It was a relatively calm Double or Nothing/Memorial Day weekend... until the reports of Maxwell Jacob Friedman no-showing a scheduled appearance at AEW’s FanFest hit on Saturday night (May 28).
From that point on, it was all hands on deck for the scoopsters of the wrestling world as fans refreshed their Twitter feeds looking for updates about the status of MJF’s highly anticipated match with Wardlow on tonight’s PPV — and his future in the wrestling business.
- One thing everyone agrees on and categorically states: this is not a work, at least not one both parties agreed to (there’s a lot of speculation Max has gone into business for himself and as The Observer’s Dave Meltzer says, “appears to be wanting to be Brian Pillman.”) .
- Everything in wrestling can be turned into one eventually of course, as we may see this transform into one very soon. But none of what unfolded yesterday was coordinated by AEW & MJF to advance a storyline.
- Insider heard from fans at FanFest they saw Friedman playing slots at Mandalay Bay (where FanFest was held) while he was supposed to be doing his scheduled meet-and-greets.
- Tickets for MJF’s session at FanFest were $100. Fans who purchased them were told they could get a refund or meet a different wrestler. An AEW official told Fightful the company was “very unhappy with the way things played out.”
- As has previously been reported, the issue is reportedly money. There’s lots of talk that Tony Khan is willing to make Friedman one of his highest paid performers, but wants to extend his contract beyond its current Jan. 1, 2024 expiration in the process. MJF essentially believes he deserves a merit raise on his existing deal without adding time to it. David Bixenspan points out this account of the negotiations has been refuted, however — so it seems to be an old rumor resurfacing in light of everything else.
- AEW talent has been told not to publicly comment on yesterday’s incident. Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp’s sources in the locker room were “steadfast in saying Tony Khan wouldn’t work his roster and has spoken to a couple of them about MJF’s frustrations in recent months.”
- Sapp reported (and Insider confirmed) that a Sunday morning Las Vegas to Newark flight was booked for Friedman “before the meet and greet at an expensive price,” but doesn’t know who purchased the ticket. The Observer’s Bryan Alvarez disputed this, but Sapp said he saw physical evidence of it.
- Either way, sources told Fightful and Insider that MJF was not on the plane when the flight took off for New Jersey early this morning.
- AEW is still actively promoting the Wardlow match for Double or Nothing tonight. Alvarez says it’s still listed on the card internally.
So I guess we’ll know more in a few hours.
Will we ever know everything? Pro wrestling, everybody!