In an era where ‘heel’ and ‘face’ are just two long forgotten terms, MJF as a character in AEW is a breath of fresh air, as well as a throwback to the old days of professional wrestling.
Great in the ring and brilliant on the mic, AEW may very well have wrestling’s ‘Next Big Thing’ on their hands.
The ‘heel’ is a dying breed in professional wrestling and has been for quite some time now. Gone are the days when heels had so much heat that the fans would try to attack them with weapons. The lines between heel and face have been blurred in modern wrestling. The best we can hope for these days is someone like Baron Corbin, who the fans hate unanimously because they think he’s awful at every aspect of professional wrestling.
At least that was the case until Maxwell Jacob Friedman showed up in early 2015 and quickly made a name for himself in CZW and MLW. In four short years on the independent circuit, he managed to carve out an impressive resume for himself before ultimately signing with All Elite Wrestling. It was during this time that MJF managed to create one of the best pure heel characters in recent memory.
The hardest thing about being a heel wrestler these days is the fact that the fans know that it is just a character. As a result the best heels eventually start getting cheered because of how great they are.
MJF though is completely dedicated to his character and goes to extreme lengths in order to maintain it, masterfully blending kayfabe and reality in the process. He did not even break character once during his recent appearance on Stone Cold Steve Austin’s podcast, a fact that must have impressed the Texas Rattlesnake as well.
In many ways, AEW’s Double or Nothing pay-per-view was the coming-out party for Maxwell Jacob Friedman. First, he played a significant role in the Casino Battle Royale match at the start of the show, coming up short against eventual winner Adam “Hangman” Page. Then he got involved in Bret Hart’s presentation of the AEW World Championship belt later on in the show.
MJF was again heavily featured on AEW’s second event, Fyter Fest. He cut a hilarious promo on the live crowd managing to get himself a ton of heat before putting on an impressive performance against Adam Page, Jimmy Havoc and Jungle Boy in a four-way match. If these early signs are anything to go by, the higher officials at All Elite Wrestling are certainly very high on MJF.
It is hard to believe that MJF has been in pro wrestling for just four years. He is already great in the ring and his mic work is as good as anybody in wrestling today. One can only imagine how good he is going to get in the future as he gets to learn from someone like Chris Jericho.
Expect to see the AEW World Championship around Maxwell Jacob Friedman’s waist inside the next two years. He is that damn good!