Jon Moxley is the new IWGP United States champion. Mox won the title from Juice Robinson on June 5 at New Japan’s Best of the Super Junior finals in Ryogoku. This was the former Shield founder’s first match in New Japan and he most certainly delivered on the hype.
Fans expected a brawl and that’s exactly what they got. Robinson had been haunted by a video that replayed several times over the past couple of months and it was obvious that someone was coming in to challenge him for the title. But no one could have known it was Jon Moxley.
But Jon’s Japanese presence is now a reality, as is the fire he brought to the match with Juice. The two men had something to prove on the worldwide stage and for many fans, this match stole the show. As this bout unfolded, it became clear that Moxley was in his element and that Robinson is indeed a top guy.
Moxley’s entrance video was broadcast on the big screen, showing him escaping from prison and also hanging out at a bar. The video was a combination of the one released on Jon’s Twitter account and the one that’s teased his debut in New Japan.
As the hard guitar riff rang out over the loudspeakers, Mox made his traditional Shield entrance though the audience. But these were not the American fans who cheered for Dean Ambrose. This was a new set of fans; men and women that knew exactly who Jon Moxley was in his previous life.
Watch Moxley’s entrance in New Japan!
The man now known as The Death Rider came down to the ring full of intensity and he brought every ounce of that intensity down on Juice Robinson, who had shorn his trademark dreadlocks. The two men fought in the crowd, delivering the fight that Robinson promised it would be.
Moxley opened a cut over Juice’s left eye, which added just the right amount of drama to the match. Mox tried a table spot after slamming Robinson with a steel chair, but the table did not break at first. So Jon suplexed Juice through the table instead, which led to a near cont-out. But this match was not over yet.
Moxley hit a full release suplex, which brought a stunned reaction from the capacity crowd. Jon continued on the attack and locked Juice in Bret Hart’s signature Figure-4 on the ringpost. The match was only 15 minutes old at this point, though it felt much longer. Robinson finally began mounting a comeback, selling the brutality of the match every step of the way.
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) June 5, 2019
But Juice’s momentum was short-lived as Mox was back to his feet and on the attack once again. The fans even began chanting for Jon, despite seeing their favorite star Juice Robinson taking the brunt of the physicality. Juice finally fired up and stood toe-to-toe with Moxley, trading punches until both men ended up on the floor once again.
Moxley went for a second table and leaned it up on the ringside barrier. But before he could utilize it, Robinson hit him with the Left Hand of God. Juice took his time, contemplating his next move. Suddenly he hit a running flip on Mox, but the table remained in one piece. However this did not deter Juice, who yelled “I’m breaking this motherf****r!”
Juice did exactly that and power-bombed Jon through the table. The crowd was firmly on Juice’s side now, as he threw Moxley into the ring and tried to submit The Death Rider in a Boston Crab. But Jon locked in a Cloverleaf and now it was Robinson who was in trouble. The crowd began cheering for Juice again and the champ finally escaped the hold.
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) June 5, 2019
Juice hit another LHOG, then went for Pulp Friction, but Mox reversed it. Robinson nearly got the pin but Jon kicked out and Juice began to fire up one more time. But Jon hit his trademark Double Arm DDT, once known as Dirty Deeds. The crowd sensed it was over but Juice kicked out. But Robinson was on his way out, as Moxley hit an elevated DDT, lifting Robinson up off the mat and crashing back down. Jon got the pin and the IWGP United States Championship.
The audience was split on their reaction, as they fully realized one of the company’s top babyfaces had actually lost to an outsider. But as Mox took a bow to all sides in the ring, those same fans surely understood that The Death Rider will now become part of their pro wrestling vocabulary. Jon Moxley is here and it’s a new day for him, as well as New Japan.
Watch the closing moments of Moxley versus Robinson!
But how long will he be there? Jon is of course signed with AEW and he’s on his way to face Joey Janela at the company’s Fyter Fest event on June 29. However, Moxley is being allowed to take bookings outside of AEW until the company hits the TNT Network this fall. That means Jon Moxley could conceivably compete in New Japan for the next two to three months.
Mox definitely brings a new flavor to New Japan and that’s a good thing. He’s also a shot in the arm for the company, which of course regularly features American stars on top. But Jon is something different and he stands out from every Westerner that’s helped bring NJPW to the states thus far.
So what does the future hold for Jon Moxley in AEW? Chris Jericho, Hangman Page, Kenny Omega and Cody Rhodes are the top four stars of the men’s division right now. But Moxley must be considered on that short list already. His WWE past is behind him now and it will always be a huge part of his story.
But Jon is starting over and it could not have come at a better time. Moxley is back on his game and he’s anxious to prove just how good he is. More importantly, he’s hungry and it shows every time he’s on camera. Jon Moxley is the hottest star in the pro wrestling business right now and there’s definitely much more to come.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes,YouTube, iHeart Radio, boinkstudios.com and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live