In “normal” times, Maxwell Jacob Friedman’s controversial actions surrounding Double or Nothing 2022 would be one of the biggest stories of the year. As we now know, however, 2022 has been anything but normal for professional wrestling.
The headlines have been dominated this year by huge stories like Vince McMahon’s retirement, the “Brawl Out” from All Out, Tony Khan’s purchase of Ring of Honor, and the in-ring return of Stone Cold Steve Austin. But among all of this drama, there is a simmering story which could change the face of wrestling. Has everybody forgotten the very real possibility that MJF has no intention of staying in All Elite Wrestling when his contract expires in the year 2024?
Perhaps there is a hint of hyperbole there, but with everything that has happened this year in wrestling, one would be forgiven for assuming that MJF’s disputes with AEW were ancient history. Despite MJF being a consistent feature in the AEW main event scene as of late, the wound opened by scathing disputes with AEW President Tony Khan is still fresh, and it may not heal before World Wrestling Entertainment comes calling.
Assessing The Landscape
The prospect of MJF in WWE is an interesting one, perhaps even more so now that the “Vince McMahon way of booking” has been ushered out. One can only imagine the nightmares which MJF may have found himself in if hired under the McMahon regime. We’ll never know if McMahon would have seen “The Salt of the Earth” for his strengths. However, we can all be thankful that if he does end up in WWE in 2024, he won’t be appearing under the name “Maxy Goldman,” or something just as bad.
With new Chief Content Officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque in charge of booking, MJF may seriously be wondering if the grass is greener on the other side. Let’s be honest, Triple H should (and probably will) be doing everything possible to sign MJF to WWE.
At only 26 years old, Friedman could have decades left in the wrestling industry if he looks after his body, which is ample time for WWE to develop him into a star reminiscent of The Rock, John Cena or Roman Reigns. He’s also a very reliable hand in the ring, as proven by his critically acclaimed matches in AEW against CM Punk, Darby Allin and Jungle Boy. On top of that, Maxwell Jacob Friedman keeps himself in great physical shape, and the entire wrestling world already knows that he is one of the best talkers in the business today.
Tony Khan will have a big problem on his hands when 2024 rolls around, because if driving a truckload of money to the home of MJF is what it takes, Triple H will do it. He’d be crazy not to. However, with MJF’s actions and comments as of late, such a grandiose gesture might not even be necessary.
MJF’s On Screen Character. Fact Or Fiction?
Kayfabe or not – and who can even tell these days with the line being blurred so much – MJF has made it no secret that he has been trying to force a move away from AEW in favour of WWE. In fact, he’s been pretty blatant. Whether this has been made clear by taking photos with top WWE talent, answering fan questions on who he’d like to wrestle in the WWE or dropping WWE-laced hints in a large percentage of his promos, MJF hasn’t shied away from reminding everybody where his mind is set.
Take MJF’s comments towards William Regal on the October 18th edition of Dynamite for example, where he once again reminds everybody of just how valuable he is in the current wrestling climate.
“Your former employers would be willing to take several human lives simply to get me to put pen to paper in the bidding war of 2024.”
Let’s not forget, MJF’s character is famous for “protecting the business.” His character’s detestable persona will forever lead fans to wonder whether he is being serious or not. With everything that he has said and done as of late, though, it’s hard to believe that there isn’t at least some truth to his threats.
Even the most hardcore, AEW-bashing WWE fans would likely welcome Maxwell Jacob Friedman with open arms. The amount of potential matches and feuds which could come from his signing is mind-blowing. It’s enough to get fantasy bookers foaming at the mouth, and with Triple H the WWE machine backing him, the sky truly would be the limit.
Dream Matches Galore
If MJF signs with WWE in 2024, there are a few ready-made feuds that would draw big money. The first and most obvious would involve rekindling his old rivalry with fellow ex-AEW main eventer Cody Rhodes. It would be very interesting to see how WWE would handle this. For example, how much of MJF and Cody’s past would they commit to mentioning? Do they dare suggest that pro wrestling happens outside of the WWE bubble, or would they simply stick to saying something along the lines of “these two guys have history?”
And of course, Rhodes would only be the start. WWE would likely want to combine MJF with Seth Rollins to see what kind of magic could be created there. Then you’ve got potential feuds with Kevin Owens, Drew McIntyre, Edge, and eventually the “Head of the Table” himself, Roman Reigns. Watching MJF go toe-to-toe with any of these men on the microphone would make for must-see television.
Hell, even MJF and The Miz would be a spectacle, for better or for worse.
Realistically, there’s no way Friedman could fail should he enter through the gates of WWE. His overall talent has been discussed, but there are political reasons to consider, too. After all, MJF’s contract surely won’t be the only deal expiring around the beginning of 2024.
If MJF’s run is a total failure in WWE due to booking incompetence, what message does that send others who may be looking to hop the fence from AEW? If WWE can screw up somebody as talented as MJF, who’s to say that won’t happen to future AEW-to-WWE converts? It would be in WWE’s best interest to make a huge star of Maxwell Jacob Friedman, who is essentially a home-grown product of All Elite Wrestling.
What If MJF Remains All Elite?
This is all over a year away, though. As we have learned thus far in 2022, the entire wrestling landscape can change without warning. It has recently been announced that MJF is due to go up against Jon Moxley at Full Gear 2022 for the AEW World Championship. A large majority of wrestling fans see this as the moment where Maxwell Jacob Friedman gets what he deserves.
His first shot at Moxley took place at All Out 2020, where put in a brave performance, but ended up succumbing to a Paradigm Shift behind the referee’s back (the Paradigm Shift was banned for this match). Now at Full Gear 2022, it is widely believed that this is MJF’s time to wrap “Pretty Platinum” around his waist.
If AEW was to give him a long run with the championship – which at most can be 14 months until his contract expires – would this convince Friedman to stay “All Elite?” It’s a potentially risky move because a dominant run as World Champion could raise MJF’s stock even higher, but if it pays off with his loyalty, then it would surely all be worth it. And who wouldn’t want to see World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman? If you think his promos are great now, just wait until you see him as “top dog.”
What MJF chooses to do in 2024 is anyone’s guess. This unique fork in the road yields two very attractive paths, and the ultra-talented MJF will find success in whichever one he takes. Should he stay in AEW, he will continue to build the legacy that he has been working on since the company’s inception. Should he choose to go to WWE, he will be starting somewhat afresh with a new audience, but the rewards could become so much sweeter.
It’s a tough choice, and one which no doubt Maxwell Jacob Friedman will be mulling over for much of the next year. From his recent actions on and off-screen, however, one thing is exceptionally clear: he thinks he’s better than AEW, and WWE knows it.