This was recorded on May 29, 2019
Wade Keller is the host.
It is in two parts, totaling around two and a half hours long. Both parts are included in this recap. Also, I listened to this via the PW Torch VIP feed so there was not the commercials that are included in the free version.
Before we get into the interview, Keller prefaces by stating this is his first interview since appearing at AEW Double or Nothing and that they will not go over what had been said on Chris Jericho’s podcast, which is his intention. In fact, Keller tells us listeners to go ahead and listen to Jericho’s podcast as a precursor. Keller also says a few topics discussed will be his match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 32, What happened during his appearance on the Stone Cold Steve Austin Podcast, thoughts on AEW, and working with Triple H and how it differs from Vince McMahon. He also notes that there is a brief sound quality issue at one point as this entire preamble last over five minutes long.
Keller first asks how it feels to do something like Jericho’s podcast as Moxley is not a social media guy. Moxley says it felt cathartic and that he had been going over what he said in his head at the end of his WWE run because he was driving alone a lot due to Roman Reigns being out of action. Moxley said depending on the day his thoughts would be more venomous and sometimes nicer as he hopes his emotions did not take over and made him sound negative on Jericho’s podcast. Moxley said his goal is to shine a light on what goes on backstage in WWE as people think they know but really don’t since they are not there themselves.
Moxley briefly talks about getting to try new things now that he is out of the WWE and can take any booking without distractions like chasing “brass rings” and can focus on having fun with wrestling.
Keller brings up his AEW promo about a “paradigm shift” and how his character embodies what AEW represents due to how he left WWE and talking about his experiences in the company and wants to know how that is feeding his character going forward. Moxley said everything is “touch and go” as he plans to figure it out as he goes along, feeling that is the best way to go about your character. He then talks about how in the span of ten minutes he shot three promos with AEW that were all “good stuff” and suggested to Cody they have a camera follow him backstage before entering the arena as Moxley said there was no writers needed, which is how its supposed to be. He also told us the Young Bucks came up with the idea for Joey Janela to approach him backstage with the cigarette (Moxley took the cigarette and blew smoke in Janela’s face before leaving) as Moxley said he accomplished more in these ten minutes than he had his last six months in WWE.
Keller now asks about the WWE creative process and why it has not changed. Moxley says if he needs to do a one minute promo in WWE, you need a lighting guy, sound guy, and find a place backstage to do it but if one little thing is off Vince will make you do it again instead of filming how it looks like in sports as he talks about the overproduction making everything look fake. Moxley says a backstage promo can get approved by a “top” writer and will only give the “okay” if he knows Vince will like it himself. Moxley also adds that the talent are not scared of their jobs and will constantly pitch ideas but that the writers and producers in WWE are easily replaced and that he would not go off script to cost someone else their job. He also adds the talent are the ones that usually yell at the writers and producers to change things.
When asked about writing for characters and how its bad, Moxley said its not necessarily the writers faults but that their jobs shouldn’t exist then adds you suck at your job if you need a writer to get over in WWE. Moxley said writers he liked cannot write a promo for him because they are not him as he knows what to say for his character. Keller follows up to ask how many guys are capable of doing their own promos without a writer as Moxley said you do not need to be great at promos to succeed and can improve over time or get coached. Moxley said he loves collaborating but that reading scripts is not collaborating and you cannot improve by just reading scripts.
Moxley talks about hitting his stride as a performer while in FCW and felt like he was the man on the mic, whether true or not, but that the second you get to WWE that ability is taken out of your arsenal due to the overproduction then notes how he hates segments where you trade insults while the crowd reacts. Moxley said the creative system marginalizes everyone and that if prime Steve Austin came into 2019 WWE the “Austin 3:16” would have never been created. Moxley also said this knock against WWE creative has been said by many for the past 15-20 years with Keller adding some factors as Vince wanting tons of writers as to not have what happened when Vince Russo & Ed Ferrera departing for WCW in 1999 and Stephanie McMahon wanting more involvement.
Keller asks about how the talent feels about the process in WWE. Moxley said everyone is different and that not everyone is treated like crap as they can book people strong. He believes some people are happy to be there, like his friend R-Truth (who Moxley puts over for always smiling and being pleasant), and some just complain for the sake of complaining and that everyone is different.
Moxley talks about being told you need a good relationship with Vince and how you have to go through “ten layers” to get anything approved and would get frustrated waiting for Vince to make a decision so he decided to just go straight to Vince in order to know what he would be doing for his segments. Moxley even puts over having a good relationship with Vince. Moxley also adds that Vince always liked him and even liked his ideas (sometimes going with them) but towards the end realized that Vince himself is the problem with the creative process and says its a shame because there is so much talent in the company and they have unlimited resources. Moxley adds how everyone seems to like NXT and the key ingredient missing is Vince and says Vince should even take a break for a month and let Triple H run things to see what happens.
