Lost & Found: The Re-emergence of Jon Moxley

(Originally published July 7, 2019)


Who is Jon Moxley? That’s a question that could be answered a thousand different ways. The eternal enigma of a man some call “Mox” is forever ongoing. The real question isn’t, “Who is Jon Moxley?” No, the real question is where Jon Moxley has been? And no matter who you ask, it seems we may never get an answer. Believe me, I tried.

Some athletes and stars burst onto the scene out of nowhere. Hulk Hogan debuted for World Wrestling Federation and one month later wrestled in Madison Square Garden against Ted DiBiase. DiBiase, years later, would shock the world again, by introducing The Undertaker to the masses, who took the world by storm.

Moxley did not have that introduction.

Sweeping floors, selling popcorn, and setting up the ring while in Cincinnati, Ohio, Moxley began training under the guiding hands of Les Thatcher and Cody Hawk. His first professional wrestling match was a blip on the radar and resulted in a loss at the hands of Ala Hussein for Heartland Wrestling Association.

But the man who has said he’s had to fight for everything he’s received didn’t stop. He persevered. Continuing to wrestler into 2005 and 2006, Moxley would go on to traverse his local hometown of Cincinnati, wrestling for HWA and earning tag team gold several times with partners such as Jimmy Turner, Rick Byrne, King Vu, and even his original trainer Cody Hawk.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Moxley was two years into his wrestling career and was already a multi-time tag team champion for his promotion. That’s great.” But the man known as Mox was still young in his career and decided to spread his wings.

In 2006, Moxley received his first piece of the big-time, wrestling under the bright light of World Wrestling Entertainment. Teaming with Brad Taylor, Moxley took on the tag team of Joey Mercury and Johnny Nitro, MNM. The match results in a loss for Taylor and Moxley though.

He would then try his hand at taking on the Big Show, with Dick Rick, in a handicap match. Unfortunately, the Big Show was too much to handle and defeated them both. Finally, Moxley wrestled Val Venus in May of 2006, on WWE Heat. While the match had competitive moments, Venus was just too much for Moxley, and he suffered another loss.

While still working for HWA, he was able to capture their world championship three times. He wrestled on a few un-televised matches for Ring of Honor, between 2007 and 2009. He then won the IWA tag team championship with Hade Vansen.

But the place Moxley seemed to finally break out was in Dragon Gate Pro Wrestling.

It was 2009, and Dragon Gate released a video informing the world of just who Jon Moxley was. And as he spoke to the camera, you realized this wasn’t a man that wanted to work bell to bell and put on an elite wrestling match. This wasn’t a man that wanted the money and the gold and the praise from the crowd. No, Jon Moxley revealed himself to be a man that wanted to prove everyone wrong. A man that wanted to fight against the system, to rebel against those he felt kept him down for far too long, and to cause utter chaos in the ring against every opponent he would face.


And he did just that.

While in Dragon Gate, Moxley would go on to wrestle Tommy Dreamer, Jimmy Jacobs, and have a brutal match, resulting in lacerations at the hands of Homicide. But that’s what Moxley came for, remember? To shock the world. Not in the way Muhammad Ali did, but in a way that would make you uncomfortable. In a way that would have you squirming in your chair, and Dragon Gate was just the beginning.

While still wrestling for Dragon Gate, Moxley would go on to fight at Full Impact Pro wrestling, culminating in winning their world championship in April of 2010. Competing against Roderick Strong, Moxley and Strong went bell to bell and Moxley emerged victoriously.

Mere months before that bout, in Combat Zone Wrestling, Moxley would also prove that after his humble beginnings, he was not only a wrestler trying to make his mark, he was going to drive over everyone doing it. He captured the CZW world championship at the promotion’s 11th-anniversary show. After a six-month title reign, Moxley would lose the championship against Nick Gage, only to win it for a second time, one week later. He would hold onto the CZW title for another six months.


It was 2011. Jon Moxley was proving to everyone who he was. Multiple tag team champion for different promotions and multiple world championship reigns for CZW, FIP, and HWA. The world of professional wrestling was learning exactly who Jon Moxley was, and he wasn’t taking prisoners. He was leaving casualties.

And then … he vanished.

No one could get in contact with him. Trainers and associates he traveled with were all left high and dry. No one knew what happened to Jon Moxley. There was still hope, though. During his absence, he was still the reigning FIP champion. But then, with a rumored anonymous message left with the title, Moxley vacated the championship.

Where had he gone? What happened to Jon Moxley?

In what would be the seventh year of his disappearance, I finally got the okay from my editor to look into Moxley’s story. I started my journey back in Cincinnati. It seemed like the logical place to search for him. Rumors swirled about locations Mox would frequent when he was younger, but every lead turned cold. A few shady glances on one street corner, some seemed hesitant to talk. Others flat out ignored me.

