I was absolutely happy with it. I really feel that it was a near-flawless performance of what we tried to accomplish. I really tried to make this year something very different than what people were used to seeing of me. Things are much more strict in my world now. Not only that, but going on this new venture with AEW and doing this TV thing, assuming a management role, producing my own segments, producing other people’s segments, producing and structuring matches other than my own–these are all challenges I wanted to assume. Aside from that, I wanted to do things and try new things. When people call me the best, I take that seriously. It’s not only a compliment, I take it more as a responsibility. You can’t be the best if you’re very good at one particular thing. I want to be able to perform any type of match, any scenario, any situation–I want to be able to perform better than anybody. That’s why I’ve made trips to AAA to challenge myself in the Lucha style. That’s why I did the deathmatch style with Moxley.
On what has stood out the most performing weekly on AEW Dynamite:
Every week is a new challenge. There are certain things that I’m still easing into, myself. It’s a different role in a universe with a different set of rules. I’ve purposely taken a backseat as an actor/performer. I wouldn’t say a back backseat, but I’m not at the forefront, which I think was an expectation from people–and I’m happy to be that way because I think we have so many stars that deserve a chance to show what they’ve got.
It’s strange. That was always a very special time of the year. You’d spend time at home during the holidays with family, you’d do the New Year’s thing, which in my case, I’d do the New Year’s thing in Japan. The next big thing, of course, would be the Tokyo Dome. That was the process, that’s what we would do. I never really had any other largescale show that was always on the same day up until the New Japan Wrestle Kingdom shows. We would do big shows in DDT when I was a mainstay there, but the date always changed. It was never the same day. With Wrestle Kingdom, it’s always January 4. It was even strange for me to watch the G1 via computer and not be there at the arena. That was something I’d always expected myself to be a part of.
On his goals for 2020:
There is a myriad of performers in AEW that I’ve yet to tie up with. It doesn’t have to be completed next year, but all of these guys, they all have some kind of reputation. I would like to step in the ring with them and see how it goes. I might be able to find a new type of chemistry with someone I never knew existed. I’m looking forward to mixing it up with guys like Darby Allin, and whether it happens or not, I’m looking forward to exploring this feud more with PAC, who I think is one of the greatest performers living right now. I’ve yet to have an actual regular match with Jon Moxley.
Check out the full interview here and let us know what you think in the comments below.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) December 15, 2019