Interviews

Interview With . . . MJF

MJF

At just 25 years of age, MJF is one of All Elite Wrestling’s youngest stars – but don’t call him a rookie.

Ever since signing with AEW, the leader of The Pinnacle has made it his mission to ascend to the summit of professional wrestling – something we may have metaphorically witnessed at the end of a star-making performance at AEW Blood and Guts.

Just days away from the rematch between The Pinnacle and Inner Circle in a Stadium Stampede Match at Double Or Nothing, Inside The RopesKenny McIntosh caught up with MJF to ask all about his crowning moment at Double Or Nothing, the upcoming Stadium Stampede Match, and whether we may see a woman added to The Pinnacle!

How are you, sir?

Eh. You know, I just came back from Hawaii. A lot more poors there than I would have anticipated.

Eh. Not the greatest vacation ever. I probably should have just stayed on Long Island, but I’m here because I’m a professional, Ken, and I’m going to try to answer all of your questions as professionally as I possibly can – even though I can barely understand what you’re saying.

I mean, the Scottish accent is difficult. I want to ask you, first of all, about Blood and Guts. Obviously, you guys had this big Blood and Guts match earlier on this month. We know there was a plan to do Blood and Guts last year before the pandemic – but how long was Blood and Guts in the plans for you guys and the Inner Circle, and how did you feel about getting involved with that much?

Loaded question. As far as I know, I did not know about Blood and Guts until Chris Jericho challenged us for it. Once I heard it, was I absolutely ready for it? Absolutely. I enjoy beating up Chris Jericho. It’s fun for me. I’ve said it time and time again, Chris Jericho was a great friend, he was a great mentor, but he’s even better stepping stone.

And that was yet another moment, the second time, as a matter of fact, where I’ve beaten Chris Jericho, so I think it’s very obvious now that I am the GOAT. I’m the greatest of all time and I’m looking forward to beating him a third time this upcoming pay-per-view, Double Or Nothing, this Sunday and officially ending the Inner Circle forever.

With Blood and Guts giving the nod to WarGames from before, WarGames tended to be the end of a feud and Blood and Guts was kind of the first big match between the Inner Circle and The Pinnacle. How did you feel about that being the thing that kicks it all off and then you guys have to follow Blood and Guts with Stadium Stampede?

I think it made sense for this feud. It’s definitely the most… It’s the biggest, the most talked about feud, let’s be honest, in AEW right now. And it makes sense because there’s so many massive stars involved in the feud, mainly me, let’s be honest again. But I think it worked for us to go out guns a-blazing right away because, let’s face it, there’s genuine hatred or, as you fans like to use insider terms, “heat” there.

Spears and Sammy really don’t like each other. Spears hates the fact that a guy that young was able to take a spotlight that Spears felt he should have had 19 years ago and was never afforded the opportunity to.

Dax and Cash, Proud and Powerful – they legitimately don’t like each other. Kind of hard to have an even keel and be grounded with one another when you were both raised on completely different sides of American culture.

And Chris Jericho and MJF, obviously, you know, at first we got along, but I think it kind of stuck in Chris Jericho’s craw that he’s playing second fiddle to a 25-year-old. Am I shocked by it? Absolutely not, because I’m a prodigy and I’ve been this great since day one.

Am I shocked that people are already calling me the number one villain in pro wrestling? Yes, because I think I’m salt of the Earth.

Outside of that, no, I thought it made complete sense for us to start off our quote unquote, “feud”, if you will, at Blood and Guts, because there’s a lot of hatred there and you’re going to see just as much hatred and violence at Stadium Stampede.

Stadium Stampede is not going to be the match that you saw last year. It’s going to be a very different match.

And just before we pivot onto Stadium Stampede, one last Blood and Guts question. We saw the big moment at the end where you threw Chris Jericho off the cage. There was a lot of fan opinion on the landing. Some people didn’t like the camera angle. Some people were kind of wondering, “Is he still alive?”

From your perspective, being involved in that moment, talk us through how it was for you.

So for me personally, to me, let’s talk about it from a symbolism standpoint. Here is this 25-year-old guy that everybody’s saying is not just the future, but is the present. Here is, at that point, someone who will go down as the greatest ever in Chris Jericho. We’re on the top of the cage, a la the top of the mountain in professional wrestling, and I shoved him off of that and the last thing you saw was me standing on top of that cage and sucking it all in.