Moxley now adds an example when he was wrong and Vince was right. He was wrestling Seth Rollins at SummerSlam 2014 when Vince told him to beat Rollins and punish him for his crimes. Moxley said he had an idea to take out a toolbox and pull his tongue out and thought it was a good idea but was told by Vince it was too much. Moxley asks what to do and Vince tells him to curb stomp Rollins as Moxley & Rollins realized it was great and adds it was the most over thing in the match since Rollins had been using that move in the weeks leading up to the PPV. Moxley said he always gave Vince benefit of the doubt but did not see the genius of Vince in his last few months and goes as far as to say that Vince does not even know what the fuck is going on in 2019.
In whether or not he has confidence that Triple H can take over for Vince, Moxley said who else do they have and that Triple H has prepared for this and even run things when Vince was not present. He thinks Triple H will give talent more freedom but if envisions a better way will give his input as he puts him over for having good ideas.
Keller asks Moxley about The Shield and felt he was the vocal leader at the beginning and how that changed. Moxley said he did a lot of talking at the beginning because he was the most comfortable and said they were just reading scripts. He talks about his first day on the main roster and how they had an interview with Michael Cole and were handed a script that sucked, saying it talked about Board of Directors and stuff but he was really naive and took the script as a suggestion instead of something he had to read verbatim because they never did this in FCW. Moxley said he was then told about reading this verbatim and had a sinking feeling about reading scripted promos. He then talked about the first Shield in-ring promo and felt they did an awesome job but after the adrenaline wore off wondered what the hell they were even talking about.
Moxley said he was originally going to come into WWE and do a program with Mick Foley that they even started filming stuff for but that was dropped as Foley could not get medical clearance to wrestler so he sat around until the Shield was formed. At the time, Moxley felt the program with Foley would have been awesome and in his mind thought it would be a classic feud but realized later on he would have been handed a script thus he would not get over due to reacting poorly and likely would have been buried for having a bad attitude.
On who helped him out in the locker room when first getting to the main roster, Moxley put over Chris Jericho for always trying to make things better and gave advice on how to talk to Vince, like not talk to Vince when he is eating because you’ll get ignored.
Keller then asks what Vince is a fan of when it comes to wrestling. Moxley said if you tell a story that Vince will be into it as he does not care about moves or even the actual wrestling, noting he has torn matches apart that had a lot of highspots and great in-ring wrestling. He then adds you will not believe who Vince rides hard backstage when it comes to their matches.
On RAW being three hours long, Moxley said he knows why they do it (the money) but that its too much time to fill. Moxley says even with three hours they still have people who are never used on TV and suggests instead of overexposing everyone and giving away PPV matches on TV to use someone like Tyler Breeze, Chad Gable, or Apollo Crews then give regulars who are banged up some rest while talent never getting a chance can try to get over and you can then condition the fans that everyone is important to a degree. Moxley then references UFC and how two guys you never heard of can have the best fight of the night and fans get into them as a result.
Keller now asks about the polarizing reaction Roman Reigns gets from the fans. Moxley said you knew it would happen when everyone realized he was going to get the top push and decided to turn on and felt it was similar as to what happened to John Cena. Moxley recalls Reigns coming up to him saying Vince wanted him to use the “suffering succotash” line and if there was any cool way to pull it off. Moxley said he had no idea then suggested Reigns he look into the camera after delivering the line and say how it wasn’t easy to say. Moxley also adds that Reigns never wanted to say that line to begin with then puts him over as a lovable guy who the locker room gravitates towards but the company does not let him be himself. Moxley really puts over Reigns as a person then and never felt any jealous of his push because of their friendship. Keller then asks if they ever approached Vince with ways to have Reigns real-life persona show up in his character as Moxley said Reigns would cut these awesome promos in the car and would try to say it on TV but was then told no and that he had to read from the script. Moxley rode with Reigns a lot it seems.
Keller brings up the advertised matches against Nia Jax and why they were pulled. Moxley said he had no idea but was ready to do whatever and did not want the WWE to hold anything against him when it came to extending his contract as his goal was to ride out his contract without incident then leave. Moxley also said had he wrestled Nia it would have been a break from going through tables and other plunder like he was doing up until leaving.
Moxley said he felt awkward about his farewell tour when he had to go out and say bye to the crowds and did not even know what to say to them so just thanked them for coming out.
