REVIEW: MOX (2021)

A Book by Jon Moxley

I used to maintain a heavy diet of reading wrestling biographies as my chief literary pursuit in high school and early college. Being a huge wrestling fan meant that I was excited to learn about entertainers that I enjoyed watching on TV, and being what they were – a wrestling book was generally a quick easy read. I was into these so much that I recall giving an informational speech in a freshman speech class about the unlikely best-selling author Mick Foley and his rise to The New York Times Bestsellers list. I’m sure nobody else in my class cared about what a crazy man did to his body in Japan in the early 1990’s, but it was an exciting speech to give for me. Foley is definitely the benchmark for these sorts of books, at least for me. As many of my readers may know, wrestling bios vary drastically in both necessity and quality with some being amazing and others coming across like a contractually obligated punishment a ghost-writer was saddled with. When I saw AEW’s Jon Moxley had a book coming out and some were calling it “the best wrestling book since Mick Foley’s Have a Nice Day!” I was excited – but question is – does it live up to the hype?

A vivid trip through the mind of the top professional wrestler in the business—a nobody from nowhere who achieved his ambitions and walked away with the gold and the girl of his dreams. Ride alongside Jon Moxley as he retraces some of the highways traveled on his remarkable journey. Revel in the never-before-told stories about his early life in Cincinnati, Ohio; the gritty independent wrestling scene where he cut his teeth; the complicated corporate landscape of the WWE where he bucked against authority; and the rebellious upstart AEW, where he won the championship in 2020 and was finally free to achieve the vision of the wrestler he’d always wanted to be.

With plenty of pitstops and revelatory insights, including grisly ultraviolent encounters, crazy characters who became lifelong friends, and his unforgettable matches in Japan, MOX is the riveting account of the life of a brawler. It is a tale written in blood and soaked in debauchery, with a good dose of wisdom accumulated along the way.

More than a backstage pass into the arena, MOX is a ticket into the ring. Once inside, you’ll never look at pro wrestling the same again. “

Perhaps my only real issue with this book is that it could have benefitted from a quick layer of additional editing prior to release. The “stream of consciousness” style is very raw and visceral, reminding me of reading somebody’s personal blog at times, but (and its sometimes a BIG but) typos are blatant. In the very first chapter there were a few that concerned me a lot, they slow down after that, but some readers would leave if they came across such mistakes right away. It reminds me of a number of self-published books on Kindle Unlimited that I assume were written with some kind of dictation software, but I wish it wasn’t there.

You get a solid mix of worthwhile wrestling stories, including an inside look at the chaos that ultimately resulted in his much-publicized departure from Vince McMahon’s WWE a few years back. There are also a few chapters that seem to have come out of left field, such as a chapter about albums, and even one that appears to be the philosophy of sandwich making. On one hand, it’s not atypical for biographies to be like this, I’ve read books from a lot of stand-up comedians that do similar “vignettes” in their books. Patton Oswalt’s Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, for example, is similar in structure in many ways, and in the same way that I enjoyed that book, Mox has ups and downs. While fun, things like random film and music blurbs are interesting, but the real joy are the wrestling stories.

Overall, I enjoyed this book quite a bit, it’s no Mick Foley memoir or even a Jericho memoir, but it’s 100 percent undeniably a book written by Jon Moxley. Rather than have a ghost-writer strip his essence out the book for a bog-standard biographical book ala WWE in the 90’s and early 2000’s (The Rock and Kurt Angle books come to mind), we get unfiltered pure and unadulterated Jon Moxley. It’s interesting to read about his issues with alcohol considering he went into rehab sight after this book was finally published. Perhaps reflecting on this made him realize he needed help? If you are a BIG Mox fan, an AEW Wrestling fan, or even a WWE fan, I’d recommend checking this out. It’s a fun read and let’s you peer into the soul of a man that was somewhat elusive for a long time in regards to his personal life.

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