Jon Moxley discusses the world premiere of CAGEFIGHTER: Worlds Collide on FITE, the gritty battle in the film's climax and more
FITE has always brought the world of combat sports directly to you, giving you a front row, ringside seat to the best in Mixed Martial Arts, Professional Wrestling and Boxing, but for the first time, FITE will make you the red carpet VIP for the world premiere of CageFighter: Worlds Collide, bringing you the action-packed harrowing tale of what happens when one of the greatest MMA fighters ever ends up pitted against a pro wrestling superstar in the toughest cross-promotional fight imaginable.
All Elite Wrestling World Champion Jon Moxley will portray pro wrestling superstar Randy Stone, the interloper into the world of LEGENDS fighting, standing in the way of Reiss Gibbons (played by actor and CONTENDERS MMA fighter Alex Montagnani), allowing his fans and followers to see the globally renowned brawler in a much different, cinematic light.
Moxley signed for the project within days of his WWE contract ending after long-time WWE star Jay Reso (aka Christian), who Executive Produced Cagefighter: Worlds Collide and appears in the film, brought him the script.
"It may have been the next day, it was the day after or the next day after that my contract expired with WWE," Moxley told FITE. "I was kind of free to do whatever I wanted. I got a call from Christian, Jay Reso, who's in the movie. And was just like, "Hey, I'm the executive producer on this movie. And they're looking for somebody with a kind of name value in pro wrestling to play this part." And I was like, "That's interesting. Especially it's pretty interesting timing too." So I was like, "Yeah, send me the script." And I read it, and I just texted him back immediately, and I was like, "I can play this guy for sure." So I just thought it seemed like it was kind of a sign or universe fate thing that it was something that was kind of meant for me to do. So I just jumped into it and it was pretty fun to do."
As one might imagine, playing Randy Stone allowed Moxley not only the chance to spread his wings as an actor but to also bring his voice as a long-time professional wrestling veteran to the proceedings.
"One of the cool things was Christian told them, " Moxley explained, " because a lot of my lines and stuff were pro wrestling interviews, or talking trash, or hyping up the fight, or insulting my opponent. It's pro wrestling stuff like that. And it was all in the script. And he told them like, ‘Yeah, you should probably just let him kind of ad-lib a lot of that stuff because that's kind of what he does for a living. And he's good at it, and would probably do it better than you would write it kind of thing. He knows what he's doing. Kind of let him ad-lib a little bit.' So basically 90-some percent of the lines I have in the movie are ad-libs."
That sort of freedom allowed Moxley a chance to cut loose and take scenes wherever his own gritty gift for gab allowed them to go.
"There are a couple of days we shot where they'd be like, "Okay action," then there was no script for me, a lot of it," recounted Moxley. "We did this one thing where there's a scene where we have a press conference for the big fight. And it was one of the funnest hours of my entire life. It was just a big fake press conference set up with reporters and stuff. And I was just up on the stage just ranting and just saying every profanity, or insults, or anything, or a ridiculous way to put myself over, just whatever. Anything that came up to my mind and I got in a zone, and I was just saying all this ridiculous stuff for an hour. And I don't know what made the cut of the film and what didn't or whatever. But you probably have a DVD extra of just that hour long press conference. That was really fun. So that was pretty cool to be able to kind of be a more obnoxious kind of full of himself type of character, because the point of it is playing the antagonist to this movie is to be a guy that you really want to see get his ass kicked by the end of the movie. So that was really fun to do."
Playing that obnoxious villain meant that Moxley as Randy Stone, is the biggest obstacle in the film for lead character Reiss Gibbons. While their fight scene will play out larger than life on the silver screen,Moxley recalled that the battle was as gritty and harsh as any death match Moxley has ever competed in.
"When it came down to the shooting, we were in this really cold soundstage in Saskatchewan in the winter. So it was yeah, freezing cold. And like I said, we didn't have stunt guys. We were our own stunt guys. So it's three days of 10, 12 hour shoots of sometimes we'd go through the whole fight from just a wide shot. And then when you do different pickups and stuff. But you're trying to stay warm and not get injured, and keep your body warm, keep your adrenaline flowing, and keep your intensity up for over a 12 hour period, when it's like, all right, 30 seconds, cut. Then 20 minutes later, and you're covered in fake sticky blood, and they keep spraying you down with cold water to make it look like you're sweating. So it's freezing. So you're like this giant sticky jolly rancher [candy] and stuff. So we're taking all our own slams and falls and suplexes and stuff like that."
"It wasn't any CGI or anything like. It was very physical. I was pretty beat up by the end of it. So hopefully it really comes across good. He actually, on the last day or second to last day, Alex tore his groin doing something, throwing a kick or something. Tore it clean. I guess there's been a previous injury he had. And he was all black and purple and bruise and gross, and he literally couldn't walk. He was on one leg. He was done."
"I was thinking for a second, I was like, are we done now? Is this project just scrapped after all this work? And so when we had to do it on the final day, we figured out ways, because we hadn't filmed the climactic end to the movie yet. So we had to figure out ways to shoot tight or he could lean up against the cage, but he couldn't walk across the cage. I was still healthy so I could do different stuff to cover it up. So we had to work together with the camera guy and the director and me and him, and kind of figure out a way to get through it because now this guy has one leg, and we had to get it that day.
So, there are points literally when I'm picking him up or walking him across the cage literally because I had to do that kind of thing."
With the world very much trapped in a vortex trying to find its way out, Moxley reflects on what he hopes FITE viewers take from watching Cagefighter: Worlds Collide.
"It's a story basically about Reiss Gibbons dealing with the worst thing that, in his mind, in his world at the time, the worst thing that could possibly happen to him, an absolute disaster, said Moxley. "It ruins him professionally, personally, on every level, his confidence, he's as low as you can possibly get, and has to climb all the way back to where he was before. So obviously, a lot of people that are very badly affected by this, be that financial or worse, and some stupid movie can't really bring any real help to anybody. But if they can kind of give a message of perseverance and getting through dark times and stuff like that at a time like this, then that's always a good thing."
Meanwhile, while Moxley continues to battle his way through All Elite Wrestling for AEW+ subscribers on FITE, he'll be settling into a much different role on May 16th - that of observer when Cagefighter: Worlds Collide screens on FITE.
"So, I haven't actually seen Cagefighter: Worlds Collide yet. I'll probably wait till May 16th to watch it kind of with everybody else because FITE is treating it like an event because people can't actually go to the movies right now. So I'm pretty excited to see what the final product looks like."
Cagefighter: Worlds Collide will premiere on May 16th with an exclusive FITE Countdown Show as well as a special post-screen Q&A Session featuring the stars and creative team of the film. Step into the cage yourself with the most unique, fun and gripping film premiere in the history of combat sports and beyond!
Mike Johnson is the lead reporter for PWInsider.com and has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He can be found on Twitter @MikePWInsider and MikeJohnsonWrites.com.