Keller then goes off topic to ask Moxley about whether or not he binge watches TV shows. Moxley said Reigns tried to get him into Game of Thrones but he could not get invested then mentions watching “This is Us” and “trash TV” with his wife as he talks about it being tough to get invested into shows.
We get another rundown of what to expect in this part by Keller. It also lasts for over five minutes and in the VIP version its unedited as he warns us about Moxley cursing and to not listen to this with the kids around.
Keller now asks Ambrose about the videos he has produced. Moxley said the first one where he was in prison took two days and was filmed in Los Angeles then had to catch a red-eye flight back to Las Vegas but said it was deeply satisfying to film as he could present himself the way he wanted to be and how it was the most fun he has had in forever as a performer.
Moxley once again talks about his love of collaborating with people and how he even loves when people have better ideas than him then talks about talking until 4am with Cody, Jericho, Kenny Omega, and Young Bucks because they all have passion. Moxley also says people who think AEW will fail because they think there is “too many cooks in the kitchen” do not realize there are ten times more people in the creative process in WWE. He also says in AEW they all know what they are doing when it comes to wrestling, unlike WWE, but does put over Jamie Noble and Michael Hayes for being great producers. Moxley said he can call Cody with an idea and talk for two hours and do not need to go through many layers and talks about how he stopped coming up with stuff at the end of his WWE run due to frustration.
Moxley said a lot of writers have great ideas but cannot get them approved because of Vince and has no idea how they keep their sanity. Moxley tells a story about the end of this past SummerSlam was originally going to be the return of The Shield with them stopping Braun Strowman from cashing in by using the triple powerbomb but at 6pm before the show, Brock Lesnar decided to change everything and Vince went with Brock’s idea as Moxley said Brock’s idea made everyone but himself look stupid and talks about the writers looking upset over their plan not being able to happen. Moxley also blames Vince for this, not Brock, as Vince has final say.
Keller now asks Moxley about his match against Lesnar at WrestleMania 32. Moxley said he had three-way matches with Reigns and Lesnar that went great and talked about getting into Lesnar’s face and cutting crazy promos that got him over. The original plans for this WrestleMania were that he’d work with Jericho and Lesnar work with Bray Wyatt but they switched it because he “earned” the match due to getting over in these three-ways. Moxley talks about being excited but then the writers turned it into “goofball city” and had him chainsaw a table with Terry Funk and receive a barbed-wire bat from Foley that he’d never be able to use. Moxley also hinted that the company is afraid to tell Brock “no” and believed Lesnar felt that facing him was enough of a favor thus not wanting to do any sort of stunts. Moxley said he pitched all sorts of ideas but was ignored because the match wasn’t important to Vince. He then talks about having to wheel around a little red wagon to fill with weapons on the go-home RAW before the PPV and asked Vince why he’d do this before facing a serious opponent like Lesnar. Vince told Moxley to wheel it out then tell Lesnar he’ll see him at WrestleMania as Moxley felt he’d just get laughed at by the crowd.
Moxley talks about the match and how Lesnar did not get in until the night before the show so they did not rehearse or go over things beforehand and just had a conference call with Lesnar, Heyman, Hayes, and Noble. Moxley asked Vince if he could do a thumbtack bump as Vince said “maybe” while smiling and went over other stuff he wanted to do with Noble to try and get approved, even using ankle locks and heel hooks like Frank Mir did to beat Lesnar but said no one wanted to put any effort into the match itself. Moxley goes back to the call and said there were stunts planned for other matches and he could not do most of the stuff he wanted. Moxley said that Lesnar showed up at 3pm the day of WrestleMania and did not seem to want to be there while Moxley himself said he wanted to steal the show and that people practice matches for months to make sure they are great for Mania. Moxley also said Lesnar did not want to do any of his ideas and said he felt sad watching Shane McMahon get to jump off of stuff while he had to “mail it in” for his match. Moxley also added that he thought up a spot where Lesnar got maced and Lesnar decided at the last minute it sounded good but they were too late and made a prop that looked like shit thus making it unusable as Moxley said this is what happens when you are unable to communicate on a regular basis. Moxley said the match is fine in a vaccuum and suitable for RAW but a major disappointment seeing how it was built as a crazy brawl for WrestleMania. Moxley said Lesnar does get treated different but does not hold a vendetta against him and notes he would have rather worked with Jericho as originally planned.
