Take me back to when The Shield was pitched to you and when you were preparing for Survivor Series in late 2012. What was the concept like? Was it different from how it is now? Was anybody else part of the group? What was that whole period like for you?
It wasn't ever pitched to us. It was very out of nowhere. It was a secret kind of idea. I have an idea—I'll save that for another time—[of] what the original, original idea was. It’s just been ever-evolving. One day, it was just like, ‘All right, you three are going to wear black turtlenecks and run in and beat up Ryback,’ and we’re just like, ‘Uh, okay.’ At the time, you’re like, ‘I don’t even care.’ I [had been] in developmental for over a year at that point and was just ready to pull my eyes out, so [with] any tiny, little bit of opening they’ll give me, I was like, ‘Yup, let’s do it.’ I’ll kick in that door if you crack it open, and I think we all felt that way. But doing Survivor Series and interfering in a WWE Championship match on one of the bigger pay-per-views that the company does, that’s like, ‘Holy crap.’ If you know what the deal is or not, you can’t ask for a better spotlight than [that].
You poured so much into the Jon Moxley character over the years. What's different about Jon Moxley compared to Dean Ambrose? Can you tell me about the relationship between those guys?
Eh, I mean, a name's just a name. I don't think that's all that big of a deal. You could call me an autobiographical kind of wrestler because if you went through my career, looking at me character-wise or by what I was doing at the time, you can kind of see that [my place in] real life would reflect in what I was doing in wrestling. To me, it's very important that everything I do is real; it always has been to me. Everything I do is real or it's really a reflection of me. I've never been a completely 100 percent fictional character.
Who do you travel with? Who do you want to feud with in the future?
I travel with The Shield. We keep it very tight and travel together. I'll travel with Claudio [Castagnoli] sometimes—Antonio Cesaro. I get along with pretty much everybody. I’m really easy to get along with. I can be pretty quiet and keep to myself. I’m a guy who just kind of sits in the back of a room [to] watch and learn and see what everybody's doing. I'm a super laid-back, easy-to-get-along-with kind of guy.
As far as who I'd like to feud with in the future, there's so many [people] it's hard to count…Randy [Orton] is a guy. I’m on the same side of the fence as Randy right now, but Randy’s a guy that I love watching work. He’s a guy [where] I'll always stop and watch his matches.
[Voice rises enthusiastically] Christian is just so unbelievably good. I mean, I always knew Christian was really good. Working with Christian, he’s been here for so long and has so much experience, you realize his brain is a super-evolved version of my brain [with] the way he sees matches play out, the way he comes up with things, especially in tag matches and stuff like that. Christian's a guy who I've only had a small sampling of working with. Christian's a guy I want to spend a lot more time in the ring with.