AEW World Champion MJF is no doubt a polarizing figure, leaving no doubt in the mind of AEW fans that he’s a true villain. Never one to shy away from self-aggrandization, he regularly mentions the Bidding War of 2024, when he plans to pit WWE and AEW against each other when his AEW contract expires. He says he’ll go to the company that bids the most money for his star power.
When asked about the young star during an interview with Today.com, AEW President Tony Khan said that “what you see is what you get with MJF.” Continuing, he laughed as he admitted that as bombastic as Maxwell Jacob Friedman can appear on screen, he can actually be more difficult to work with behind the scenes.
“My own experiences dealing with him, I’ve found him to be more difficult in some ways off camera, if that’s even possible.”
When it comes to the infamous Bidding War of 2024, Khan says that Friedman is “well aware” of the AEW President’s wish to extend his contract.
“It’s certainly something he knows is a priority for AEW and me personally.”
MJF’s Once-Fractured Relationship With Tony Khan Has Improved
Back in May, MJF’s name made headlines when he no-showed a fan event, putting his highly anticipated match against Wardlow at AEW Double or Nothing in doubt as reports emerged that he’d potentially booked a flight out of Las Vegas ahead of the show. In the end, he was handily defeated by Wardlow at the event, and the next Wednesday on AEW Dynamite, all eyes were on Dynamite Diamond Ring winner to see what he had to say.
The Wednesday following Double or Nothing saw Friedman launch into a verbal tirade against the AEW locker room, wrestling fans, and the AEW President himself, saying that he gets no respect. He ended the promo by begging Tony Khan to fire him.
“Fire me Tony! Fire me you f*cking mark!”
The star wouldn’t be seen in the company again until AEW All Out, when he returned under a mask to win the Casino Ladder Match with the help of The Firm. Speaking to Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour after making his return to the company, Friedman addressed his controversial promo explained how his relationship with the AEW President changed.
“Did P.R. get a little upset that I didn’t clear it with them. Yes. Does P.R. now have absolutely no choice but to salivate at the fact that MJF is leaving his house to do an interview in regards to Arthur Ashe. Yes, because things have changed a little bit. The balls in my court now. I’m one of the biggest ratings…”
“What has changed is this. I’ve come back. Tony Khan had no choice but to understand and to deal with the fact that if you want MJF on your show, you got to abide by MJF rules. It’s that simple. MJF wanted to be on the Ariel Helwani show today, and MJF is on the Ariel Helwani show.” (h/t WrestlingNews.co)
Continuing, the star said that while his relationship with Khan wasn’t good at the time of Double or Nothing, it’s since improved, and it all came down to money.
“Not good. Now it’s great. I’m a simple man. I go out there. All I do is win. I’m winning in the ring. I’m winning on the mic. I’m constantly winning. So obviously I had no problem with how I was being showcased. That wasn’t the issue. The issue is money. I was looking to my left and to my right and I was hearing rumblings about what guys were making when I was three times the draw they were minute by minute. I’ve seen the analytics and I went, that doesn’t work for me. I’m MJ freakin’ F. Pay up.” (h/t WrestlingNews.co)