Although 2020 saw the coronavirus pandemic put the world to a halt, pro wrestling was able to keep on going. Within the United States, WWE and AEW did everything it could to stay afloat. A man who was signed by AEW to be a game-changer, did just that.
Jon Moxley had an incredible and unpredictable 2020, and that’s why he’s The Scrap’s 2020 Male Wrestler of the Year.
Honorable Mentions: Drew McIntyre, Finn Balor and Kenny Omega.
Following a program with Kenny Omega, Moxley focused his attention on AEW World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho. Moxley and Jericho engaged in a feud that lasted 3+ months, but it still felt fresh. During this time, Moxley was having stellar matches against the likes of PAC and Jeff Cobb while also sporting an eye patch. The patch was taken seriously, and Moxley made the most of it.
At Revolution in February, Moxley beat Jericho to win his title. In WWE, he was a world champion but couldn’t really develop himself as “the guy” for a long period of time. In AEW, he has thrived in this role. Moxley’s run as a workhorse would not be denied, even as a pandemic took away fans and some of AEW’s momentum. He fought the entire Inner Circle before moving onto other programs. From there, he worked as the underdog against Brian Cage, MJF, Lance Archer, and Eddie Kingston. Using a realistic approach, Moxley would win via submission during those matches. That showed how much of a fighter he truly is.
The feud with Kingston elevated Moxley. Both conducted fantastic promos, as well as tell a story that was years in the making. Their first match was solid, but their “I Quit Match” in November felt like a Match of the Year contender. He lost the title to Omega before the year ended, but he did so fighting.
When Moxley joined the team in 2019, he created a buzz. He was happy to keep it going in 2020 and is excited to help the younger talent grow. Speaking with Sporting News a while back, Moxley discussed his time with AEW so far, and what it meant to be champion.
“Everything is as much as I could have hoped for,” Moxley stated while champion. “I didn’t even know if fans would even want to f—ing see me when I came here. So for fans to really get behind me and push me to the top and have a chance to have a championship run and create, and foster the value of this title and water it like a plant — with every title defense it becomes more and more prestigious. And then I’ll pass that energy on to somebody else, and they’ll do an even better job with it.”
Not only did Moxley carry the AEW brand, but he also performed in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Moxley beat Lance Archer in a Texas Deathmatch on night one of Wrestle Kingdom 14, to win back the IWGP United States Title. He then defended it the next night against Juice Robinson. Moving on, Moxley had a dream feud against Minoru Suzuki, beating him in February. While he wasn’t able to come back to the promotion because of COVID-19, his maniacal presence was still felt.
Nothing stopped father-to-be Jon Moxley from holding 2020 in the palm of his hands. The number one ranked member of the PWI 500 in 2020 may no longer be champion, but his goal of entertaining has not ended.