW World Heavyweight Champion until the two unify the interim and full world championships. He has consistently shot down the idea that he is an interim world champion and has treated his current reign like a full world title reign, proclaiming he is already a two time AEW World Champion. Now, Moxley is set to unify those titles with Punk and the date seems set for All Out.

Now, Moxley has not only been wrestling in AEW since returning to the ring. Despite his new status as AEW Interim World Champion, Moxley has not reduced his dates and also remains the GCW World Champion, which he successfully defended at GCW Homecoming Part 1 vs Effy. Next, he will face Nick Gage in a career vs title match with a time and date of Moxley’s choosing that is expected to be incredibly violent. In terms of AEW World title defenses, Moxley has retained vs Brody King, RUSH and Chris Jericho while also defeating Mance Warner and Konosuke Takeshita in title eliminator matches. He was also on the victorious team at Blood And Guts, taking part in Anarchy In The Arena. Moxley has also been to NJPW repeatedly, facing Will Ospreay and Suzuki-Gun amongst other matches, all incredible matches. Moxley has been delivering at a ridiculous output since returning to the ring and it is not only with the big names. His matches with Wheeler Yuta and and Konosuke Takeshita elevated both competitors even in defeat, something that can not be said for Roman Reigns this year. Seth Rollins on the other hand has not been doing well at WWE premium live events this year. Losing in every match he’s had on a premium live event, Seth is next set to take on Riddle at WWE Clash At The Castle as he looks to retain momentum.

While Roman has certainly had the best year in terms of kayfabe, I would argue that Moxley has blown both Roman and Seth’s current runs this year. That is not to say that they are not having incredible runs, they are, but Moxley is on an all timer run in AEW and is set to take part in the biggest world title match in AEW’s history in enemy territory at All Out.

But then again – who else could you buy as being unafraid of the Chicago crowd while facing CM Punk than The Death Rider?

Follow Corey at @CoreyBrennanBS on Twitter

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