When Jon Moxley made his debut for AEW, the entire wrestling world erupted. This wasn’t just a surprise for the crowd or those watching around the world, though. According to Jim Ross, this was a surprise even for him.
“I didn’t know it was going to happen,” Ross said in an interview with Sports Illustrated. “I knew we were negotiating with Moxley. I asked what was happening with him about 10 days ago, and I was told it was going well, but when it came time for the show, his name wasn’t anywhere on my format sheet. It left my mind because I had more I knew I had to prepare for.”
This is the way things should be in wrestling as the best way to get an authentic reaction out of someone is to truly catch them off guard. Ross has been in the industry long enough to know these surprises can come at any time. More importantly, he’s best prepared to amplify these moments through commentary in a way that only he can.
Ross wouldn’t disappoint on the broadcast and he’d compare the debut to one of the most historic moments in the history of the wrestling business; a moment he was on the commentary desk for.
“The lucky part for me is it reminded me of Mick Foley getting thrown off the cell,” Ross said. “I didn’t know that was going to happen, and the same thing happened on Saturday night in Vegas. I didn’t know Moxley was coming out there. He was so full of passion and raw, animal magnetism. I felt it in my bone marrow, it was a ‘Stone Cold’ moment.”
Fans Did Their Part at Double or Nothing
While Double or Nothing seemingly went off without a hitch, it wouldn’t have been possible without the crowd. This is true of any wrestling event as the performers and crowd are supposed to bounce segments off of each other while keeping the ball moving forward.
Ross would mention how good the crowd in the MGM Grand Garden Arena was as well in the interview, saying that did their part to make the show special.
“The crowd there should be saluted, each and every person. They brought something special. The only places I can remember hearing a crowd quite like that are some nights during the ‘Attitude Era’ in Chicago and at the Garden in New York.
This audience, without question, was there because they wanted to be there, they made sacrifices to be there, and man, when they got in their seats, they delivered. We should all be grateful for that.”
Moxley’s debut was done as well as anybody could have hoped, but it was still just one gear in what was ultimately a tremendous debut for All Elite Wrestling.