Posts Tagged ‘MJF’

MJF appears to not be the only impending free agent All Elite Wrestling and its owner Tony Khan has to worry about in the year 2024. During an interview with “talkSport”, Chris Jericho threw his name into the free-agent pool at the same time MJF has been very vocal about his contract coming up.

“We’ll see how it plays out,” Jericho said in regards to MJF’s current AEW contract situation. “I’m happy with my contract and I know in a year-and-a-half when my contract is done, we’ll have some negotiations to discuss and that’s how it goes.”

“Until then, I want to do the best performances that I can, put on the best shows and the best stories, keep the people interested happy, and excited and when that contract is up, I’ll be rewarded for it.”

Since MJF called out AEW Owner Tony Khan live on “Dynamite” a few weeks back, no one has heard or seen the 26-year-old amidst his comments about wanting to be paid more. Friedman threatened Khan to fire him and called him a “f*cking mark” leading to his microphone being cut off.

Since then, MJF has been removed from all things AEW, including the intro to the showsadvertising, and websites. As far as the situation between his boss and former rival is concerned, Jericho says he’s staying away from it entirely.

“After 30 years in this business, I’ve learned if it doesn’t have anything to do with me I stay the hell out of it. I don’t really care,” Jericho said. “If I had an angle with MJF or if I was involved in the contracts I’d be much more interested in it, but I stay out of it, it has nothing to do with me.

“Only thing I will say is a contract is a contract. If every athlete in every sport wanted to be paid more now, then what’s the point of having a contract, you know what I mean?”

It’s unclear when MJF will return to AEW or if this “work” is actually a “shoot” but according to “The Wizard” Chris Jericho, he doesn’t see MJF leaving AEW anytime soon.

“MJF is [26]. He has a lot to learn,” Jericho said. “He’s not as good as he thinks he is and like I said, it really is nothing to do with me but I’m sure he’ll be back. 18 months is a long time to stay at home and that’s Tony Khan’s prerogative. You’re under contract, you want to stay at home? You can stay at home and not get paid and that’s what happens.

“We see it happen in other companies and that’s just how it goes. If you didn’t expect that, then why did you sign your contract in the first place?”

Fightful Select reported overnight that MJF is actively exploring opportunities in cinema.

Indeed – if any of this is to be believed of course, since this could all be an elaborate, sophisticated work – he was purported to have hung around the Los Angeles area as the remaining AEW crew headed to Ontario for last Friday’s live Rampage taping. This fuelled rumours swirling around the locker room that MJF had arranged meetings with Hollywood executives last week. MJF has already let slip to Ariel Helwani that he has recorded a voice part for an upcoming, as yet unannounced animated movie scheduled for release in 2023.

He’d be excellent on the silver screen – again, if any of this is true. He might even escape typecasting as a heel; his emotional promo covering his traumatic early school years on Dynamite in February displayed a superb range. Of course, this clashes with his “bidding war of ’24” bit, but then, it just adds a more interesting wrinkle to this unsolvable puzzle.

AEW?

WWE?

Bantering off wrestling altogether?

Flitting between both disciplines is something his hero Roddy Piper did once he made it huge in the mainstream…

MJF has created a buzz in All Elite Wrestling since the first time he spoke about his free agency in 2024, and that escalated to new levels this past Wednesday on “Dynamite” when he cut an unhinged promo on AEW President Tony Khan.

The promo involved MJF talking about the backlash he’s received after AEW “Double or Nothing”, mentioning how Khan has paid too many ex-WWE guys without forking out the money to pay him, the person that holds the 2nd highest minute-to-minute ratings of all AEW talent. MJF’s segment will go down in history as one of the greatest promos of all time, leading to several reactions across the wrestling universe.

“In my opinion, MJF is without peer,” Eric Bischoff said during the latest episode of “Strictly Business.” “He is so good. There are a handful, one or two people in WWE who are capable of catching up to that, but there aren’t many. He’s in a universe all his own, in my opinion.”

The AEW Superstar has since been removed from the intros to all AEW shows and now has involved Warner Brothers Discovery, as the media company had announced an edict to remove MJF from all promotional work moving forward. Whether this is all a big work, shoot, or a combination of the two, it’s unclear at this time where the situation will ultimately end up.

“Where is this one going to go? I have no idea if it’s real, if it’s not, if it’s scripted. I have an opinion and it was probably something that started out as very, very real and then they woke up one day and then both of them were painted into a corner and it was like, how the hell do we get out of this? That’s just an opinion. I don’t know if I’m right or wrong, don’t care actually because the journey and potential for this journey is off the frickin’ charts. In my opinion, it would be the first time that situation has existed in AEW.”

MJF is currently under contract until January 1, 2024, so if the star wants to head to WWE, which he’s teased in the past, it’ll have to wait another year and a half.

Maxwell Jacob Friedman is currently on a salary around four to five times less than other top AEW talents.

