Jon Moxley wants the ball. Following his title loss to CM Punk at AEW All Out, the ace of All Elite Wrestling opened AEW Dynamite with an impassioned promo on what his employer's top prize means to him. While he's a two-time AEW World Champion, Moxley's first and longest reign came almost exclusively in empty arenas, as he held the title throughout the bulk of the global pandemic. Regardless of the circumstances, Moxley was still able to defend the title in high-caliber matches, including acclaimed bouts against Eddie Kingston, Darby Allin, and the late Brodie Lee.
"What means something to me is what the AEW World Championship represents," Moxley said. "The AEW World Championship represents passion for this sport. Passion for this business. It represents the passion of the guys and girls in the back and the fans that fill the arenas and watch at home. Those three letters in the AEW World Championship represent heroes during a pandemic and a time where the world needed heroes. It represents the dream. The vision that we all had when we started this whole thing years ago, when we wanted to show the world just what wrestling could be."
After those fiery words, Moxley quietly noted that he was supposed to be on vacation "until two days ago." This confirmed reports that Mox was set to take some time off following AEW All Out, before his presence was needed after Punk was forced to vacate the title due to injury.
It's now been confirmed that Moxley's absence from AEW was originally going to extend deep into the fall.
"[Moxley's] doing good. Man, he was supposed to be on vacation, six weeks, we were going to go fishing," Moxley's longtime friend Robert Anthony said on The Tyrus and Timpf Podcast. "Now he's back to work, he's not too happy about it. He's p--sed off and he's back at work and he cut a hell of a promo on Wednesday. We'll see where it goes, you know what I mean? It's just a lot of negatives in the positives over there."
The Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer added to this, reporting that Moxley's time away from AEW was supposed to be worked into a storyline.
"Moxley had an angle planned that he sort of acknowledged on the air where he would be going on vacation to lead to a return with emphasis, but that's out the window, as it appears he, Jericho, MJF, and Danielson will be the key stars carrying the company for now," Meltzer wrote.
Moxley battles Sammy Guevara in the semifinals of the AEW Tournament of Champions this Wednesday on AEW Dynamite.