Spend more than 5 minutes reading the Twitter comments on anything Jon Moxley related and you'll quickly start to notice a trend (not the good type of trend though) - a lot of AEW fans aren’t exactly raving about Moxley’s AEW Championship reign. The comments range from the typical "he's boring" to "he isn't enough of a draw" in regards to ratings and that the title should’ve stayed on Chris Jericho.
So I decided I was going to take a look at how Moxley’s two-month reign has gone down. First off, let me just say this - I am admittedly not the biggest AEW fan you'll ever meet. I was however a big fan of Moxley during his time in WWE as Dean Ambrose. As much as I remember him for being unhinged, funny and unpredictable there is one thing that sticks out to me above all else... he was just as boring when he was the WWE Champion.
But I'll revisit that later. Getting back to Jon Moxley in AEW, him winning the championship at Revolution from Jericho was a huge moment for his career. While I was excited for Moxley’s win and keen to see if he could make more of an impact than he did in WWE, I have to admit that I did have my reservations. Ambrose was always one of those guys where the excitement was found in watching him chase somebody or chase a title. Once he becomes a champion of any sort, whether wild-card or high, he goes a little bit flat.
To be clear, I'm not entirely blaming Moxley for this. There is only so much that a superstar/wrestler can control by themselves and a lot of these issues do come down to booking regardless of who we are talking about. Moxley has also had some bad luck along the way though. At Revolution, he suffered a concussion that kept him out of action for a little while. Not the best start to a Championship reign at all.
Over the past few weeks, he’s been seen in more backstage segments than he has been in ring which largely comes down to the COVID19 pandemic and the alterations made because of it. Despite it not in any way being his fault, this change in format and booking has had a dampening effect on his overall reach with the fans. Throw into the mix the questionable booking of a feud with Jake Hager, which resulted in an underwhelming Empty Arena Match (aren't they all right now?) and the signs all start to point to Moxley being the victim of poor work from the creative team.
It was simply inexcusable that the AEW bookers went down the path of a Hager feud as Mox's first big championship defence. You'd 100% assume that Mox would initially defend against Jericho - after all, why wouldn't he want his rematch? To further fuel that fire, Le Champion had his Inner Circle cronies deliver Moxley a beatdown which resulted in him being powerbombed off the stage. You would think that Moxley’s main focus would be revenge against The Inner Circle, in particular their ringleader Jericho right? Nope. He went directly after Hager for seemingly no reason, handing the former WWE Champion his first loss in AEW. But as for Jericho and the other members of the stable, Moxley hasn’t had any interaction with them at all. They've been conspicuous in their absence.
Personally, I believe AEW should be focusing on Jericho trying to get his title back from Moxley. Jericho has carried the brand on his back since day one and people will always tune in to see his latest egotistical exploits. But they seem to have strayed away from that feud entirely now since Jericho is embroiled in a thoroughly entertaining feud with Matt Hardy.
While Mox’s reign has been lackluster to say the least, I have full confidence in AEW to turn it around with the right opponent and the right story. He had the unenviable task of having to follow on from one of the greatest of all time in Jericho. But with the former champion appearing to be out of the title picture for now; this leaves the door open for other stars to step up and make a name for themselves. There’s always the possibility of round two in Mox and Kenny Omega’s brilliant rivalry from a few months back, though with Omega currently one half of the AEW Tag Team Champions this one may be a little while off. Darby Allin has shown himself to be one of the most talented guys on the roster and has already proven that he can hang with some of the top names in the company. Lance Archer is another who has a long standing rivalry with Mox, dating back to their time in NJPW, which could and should eventually be played into.
The obvious choice however is MJF. His singles record speaks for itself and through his character he has the ability to inject some much needed life into literally any feud against anyone. He is just so easy to despise that it helps get the crowd behind whoever he is facing, something that Moxley desperately needs.
We are fast approaching the one year anniversary of Moxley's shocking AEW debut. He was a monumental acquisition for the upstart brand and is still by far one of the company's biggest assets in their continued dominance over NXT. Let's just put the last 2 months down to teething pains while AEW are still finding their feet post Jericho. With more time and the right opponent I'm sure that the Jon Moxley championship reign can be revived.