Jon Moxley Says Working With Minoru Suzuki Was A “Dream Come True”

During a recent interview with Uproxx, Jon Moxley commented on working with Minoru Suzuki in New Japan Pro Wrestling, and more. You can check out some highlights from the interview below:

On his angle with Shota Umino: “It was a small thing that grew into a funnier big thing. It’s kind of the brainchild of a guy named Gedo who’s New Japan’s booker. In New Japan, everybody’s involved in, like, a group. You’ve got Chaos and L.I.J. and the Bullet Club and you have some people who are just kind of rogue independents like me. So, on the off days in the G1 you have tag matches, but I wouldn’t have any tag partners. So basically, it was a way to get me a tag partner. I would beat him, respect his toughness, and then I decide to make him my, like, young boy tag partner thing. But he has such a funny – I don’t know what it is about him. There’s something funny about him. I was coming to New Japan to finally be this serious, kickass competitor, but when I looked at him and the camera’s on I just couldn’t help – because I enjoy doing, like, improv comedy on the fly sometimes, I think have a bit of a knack for deadpan humor and stuff like that – so I just couldn’t help but make the situation kind of funny, because this was the opportunity for some comedy gold here with Shota. As soon as I called him Shooter I knew everyone was going to start calling him Shooter, which I thought was funny too. And then when he was going to the UK, I gave him one of my jackets that I had worn to the ring for him to wear to the ring because I was like, “Okay, I guarantee when he goes to the UK everybody’s going to chant ‘Shooter’ at him” and people are going to pay more attention to him and he’s going to gain experience more quickly. So hopefully when he comes back and he’s a big star and the king of Japan and I’m all old and broken down and broke in America he throws me a bone.”

On what he’s enjoyed about NJPW: “Yeah, getting to work with Minoru Suzuki was a dream come true, just kind of a dream match that I was hoping for one day. I didn’t think our paths would ever cross, and it was like that would be a really cool, kind of bucket list opponent to check off. But you never know when you’re going to have your last match or you’re going to get hit by a bus or you’re going to break your neck or whatever. You never know when it’s your last day until your last day. So I thought before I retire, it would be really cool to get a chance to wrestle him once. And we did and it was an extremely physical and violent affair and it was exactly the kind of just in your face action we both like to bring and it was very cool. And just the whole getting to work at the Tokyo Dome. I had missed the two previous WrestleManias and I got to do two nights straight in the Tokyo Dome, so that kind of made up for it in my mind. Getting to do a Texas Death Match in the Tokyo Dome was like, come on, that’s like Christmas for me. Are you kidding me? That was awesome. And I’m kind of proud of my efforts throughout the whole G1, being able to go through the whole G1 at full octane every single night, and I was battling through a couple injuries too, like everybody was. The locker room during the G1 looks like a triage unit… It’s the toughest tournament in pro wrestling, so to be able to do that was kind of a badge of honor. Yeah, I love wrestling in Japan. I love the fans over there.”

On if it’s different performing in empty arenas: “Oh, definitely. Having an audience is such a critical element of pro wrestling and if nobody’s in the building it just sucks so much of the energy out of everything and it’s really challenging. Everybody’s kind of finding different ways to work around that, whether that’s the way you shoot it on camera, or lot of people are doing different cinematic style matches and stuff. It’s definitely tough. When a building is going crazy and it’s all loud it can almost be like a mask and stuff. It keeps the energy going more, and so [without fans] you’ve got to dial up the physicality, you’ve got to keep everything tighter. I was really proud of the match I had with Jake Hager the other week in front of no people because it was just like kind of a real physical, realistic and we beat the actual crap out of each other. It was kind of what we had to do. It’s not ideal for anybody to wrestle in front of empty arenas, but as long as everybody’s safe and so forth… You know, the whole world right now is going through real hard times and struggling and there’s a lot going on out there, so the best we can do in pro wrestling is just provide a slight distraction for a minute.”