Now that he’s left WWE, made his debut in AEW, and made plans with New Japan as well, Jon Moxley is gifted with a new freedom to tell the truth about his experiences working for WWE under the name Dean Ambrose. His interview with Chris Jericho last week got everyone talking, and now he’s also spoken to The Wade Keller Pro-Wrestling Podcast about similar topics. On Talk Is Jericho he touched on a wide variety of problems with WWE, including Brock Lesnar, but Keller gave him a chance to go into detail about the much discussed match between Ambrose and Lesnar that landed with a thud at WrestleMania 32 in 2016.
Moxley makes clear that he was originally incredibly excited to have a Street Fight with Brock Lesnar. He was excited to try and steal the show with some hardcore spots, but it was not to be.
This is like, my dream opponent, dream scenario, Street Fight. I’m like, you can imagine how much effort and time and thought I put into this, right? This is my life. Like I’m saying, the match happened because of the vibe I put out. So now that they book it, they’re writing it. Now it becomes goofball city again. They’ve got me doing a thing with Terry Funk where — as great as it was to do something with Terry Funk, I’m chainsawing a table for some reason. Mick Foley’s giving me his barbed wire bat that I’m never gonna get to use. I’m like, “Why can’t we use it?” They’re like, “Oh, blood.” [sighs] I was also thinking in my head that they’re afraid to yell at Brock. So I’m like, “maybe we get a little hardway juice,” you know what I mean? I’m thinking, “This is gonna be cool.”
And I’m thinking Brock is probably thinking on the same page as me, like, “We’re gonna tear it up!” And I think he thought he was just doing me a favor, me being in the ring with him was enough to like do awesome things for me. I think that’s what he thought. He didn’t wanna be there, I mean he just put in the — and then the week leading up, I’m like — because this thing is a Street Fight. It’s not a match you can just call in the ring. It’s a Street Fight at WrestleMania, so we’ve gotta get stunts approved and set up, we’ve gotta get props for table bumps, or whatever we’re gonna do. I pitched all this stuff to everybody, all the producers and I feel like I’m just getting ignored. Because our match wasn’t important to any of the producers or writers, or Vince. They just gave me enough to give me the match, but they didn’t give me any help to make it a good angle or like, make it a hotter thing people want to see. And [I’m like] “Can we do this? Can we do this? Can we, all these different stunts and stuff.” Like, I’m ready to die in the ring. I’m ready to take the worst — I’m not trying to put Brock through abuse. I’m trying to take the worst beating in the history of the world. I’m ready to be, if he kills me? Great, I’ll go down as a legend. I was ready to do ANYTHING. But in the weeks leading up, the angle was not good, Brock’s not even there half the time, we don’t do anything interesting.
Moxley became discouraged when Vince scripted him to come to the ring with a little red wagon, which he did reference as one of Vince’s bad ideas in the previous Jericho interview.
The week before, in the go-home in Brooklyn, I carried a little red wagon to the ring and fill it with weapons. I go into Vince’s office. I’m mortified. Mortified! And I’m like, “Yo! I’m going to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. I’m going to my death! This is so serious, and you’ve got me dragging a little red wagon. Make me understand.” And he’s like “Oh, it’s uh, it’s dead serious to you. You used to drag that white weapon out there, you aren’t even going to look at him. You’re gonna drag the wagon out, put your weapons in. ‘I’ll see you at WrestleMania.’” I was like, I couldn’t convince him otherwise and I’m like, “Okay.” I tried to do it exactly the way he saw it, and I’m thinking — and we’re in Brooklyn. I’m gonna walk out with a little red wagon and they’re gonna laugh at me. And they’re gonna think I’m the guy that’s gonna beat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania? I mean, it kind of got over in the building to a degree, like they kinda laughed, you know. Because if anyone can pull a little red wagon and make it cool, it’s me. I remember right after that segment, I said to Brock, “Dude. I get to Dallas tomorrow, I don’t know whenever you want to talk. Whatever you need, call me at midnight, I’ll come over.” And he just goes, “It’s gonna be okay. It’s gonna be okay. Just don’t worry about anything. It’s gonna be fine.” And it made me kind of feel like, “Okay, he’s got like a plan or something?” So I’m like, “Okay, all right.”
