WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross compared MJF to legendary manager and promoter Paul Heyman, but says the young AEW star has far more muscles and athletic ability in addition to microphone skills!
Jim Ross has had a long tenure in the wrestling business, be it working with WCW, his long stint in WWE, or his current role in AEW. Therefore, he’s a trusted source when it comes to wrestling talent.
Speaking on his Grilling JR podcast (available via AdFreeShows), Ross gave his opinion on three-time Dynamite Diamond Ring holder MJF, praising the booking of the young star first and foremost but also noting that MJF also plays a part in keeping himself fresh for the AEW audience.
“I think Tony Khan is booking MJF perfectly because he’s not overexposing him. He’s keeping him fresh. Of course, Max is really great at keeping himself fresh because Max loves Max. I don’t blame him. If he doesn’t have his own back, who does? He’s very smart.”
Good Ol’ JR went on to compare Maxwell Jacob Freidman to ECW creator and current SmackDown regular Paul Heyman, both in terms of stubbornness and difficulty but more importantly because both have incredible talent and aptitude for the wrestling business.
“Let me tell you this, statement of the night may be that MJF is a younger, actually athletic version of Paul Heyman. I was around Paul Heyman when he was in his 20s a lot and I helped Paul a great deal back when nobody wanted to work with him because he was so obstinate in their view. Well, I saw talent.”
JR and Paul Heyman have a long-documented history together, but are also regarded as one of the greatest commentary teams of all time during their stint together in 2001 despite seeming constantly at odds. Their time in the commentary booth would end when Jerry Lawler returned the day after the Invasion pay-per-view in November 2001.
“Was he a pain in the ass? Absolutely. But he was our pain in the ass and he was my pain in the ass partner who made both of us better. So we did some good work in WCW before he ever got to WWE, I always thought. I enjoyed it, I can tell you that.”
The Oklahoma native went on to say that while Paul Heyman and his younger counterpart share similar levels of wrestling intelligence, the young AEW star also has muscles and athletic ability, something the Advocate of Extreme lacked.
So Max is a young Paul Heyman, only with muscles and athletic ability. So that just tells you where he ranks in my lexicon of some of the smartest guys I’ve ever been around in pro wrestling. The thing about it, he’s in his mid-20s. So hopefully he won’t ever self-destruct…
Ross finished by revealing that he and the Burberry scarf enthusiast talk often, and that MJF asks intelligent questions that prove his intelligence for wrestling and that comparisons to Heyman go well beyond their New York roots.
“He and I have had some really good talks over our tenure there at AEW. I always talk to him at every TV and we chat about different things. He asks questions that are intelligent questions, so you know that he’s thinking about things that are spot on because of the questions that he asks or the subjects that he wants to discuss.”
MJF is most recently embroiled in a feud with fellow microphone master CM Punk, and the two will be at odds in a trios match on the upcoming episode of AEW Dynamite.
h/t Fightful for the transcription