Keller now asks Moxley what happened on his appearance during the “Stone Cold Steve Austin” podcast. Moxley said he was looking forward to it and wanted to talk wrestling. The producer called like a week before and kept asking about questions from his childhood but Moxley basically blew it off as it being none of his business and did not really want to discuss the topic. During the podcast, Moxley said Austin pissed him off by saying something and after that he mentally shut down. Moxley said it was his day off and he was champion at the time, doing double-shots and worn down dealing with poor creative like the rest of the talent and had Austin telling him he should go off script. Moxley says Austin can say what he wants and has a catchphrase while they have to read off of a dumb script as he said all he wanted to do on the show was talk wrestling. Moxley says he loves Austin and will do the podcast again and say what he wants but that they are dealing with different shit today and did not know how to say that on that podcast so he went into autopilot. He also felt at the time he got bamboozled by the producer and during the show was pissed about that too. Keller then asks if they talked about it afterwards as Moxley says Austin did not mean any harm and that he himself was in a rock and a hard place and jokes about Austin being a huge favorite and an iconic figure while he wheels little red wagons to the ring.
On his signing with AEW and whether or not he had any trepidation about signing another corporate deal, Moxley said he did not rush into it but he sees wrestling the same way as Cody, Kenny, Bucks, etc. and wants to have wrestling presented that way then goes into having a chance to change the business, which is better than doing a bunch of Indy dates. Moxley also talks about the chants for his name at AEW was the greatest moment of his career then watched the moment back one hundred times because it was his name before getting signed with WWE that was chanted.
Keller talks about the environment backstage at AEW and how it felt much more relaxing than WWE and saw Tony Khan at the media scrum and how a wrestling promoter actually talked to the media like a human being. Moxley said it felt like where he belongs and can do whatever is needed as he lived the WWE superstar life and can get up and do media at 6am among other things. Moxley said AEW is not about taking down WWE but rather about creating “good stuff” and is excited for the future.
Moxley then talks about facing Joey Janela at “Fyter Fest” and is learning about him and notes he is similar to himself and has a “feeling” about the match. On Kenny Omega, Moxley calls him “awesome” and puts over his athleticism and explosiveness and wishes he could do what he does in the ring. Moxley also talks about being excited about facing Juice Robinson in NJPW and said they know each other from FCW.
Keller now asks him about social media as Moxley jokes about barely knowing how to post anything and that Twitter is essentially giving your phone number to the entire world and letting them send text messages all at once. He then jokes about waking up and wanting to hear the opinion of everyone else in the world.
The final question from Keller is about what CM Punk said in his podcast about the company keeping talent in the dark on how the WWE Network would effect their pay. Keller said he talked to a handful of wrestles that felt disrespected there was not a formal answer on this and wants to know if Moxley received an answer. Moxley said he remembered the explanation was they had a pool of money and get the same amount for PPVs but that he came in just before the Network was started and did not have much to compare. He felt they stayed similar then talks about this being the final WWE question he’ll answer. Moxley said there is a house show model where less money is made and the giant TV contracts is not something the talent sees the benefits of and talks about it being dumb to risk your WrestleMania main eventer risk injury like Becky Lynch did at a house show in Pikeville, KY the week before the PPV. He then said eventually they’ll have to eliminate some house shows and pay more on the downside as their business model needs to be changed.
Moxley ends by jokingly saying no more questions about Vince and plugs his matches against Janela and Robinson.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this interview. It was a great follow up to the Jericho podcast and Moxley answered some questions I think most fans wanted to know such as what happened on Austin’s podcast and his stuff with Lesnar. Keller also deserves credit for the interview for the questions he asked, including the follow-ups, and had a good rapport with Moxley here.
When listening to this and his appearance on Jericho’s podcast, I’m not getting the feeling some are in saying Moxley is whining or even coming across as a dick. He’s not bashing anyone in particular as his focus is on telling us the creative process and how it is effecting the shows they watch. And he says this is the case for everyone, not himself. Moxley decided several months before his contract expired that he was going to leave the company and did but in doing so did not burn bridges or cause a commotion but rather showed up to work and did what was asked. And even when he was burned out by the creative process and stopped fighting for his ideas he still did everything that was asked. He’s not anti-WWE from what I’m hearing, and wouldn’t say that because his wife works there, but wants to go out and show the world what he can do as a performer without being the “wacky” guy he was presented as at times in the WWE. And seems to be done with their tough travel schedule too as I cannot imagine wanting to do that if you are unhappy. Plus, you think people want him on as a guest on their shows to talk about working against Dolph Ziggler and Bray Wyatt? And, he’s out doing new things and promoting himself so talking about why you left is needed. Ignoring that part would make him come across poorly and I’d question even wanting to interview him to begin with but he talked about it and is now moving forward with his career.
Overall, I do recommend listening to this interview and start off with the Jericho podcast if you haven’t already and you can do so HERE
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