This is according to PWTorch’s Wade Keller, who reports that the 26-year-old earns significantly more than the rough starter rate (approximately $40,000 to $70,000 annually) paid to several early AEW signings, having been given a raise at some stage. Despite this, MJF’s contact is still “modest” compared to at least a half-dozen free agents who have come into the promotion since MJF got his increase.

Keller named Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Adam Cole, Malakai Black, Mark Henry, and Christian Cage as examples of people who earn more money than MJF.

A pay dispute is understood to be at the heart of Friedman’s current backstage difficulties in AEW. Per Keller, by 1 January 2022, MJF was looking for a deal comparable to others in his card position, using the quality of his work and good ratings record as part of his justification. When AEW founder and president Tony Khan didn’t approach him for negotiations, MJF got upset in private, contributing to the much-publicised blow-up between the two.

MJF, who Keller states has a tendency to “get really worked up”, has become so upset with the situation that people around him claim he has become “withdrawn and bitter” backstage. The 26-year-old seeks a pay rise that would put him on a similar level to those in similar card positions.

Khan and MJF met to discuss the situation in Las Vegas, Nevada on Monday. The rising star’s current AEW contract expires on 1 January 2024.

AEW contract rebel MJF was in the building for Double Or Nothing 2022 on Sunday, quelling a full day of speculation by showing up in Las Vegas, doing the job for rival Wardlow, and leaving on a stretcher.

The 26-year-old was in no mood to stick around, however. Per PWInsider’s Mike Johnson, the Dynamite Diamond Ring holder showed up during Double Or Nothing’s Buy In pre-show, worked his match, then left the arena immediately after the stretcher job, with AEW producer Pat Buck accompanying him out.

MJF was hurried into the show, too. Johnson states that he was hidden away in a room prior to hitting the ring, which happened so fast that some within the promotion didn’t know he was there until his music started playing. That MJF wasn’t at the gorilla position had some worried that he wasn’t at the show.

It is stated that some AEW locker room members are upset with the 26-year-old over his current situation, as MJF continues to angle for a bigger payday from boss Tony Khan. The duo reportedly held a meeting in Las Vegas yesterday, doing so roughly 48 hours after MJF had no-showed a Fan Fest event ahead of Double Or Nothing.

While that happened in that MJF/Khan meeting is yet to come out, Johnson states that compared to a few days ago, the wrestler and company are now likelier to work something out.

Jake “The Snake” Roberts has gotten an up-close look at MJF while both have been working at AEW. Roberts has been more than impressed, and not just with MJF’s in-ring ability. On the most recent episode of the “DDP Snake Pit” podcast, which focused on MJF, Roberts talked about his experiences working with the younger wrestler.

“I did an interview on his set,” Roberts recalled. “He showed me appreciation and respect when asked me afterward, ‘Was that what you wanted?’ See, he’s smart. If you ask people what they want and ‘Did you get your point across?’, chances are the next time I’m on his set, I’m going to give it a little bit more, you know what I’m saying? He greased my palms, man. He made me feel good. That’s smart.”

MJF has been compared to WWE Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, a comparison Roberts whole-heartedly endorses. “Absolutely,” he said. “Because he rants on you, man. He gets in your face. He throws shit at you quick and fast.”

But Roberts also sees a bit of Piper in MJF’s palm-greasing behavior.

“Back in the day, we would work for WWF,” Roberts recalled. “On a TV day, the stars got 50 bucks for wrestling three times. And we paid for our own hotel and our own rental cars. So we lost money. But they would give us that 50 bucks at the beginning of the night … Piper would take that 50 bucks and go to his first match and slide it to that guy, who’s making $500, because the guys that got beat up made $500.

“What did that 50 bucks mean to Piper? Nothing. What did it mean to that guy? ‘Jesus Christ, this superstar gave me the only 50 bucks he’s making for the day. He gave it to me and told me to go out and buy some beer and have a good time.’ So what does that guy go out and do for you? He’ll fly! Now, here’s the one I learned from Piper. He tells the guy, ‘Whatever you do, don’t tell anybody else I gave you that $50. Cause I don’t have any more cash on me.’ Do you think that guy’s going to tell anybody? Of course he is! But they’re going to go out and fly too now, because they know next time, ‘Maybe Piper will give me that $50.’”

AEW’s MJF recently spoke with Rasslin’ about his future, as he continued to tease a potential move to WWE. His contract expiring in 2024 is something he has been open about many times, and that continued.

Whether he stays in AEW or moves, MJF is planning on earning plenty of money.

“Let me explain something to you, by 2024, daddy is going to make more money than The Hardys have made in their entire run,” he said.

MJF then went on to claim that he can’t wait to leave AEW, although he then teased retracting the statement. He also went back and forth on his relationship with Tony Khan in the interview.

“Once you get into Long Island, you don’t want to leave Long Island, so what does it matter if the traffic is bad coming out? I can’t wait to leave this company, how about that,” he said. “Oh no, hope that doesn’t ruffle any feathers in the office, oh no. Who said AEW? I didn’t say AEW, you just said AEW, maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. Maybe I’m in a shit mood, maybe I hate my boss, maybe I fucking love my boss, who knows?”

