MJF Dishes on AEW Roster, Fan Confrontations and More in B/R Exclusive

Haris KruskicContributor ISeptember 30, 2019

All Elite Wrestling

After the first four shows in All Elite Wrestling's short history, a handful of its talent made a grand first impression to many fans initially unfamiliar with much of the roster. Wrestlers who come to mind include Adam Page, Britt Baker, Darby Allin, Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus and Nyla Rose.

None, however, have broken out quite like a 23-year-old from Long Island, New York, named Maxwell Jacob Friedman.

"I've had fans try and jump the guard rail," MJF told Bleacher Report. "I've had fans key my car. I've had fans try to stab me. I've had piss thrown at me. I'm the one getting booed here and yet these animals, these circus freaks, think it's OK to attack me for telling the truth. It's absolutely abysmal."

As one can imagine, many fans don't take too kindly to things MJF, who travels around the world to compete, says to them.

Just months into AEW's run, The Salt of the Earth has already established himself as arguably the best talker on the roster. Highlights include interrupting Bret Hart at the debut show in May, insulting the Fyter Fest crowd in epic fashion and being executive vice president Cody Rhodes' right-hand man as he gets ready for his AEW world championship title shot against Chris Jericho on Nov. 9 at Full Gear.

With his standout mic skills, it's easy to forget how good he's also been in high-profile matches that included Page, Allin and Jungle Boy just to name a few.

To say it's been a stratospheric rise for MJF would be an understatement. In just four years, the rising star went from beginning his wrestling career to being promoted as one of the faces of a major organization. For perspective, certain wrestlers with decades of experience may never reach that point.

Before deciding on his eventual line of work, Friedman was a football player at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. He grew up a wrestling fan, though, and eventually dropped out of college to join Create a Pro Wrestling Academy. Trained by Pat Buck and WWE star Curt Hawkins, MJF wrestled for numerous promotions across the Northeast indie circuit before signing with AEW in January.

He studies some of the greatest talkers in wrestling history, including Roddy Piper, Buddy Landel, Ernie Ladd, Ric Flair and even Tully Blanchard, whom MJF described as a "decrepit piece of s--t loser" after he intentionally interrupted the interview while walking past MJF at Starrcast wrestling convention in Chicago. To say Blanchard got under MJF's skin is an understatement.

"Get out of here, you old sack of s--t," the Burberry scarf-wearing MJF yelled at the wrestling legend. "Can you believe that guy? He wants to interrupt my interview?"

Moments after Blanchard left the room, a disgruntled MJF asked for a few moments to calm down before proceeding with the interview. Not many in the industry would talk to the Horseman like that, but MJF is not like many people. It's that talking that drew the former Major League Wrestling champion to the business.

"There were people that grabbed you just by talking, and that's what I loved about professional wrestling when I started out," MJF said. "That's why I'm already so good. That's why people literally hang on the edge of their seats when I have a mic because they want to know what I'm going to say. 

"And by the way, I'm also really good in the ring too. Some would say that's unfair, and I'd probably be inclined to agree."

During his time at AEW, he's proved there aren't many lines he won't cross. At Double or Nothing, MJF mocked Hart for genuinely being attacked by a fan at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony last April. He followed that up by flicking off the Fyter Fest crowd before poking fun at the event's video game-oriented fanbase.

Just don't call what MJF has to say "harsh."

"I'm honestly offended whenever someone says I'm being harsh," he said. "For some reason we love using these poppy words in 2019 because everybody loves to choose to be offended. Nothing I say is harsh. What I do say is the truth. If people have a problem with that, they need to realize that's on them. That's not on me."

A person like MJF who isn't afraid to say whatever's on their mind is naturally going to make some enemies. Also take into consideration that Friedman, a wrestling purist, has admittedly been thrown off by the signings of unorthodox talent AEW has brought on in recent months.

Even the merest mention of hardcore standouts such as Allin, Joey Janela and Jimmy Havoc, the "fun-sized" Marko Stunt who stands 5'2" and the infamous Orange Cassidy known for his intentionally lackadaisical wrestling style almost made MJF vomit mid-interview.

Bleacher Report WWE @BR_WWE

.@orangecassidy is here 👀 #AEWAllOut (Watch now on @brlive) https://t.co/enlpYx1rGp

"Do you have a napkin? I think some puke came out of my mouth."

MJF thinks a handful of the AEW signings make a mockery of the sport he loves and are applauded for doing so. 

"I'll put it this way: In this country, much like our roster, there's a bit of a divide," he explained. "You have the top 1 percent, guys like me and Cody Rhodes. Then you have Jimmy Havoc, Darby Allin, Marko Stunt, etc.

"I'll be honest with you, the first time Marko stepped in the locker room, I got scared because I thought someone lost their kid. I tried to help the poor bastard out. He gave me his ID and turns out he's my age. Truly frightening stuff who AEW brass allow in the locker room.

"If a guy like Orange Cassidy can find a way to stop being a jabroni and fit inside my world, more power to him. If I had to lean toward one way or the other, though, I'd tell you it probably won't come out all sunshine and rainbows at the end of Orange Cassidy's career here at AEW. I could be totally wrong, but I'm not."

Due to these signings, he admits he has lost some trust with certain members of the front office aside from Cody. MJF's faith in AEW is kept afloat in part by the friendship and business acumen of The American Nightmare, whom he deems the smartest man in the industry.

"The guy thinks on a different level," MJF continued. "What's the old saying...one man's trash is another's treasure? In this case, maybe Cody sees one man's s--t, dirtbag, backyard wrestler in a way that I can't. Cody has a much smarter wrestling brain than I have. I'm only four years into the business. If he sees money in there, then there's money in there."

MJF made quite the impression on Rhodes and AEW president Tony Khan, who re-signed the self-proclaimed fastest rising star in professional wrestling to a reported five-year contract last July. According to Friedman, he's now the longest-contracted roster member in the company not including front-office personnel (Cody and Brandi Rhodes, Kenny Omega, Young Bucks).

Expectations are at an all-time high for MJF.

"They now pay me even more money than I was making before, and the money I was making before was already stupid."

"I'd like to think I'll be a multiple-time AEW world champion within my first five years at the company, or maybe I'll hold it once and just never lose it."

As AEW's television debut date of All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite on Wednesday on TNT approaches, MJF has some words of advice for the "stupid, fat fans" who continue to critique him.

"If you're sitting down and reading this crap, you have no life already," he said. "Granted, it's me talking so I'll give you a bye. But there's more to life than sitting in your basement and masturbating. Get out of your house, find someone that's probably not attractive and just stay away from me because your life and existence is sad and it makes me sad."

Maxwell Jacob Friedman™️ @The_MJF

Stop being poor.

Well, there it is. Frankly there wasn't a more fitting way to end this interview.