Returning to where his journey began, HWA, I found no one there willing to discuss Moxley. Trainers, coaches, former wrestlers; they all gave me the cold shoulder and told me I shouldn’t go searching for things that shouldn’t be found. An ominous message indeed, but I persisted.

Where could a man, who was on the rise in the world of professional wrestling, go? And maybe more importantly, why had he left?

I’ve seen the footage. I’ve heard the interviews. He isn’t lured in this world by riches or women, but even he had to have known he was on the precipice. The final rung of a ladder leading to the top of the wrestling world. He was main-eventing the card, wrestling around the world, winning championship titles, and fighting legends like Tommy Dreamer. Could he really be the mad man that he claimed to be at times, and decided to give it all up on a whim?

My leads had run dry. Returning home to Southern California, I returned to my office at Kayfabe Chronicles and decided I’d done everything I could. Deadlines were looming. My editor was breathing down my neck with a new story about the disappearance of a voodoo doctor from the nineties and trying to investigate a lone garbage truck man. Wherever Jon Moxley had disappeared to, he was apparently gone forever.

Then the internet blew up. A video appeared on a brand-new social media profile, claiming to be Moxley.


But no one knew what it meant? Had he been in prison? Was he on the run? And while those questions were swirling, an anonymous tip was emailed to me. Moxley had been spotted in Vegas.

My editor would not be swayed. Paying for my own food and gas, I made the nearly five-hour trek out to Vegas and checked into my hotel room. But I had no idea where to start. The anonymous tip hadn’t given me anything to go on. I checked diners and dives, old motels where wrestlers used to frequent, and even a couple of casinos. All to find nothing.

Was it all a joke? Was someone screwing with me after my investigation ran cold in Cincinnati?

It was Memorial Day weekend in Las Vegas, and I knew of All Elite Wrestling’s first show, Double or Nothing, was being held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Squeezing a press pass out of my editor, I decided to catch the show and attend the press conference afterward. If I couldn’t find Jon Moxley, at least I can cover one of wrestling’s brightest new promotions.

And then it happened.

Sitting in the press box, the match between Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho had just ended. Jericho, coming out victorious, took to the microphone and began to scold the crowd. He was demanding a “thank you” for all of his efforts in making All Elite Wrestling the promotion it is, and for its new television deal.

While he was berating the fans, a buzz sliced through the crowd. Chatter echoed from row to row, and I looked through the press box window. Marching down the aisle, my eyes nearly fell out of their sockets with what I was seeing. Walking down the aisle with a purpose was one Jon Moxley.

Cargoesque pants, a buzzcut to his hair, he looked as if he’d been through the storm of life and had been spit out the other side. Only he wasn’t defeated. He was eager. He cracked his neck, jumping over the railing, and this life force that was rocking the wrestling world eight years earlier seemed to electrify the crowd.

Jericho turned around to see Moxley and started screaming at him, though I couldn’t hear what it was through the noise of the crowd. And then Moxley attacked Jericho. Then the referee. Then Omega.

Jon Moxley had suddenly surfaced from whatever depth he’d been buried under and caused the entire Grand Garden Center to explode.

Moxley threw Omega from a stack of chips nearly fifteen feet in the air and left through the crowd to the ruckus applause of everyone. Omega, along with his Elite cohorts, addressed the crowd and the attack of Moxley afterward, before being rushed away and sent to the hospital.

I attended the presser afterward and was dying to find out any information about Jon Moxley; where had he been? Where was he going now? What had he been doing for these last eight years? But I was denied access to Moxley. At the presser, AEW officials only took a limited number of questions from reporters, and my questions fell on deaf ears.

Since the event, I’ve tried to contact everyone I could. AEW, the Kahn Family, even returning back to Cincinnati for one final loop, looking for any shred of information I may have missed. But there is nothing. No lingering puzzle pieces to put together. No missing letters to spell out where Jon Moxley disappeared to. And no more anonymous emails hinting at other clues.

Since his re-emergence, Moxley has been traveling the world. He popped up at Northeast Wrestling. Then he showed up in Japan and became the new IWGP United States champion.

Most recently, he fought Joey Janela in an unsanctioned match at the highly controversial Fyter Fest.

Not only is Jon Moxley picking up where he left off eight years ago, but he’s surpassing it. At the time of this article, he’s declared himself as a participant in New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G1 tournament and is already booked for AEW’s show in Jacksonville, Fight for the Fallen. Maybe most importantly, Jon Moxley is proving to everyone, everywhere, what he’s all about; unscripted violence. And he seems to be doing it by any means necessary.

Perhaps it’s better that we don’t know where Jon Moxley’s been for the past eight years. Maybe sometimes the hardest questions to answer should go unanswered. Wherever Moxley has been, perhaps we should just be thankful that’s he’s returned to the wrestling ring, and we can truly see what The Mox has to offer for us now.

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