MJF explained what it is that causes his frustrations, which is down to former WWE Superstars earning lots of money. He doesn’t think they can hang with him when it comes to the ratings, and that is why he believes management has an issue with him.

“I think there’s a lot of stuff going on in this company that is inaccurate,” he said. “I think all these ex-fucking WWE guys that are making an absurd amount of money. When quite frankly they can’t sniff my fucking jock when it comes to the ratings I pull in whenever I am on screen, I think they can all go to hell. I think that somebody in the upper management has a problem with me, and it’s very obvious if you see what I am dealing with week to week.”

MJF was in the United Kingdom this past weekend, appearing at the For The Love Of Wrestling convention that took place in Liverpool, England, hosted by Monopoly Events.

The event, similar to that of WrestleMania Axxess, saw The Salt of the Earth enter the ring for a Q&A session. The three-time Dynamite Diamond Ring winner further addressed rumors about his future. MJF’s AEW contract is due to expire in January 2024, amid interest from WWE.

“I don’t know if you guys are aware of this, but on January 1st of 2024, I’m going to be a free agent,” MJF said. “Who here would want to see me in WWE? So let me explain something to you people — I did not get into this business to make any of you happy. I got into this business to make as much money as humanly possible.

“And if Vincent Kennedy McMahon is willing to shell out more money than my good friend Tony Khan, then yes, I would go to WWE.”

Maxwell Jacob Friedman was also asked whether he will ever become better than Chris Jericho. He responded by pointing out how he is currently a minute-for-minute rating draw for AEW at such a young age.

“That’s funny, because at only 26-years-old, I’m the biggest minute-for-minute rating draw in all of AEW,” MJF said. “So I was able to do that in, what, half the time he was? When he was what, at 26, what was Chris Jericho doing? That’s right, jackshit.”

The For The Love Of Wrestling convention also saw names such as Kurt Angle, Sting, Bray Wyatt, Mickie James, Trish Stratus, The New Age Outlaws and JBL appear.

The convention will return again next year on April 29 & 30 at the Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Manchester, England.

On AEW programming, MJF is one of professional wrestling’s most hated villains but there’s another side of Maxwell Jacob Friendman that viewers are seeing more often.

MJF’s publicly embracing his Jewish faith and taking on the added responsibility of defending other Jews.

“It’s not the cool thing to talk about, cause we’re not the cool minority,” MJF told the Jewish newspaper The Algemeiner“I’m going to keep bringing it up because I think it’s bullshit.”

MJF told The Algemeiner he does not feel violent attacks on Jews in America get enough publicity and shared some of his own personal experiences.

“When I was 19 and 20, and I was getting booked in the biggest promotions that you could on the independent circuit, there were much older guys who were livid,” MJF recalled.

MJF says he was subjected to antisemitic slurs and talked down to because he is Jewish. He has also been left wondering what has motivated certain individuals to lash out at him.

“Did [the wrestler who keyed my car] think I was white, or did he think I was a Jew?” MJF asked. “I am a minority. Because millions of my people were viciously murdered simply because of our religious beliefs.”

MJF shared some of his past experiences with antisemitism with the world during a promo on an episode of AEW Dynamite back in February. He detailed some of the bullying he endured as a child and how pro-wrestling inspired and motivated him to fight past it. Fellow wrestlers and MJF’s own mother celebrated his heartfelt address.

“I get to showcase to people that there’s more than one archetype of being a Jew,” MJF said. “I think I’m the best wrestler in the world, and I just so happen to be Jewish — and I just so happen to be very proud of it,” he said.

During the post-AEW Revolution media scrum, CM Punk spoke to the press where he admitted to wanting a title shot. The former WWE Superstar did admit that he does like Hangman Page though, while teasing he does not know how long he has left in wrestling.

“I mean, I think so” Punk said. “I mean, there’s people I want to wrestle here, just for rasslin’ sake. But after a while, I don’t know how much time I have, I don’t know how many matches I have left. So if I am not working my way towards a title shot, if I am not trying to be where Hangman is, I don’t know what I am doing. So, I do think that is something that might happen.

“Keep your eyes on it, I don’t know. There’s a ranking system here, I think I am doing pretty good, and we will see. I like Hangman though, and it’s a lot easier to wrestle someone when you hate them. I like that cowboy.”

CM Punk also spoke about what he has learned during his storyline with MJF. He believes that this has taught him that there is still hope. The wrestling veteran claimed that MJF is someone who loves the business for all of the right reasons.

“I learned that there’s hope. because there’s kids just like me who love the business for all the right reasons, and just kind of love the classics. Kids will start garage bands and they’ll play Ramones covers, you know what I mean? Max is one of those kids,” he claimed. “It’s weird right, because he’s a kid who grew up and he was a WWF fan.

“But he’s kind of a savant because he went back and he watches some of the most obscure stuff, he loves all kind of wrestling except maybe New Japan. I think he hates New Japan. But knowing that there’s kids like that who put in the work. That study the history, and they get it, and they’re respectful. There’s hope.”