All Elite Wrestling’s greatest natural star has been off tv for 63 days with out a peep on when he’ll return. Since his new-age “pipe bomb” promo on the June 1 episode of “Dynamite,” MJF hasn’t surfaced. August’s first episode of AEW’s flagship present has a 99.999999% probability of being the ninth consecutive airing with out the pleasure of Lengthy Island, resonating with wrestling followers in that a part of New York like Billy Joel. All over the place else, he’s a supremely gifted Nickelback.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman has no motive to be on the present tonight storyline-wise, however that’s a part of his mystique. You’ll be able to’t ever utterly depend him out of the realm of risk, even when there’s a one-millionth probability it occurs. He was taken out of the title sequences from each of AEW’s weekly tv exhibits and all different promotional materials since his break-the-fourth-wall soliloquy. That’s an ongoing story that entered a brand new fork within the highway during the last two weeks.
Because the fallout from Vince McMahon’s resignation as WWE’s chairman and CEO lingers all through skilled wrestling, and Paul “Triple H” Levesque takes over the corporate’s inventive and talent-relations efforts, he’d be foolish to not inquire of MJF’s availability to leap ship, identical to “The Salt of the Earth’s” mentor and good buddy Cody Rhodes did earlier this yr. McMahon’s micromanagement would’ve watered down the bombastic, polarizing nature that makes MJF so entertaining.
Triple H has a small pattern dimension as to how profitable he’ll be within the new position and he’s by no means overseen a expertise like Friedman. With Levesque within the driver’s seat, one of many large adjustments in WWE since McMahon’s exit is much less scripting of matches and promos, per PWInsider. There’s additionally the aura of Triple H being a drastically higher current-day inside chief than his father-in-law.
Let’s additionally state the plain: MJF confirmed his contractual standing in that final televised look. He’s signed with All Elite Wrestling till 2024. His best, and possibly solely approach out, if he’s nonetheless a disgruntled worker, is for AEW CEO Tony Khan to fireplace him. That begs the query: Why would Khan let one among his greatest stars stroll to a rival firm?
MJF may not take the decision. Possibly Khan opened his pockets. This might all be an elaborate ruse blurring the road between actuality and fiction in an artwork type of theatrical athletics. Or it might be precisely what Friedman is ready for, both as a bargaining chip to convey to his present boss for a large increase, to start out a bidding conflict, or to start out a relationship with a future employer. Irrespective of the place MJF falls in that blurry image, I wager Triple H has tried that dial. It will be my third name from his inventive seat to “exterior” expertise, after Sasha Banks and Naomi.
When analyzing the future landscape of WWE, Triple H isn’t the only massive personality with weight in this situation. Stephanie McMahon, Levesque’s wife and Vince’s daughter, and Nick Khan — no relation to Tony or any of the owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars — are the company’s new co-CEOs. While Triple H was lauded for guiding NXT 1.0 and seems to have a strong rapport with the involved talents, we don’t know exactly where Stephanie and Khan fit into this. Expecting Raw and Smackdown! to become larger versions of prime black-and-gold NXT is foolish. There are too many cooks in the kitchen on the main rosters to seamlessly have that quality product appear, even if Triple H has a Gordon Ramsay-level acumen.
We’re into month No. 3 of MJF’s exile of whatever sort. Speculating as to his status is either 100% exactly what AEW wants, or precisely what they’d hate if he’s on the outs as much as his character presents. There’s no in-between. Friedman was a prick on television and did a phenomenal job translating that outside the squared circle. He’d give middle fingers to throngs of fans waiting in the heat to enter an AEW show, or to little kids getting an image with him. He’s been impolite throughout media interviews which can be normally buttoned up as nice airtime for dwell occasions.
MJF’s grievances solely got here to mild after he no-showed a fan meet-and-greet in Las Vegas the day earlier than Double or Nothing, AEW’s signature present, after being noticed in a on line casino beforehand. It was reported that Friedman had a flight booked out of city after deliberately lacking the occasion. He did present as much as wrestle former protege Wardlow 24 hours later, getting squashed and being met with deafening chants of “asshole!” louder than his entrance music. The next Wednesday was his final time contained in the ring.
It was my educated prediction that AEW and Friedman buried the hatchet sooner or later. He was written out of storylines till the autumn, or possibly even the winter. That’s the interval when WarnerMedia will analyze the corporate for its subsequent tv deal. A blistering scorching angle with MJF’s return with a hopefully wholesome CM Punk in tow would do wonders. It’s not an enormous mistake from the promotion. I imagine this was a shoot-turned-work.
Would a potential MJF exodus from AEW be even bigger than Rhodes’ exit? For an informal WWE fan, completely not. Being the grandson of a plumber and his earlier “dashing” historical past conquers that alone for Cody. For somebody that watches each firms, it’s approach larger. Rhodes ran his course in AEW and was thriving again in WWE previous to pectoral tendon surgical procedure in June. No Friedman would flip a short lived loss right into a everlasting gap. Pure WWE followers wouldn’t know the generational expertise inside its partitions. Securing MJF’s providers away from Khan can be one heck of an early signal of elevating the stakes of what a post-Vince-WWE is able to from the ol’ idiotic daughter and doofus son-in-law although.