Every single boo, every single tear. That’s what the end of Blood and Guts was all about. The unfortunate thing was I didn’t shove Chris hard enough. I think if I did, maybe he wouldn’t have shown up the following week. I do know he legitimately really messed up his arm, which put a smile on my face. He was also about four inches away from a metal railing on our stage that definitely would have killed him. Unfortunately, he missed that railing. It is what it is.

But in that moment, what that represented was – I’m the king of pro wrestling now, I’m the GOAT, I’m the guy who’s going to be leading the charge in the industry for the next 25 years. And while, of course, there were people talking about “production” – which is laughable to me. None of you guys know what you’re talking about, but it’s fine. There were also people, when they were done talking about the bulls***, going, “OK, yeah, I can’t play mental gymnastics anymore and pretend that MJF isn’t the guy.” It’s impossible. We’re way past that point now, and I’m proud of that.

And let’s talk about Stadium Stampede on Sunday. Everyone loved the Stadium Stampede Match last year, it was voted Match of the Year some places. You mentioned earlier that it’s going to be a very different type of match. How do you approach it with the first one being so well remembered?

The approach is going to be real. The approach is going to be… We’re going to give them everything we have in our ammo and ignition and they are too. We’re going to be throwing bombs in there, live rounds. It’s going to be a fight. It’s not going to be a comedy bit. It’s not going to be a show. It’s not going to be an SNL skit. It’s going to be a fight and a brawl and I think it’s going to be just as violent, if not more violent, than Blood and Guts was.

Is there a pressure? Blood and Guts, you guys are the first one. Stadium Stampede is the second…

There’s zero pressure in the sense that… How do I put this? Is it the same match? Yes, it has the same name. But it is not going to be the same match. It would be like if you watch a Netflix show and you have a main protagonist and a main antagonist, and then the second season is a completely different story, but it has the same exact show name. That’s what this is. That’s what Stadium Stampede part two is going to be. It’s going to have literally nothing to do with the first one and nothing like the first one, but it’s under the same name and handle.

And then I guess the last question about Stadium Stampede is tha,t last year, the participants involved have all talked about how it was filmed through the night, it took ’til 5am to do it. You guys have a full packed crowd this time. Can you give us any indication of what to expect?

Yeah, man, it’s going to be a rowdy crowd for sure, a lot of poors are going to be in the arena.

Luckily, I’m in a match where I’m not going to have to deal with all those people. Look, here’s my thing, everybody in the back’s so excited about fans. I think a part of me is definitely going to miss pandemic wrestling because I didn’t have to, let’s be honest, I just didn’t have to look at all of these disgusting people and now we’re going to be going to different states – a lot of them are in the South [MJF mimics putting a gun in his mouth] and I’m not looking forward to it at all. But I’m glad everybody else is stoked and happy about having a crowd back.

I was living my best life in the pandemic. The year 2020 and early 2021, for me, probably one of my favorite years of my life. No-one bothered me, my career is at an all-time high. Again, I didn’t have to look at all of you people. It was a dream come true and unfortunately now they have this “vaccine” and everything is opening up again and I’m kind of bummed about it, but it is what it is.

And The Pinnacle is obviously a big faction in pro wrestling, but there’s no female member of The Pinnacle as of yet. If you were to look at the roster, is there anyone that you think is Pinnacle material?

Britt Baker.

Me and Britt have actually formed a bit of a bond. I still think she’s a total bitch and she definitely thinks I’m a s***head, but talent recognises talent. Real recognises real.

Do I think we’re going to add a female in The Pinnacle? Probably not. I think, right now, we are easily the most dominant faction, group, however you want to put it, in professional wrestling. We’re in the most intense and intriguing angle.

And then when we’re done with the Inner Circle, after we make them disband this Sunday, all we’re going to focus on is gold.

Now, after we win all the gold, will there perhaps be a conversation where we’re going, “Well, there’s only one title left”? Then would it possibly make sense for me to pull Brittany Baker over to the side and just have a conversation? Maybe.

Right now doesn’t make sense, but I’m very much so looking forward to seeing Britt Baker become the new AEW Women’s Champion.

MJF, I want to wish you all the luck in the Stadium Stampede this Sunday at Double Or Nothing.

Yeah, whatever, Kenny.

AEW Double Or Nothing is available to watch this Sunday via Fite TV outside of the United States. US viewers can watch via B/R Live.