Minutes after his WWE contract had officially expired, Dean Ambrose officially changed his wrestling name back to Jon Moxley and uploaded a professionally-made video to Twitter. The 87-second clip showed Moxley escaping from a prison, leading many fans to speculate that he viewed his time working for the WWE as being in prison and now he was free to work as an independent wrestler. The clip has since been viewed more than three million times, instantly making Moxley a viral sensation ahead of his surprise debut for AEW at the Double or Nothing pay-per-view on Saturday.
In a new interview with Chris Jericho on the Talk is Jericho podcast on Wednesday, Moxley revealed the story behind the mysterious video.
"So I had the idea back before anybody knew I was leaving, in January" Moxley said. "I was like, 'Okay, how is this going to look?' Obviously, the world is different now. You've got to use social media, I'm not stupid. .... My idea was, I'm a big fan of movie trailers. And kind of the inspiration for this was the Venom teaser trailer when I first saw it. It was only like 30 seconds, and you didn't see Venom. And the movie didn't come out for eight months, but it gave you just enough to where you're like, 'Oh, I can't wait until that movie comes out! We have to wait so long!" And at that point I kind of knew, likely, that Double or Nothing was going to be the first appearance. And I had to go to great lengths to ensure I'm not advertised or anything before that.
"My idea was to make a movie trailer, like a teaser trailer, just promoting myself," he continued. "And drop it at exactly midnight on April 30. So like literally that I get out of WWE, it's like 'Oh, it's about to get real. It's on!'"
Moxley turned to former deathmatch wrestler and filmmaker "Sick" Nick Mondo to create the film. He described Mondo handing him a film treatment ("It was like a full movie script") for the short film, and Moxley was instantly sold on the idea.
Mondo and Moxley filmed the segment in-between a WWE touring loop in February. Moxley said the production cost roughly $8,000 after using high-quality RED Digital Cinema cameras and renting out a film set in Los Angeles. He said at one point Vince McMahon reached out to him during the filming to try and extend his contract a few more weeks for a European tour, but Moxley said no.
Moxley said he was thrilled with the final product, and said the response online was exactly what he wanted.
"That's how I had envisioned that for months."