As Mania got closer, he kept pitching ideas that kept falling on deaf ears.
So we have this conference call. Conference call comes, I lay it out. Nobody says anything, I’m like, “Okay, here are all my ideas” I give like every idea I’ve had for the past three weeks that nobody wants to listen to. Brock’s probably not even listening, and he just goes, “I mean, I don’t think we need all that stuff. I mean, all that extra gimmicks and stuff. It’s just a simple story. I mean look, you go to Suplex City, you get your hands on a weapon and make a comeback.” And I’m like, and here’s the thing I kept saying throughout the week. I kept going, “What are the weapons?” And it was like “Well, you got a kendo and a chair. Can’t use any tables, because those are saved for other people.” They’re more important than my match. Can’t you know, no stunts, no nothing, you know? So like, I’m just like, “Aw, f**k.” So I keep hoping that like the day of, something’s going to happen that’s magic. Because we had magic in the three-way we had before and like the little promo we did. It was there. Now the angle’s kind of goofy but like, something good might happen. I even pitched that he just elbows the s**t out of me and does a doctor stoppage. The same thing he did with Randy at SummerSlam. That’ll be cool. And you can’t say there’ll be blood because they immediately stopped the match.
In the week before Mania, Moxley attempted to rehearse with Lesnar, but Lesnar had no interest in rehearsing and didn’t even get to town until the night before the show.
So day of the show, I get there at like 11 AM. He doesn’t show up until like three o’ clock. We haven’t talked about any of this match. 3 o’ clock. Show starts at 5, we’re like fourth. Start talking about stuff, he’s just walking away, talking to other people. He’s not really interested, doesn’t wanna be there. And this is the most important match of my life. I’m like, everybody at WrestleMania wants to show up and steal the show. There are people on the show that night that I know were literally rehearsing their match for a month at like the Performance Center. Because you should show up at WrestleMania to want to f**king steal the show. And I was like, “Dude, we have the opportunity, we have a Street Fight. We can do anything. I’ll take any bump you want! Literally I’m begging you to f**king choke me. Please, powerbomb me into thumbtacks a hundred times.” “Oh, we don’t need all that.” Like, he did not have the mentality of trying to steal the show at all. Did not give a s**t.
So we’re finally talking, we start talking about the match in earnest the first time while the second match is going on. And we’re fourth. And then we don’t have a finish! And I’m like, he doesn’t want me to kick out of multiple F5s, and at WrestleMania everybody kicks out of like five F5s. Because he only does Germans and F5s. And I’m throwing stuff out there at the last minute, stuff that’s coming to my head. I’m like, “What if you f**king like run head-first into a chair and you back up into me and I put you into a German or something?” He’s like, “No.” By the end I’m throwing out every f**king stupid idea, you know? So we put together a little f**king sequence of dumb f**king — we put together a finish of like, maybe I’ll grab the barbed wire and duck it, and throw me into a pile of chairs, which was not even that good. That’s a brawl, that’s not WrestleMania. And I built it up in media like, “Yo, this is gonna be nuts.” I was banging my head against the wall screaming at everybody for weeks it felt like, and it felt like I was invisible. Main reason was, I wasn’t the most important match on the show. I was basically non-important at all. As long as Brock’s on the show, Brock’s good. Other matches were more important, whatever match was on the show that night. I was just, they didn’t give a s**t.
Dean Ambrose knew going in that he was going to lose to Brock Lesnar, but it’s clear that he was defeated by this match far more profoundly than he could possibly have anticipated. (Thanks to 411Mania for the podcast transcript.)