Maxwell Jacob Friedman & Wardlow’s story had lots of momentum coming into its current, possibly final chapter. Fans have been anticipating their split for a while, and there was never any question about who we’d be cheering for when it happened. Wardlow was steadily built up in his Powerbomb Symphony squashes, which also ramped up tension with MJF via his chief stooge Shawn Spears. We’ve yet to get the satisfaction of seeing Max powerbombed, but what Wardlow did to signal he was done with Friedman — ensuring CM Punk won his feud with MJF — might have been even better.
Still, it’s impressive how well the story’s continued. We probably wouldn’t have been surprised if they took or missed a beat coming out of a program that figures to be on quite a few “feud of the year” (and probably at least a few “favorite feuds ever”) lists. But MJF’s attempts to punish Wardlow, and vice versa, have the angle hotter than ever. They’ve mostly done it by keeping things simple.
We’ve known it was coming ever since Max refused to release the man he’s taken to calling “Pig” from his personal services contract. Banning Wardlow from AEW shows only meant the big man would have to fight his way into them, and that’s been entertaining as hell. Over the past two weeks, AEW’s tied it into another thread from the Punk plot, giving Capt. Shawn Dean wins over Spears & Friedman thanks to their preoccupation with the bodies Wardlow’s throwing around. Last night (April 13), it gave us this classic “he’s right behind me, isn’t he?” moment...
The match last night continued Dean’s gimmick as the rock in MJF’s shoe, and sold the importance of wins and loses in AEW (a consistent theme in Max and Punk programs). Friedman was almost as scared of losing as he was of Wardlow, and his attempt to bribe Bryce Remsburg was the best sell of a count out I’ve ever seen. Add Remsburg to the list of characters being developed in this story.
The Chairman is great there too, and he has been throughout, elevating the henchman role and ensuring he’s someone we’ll never get tired of seeing get his ass kicked.
The spotlight’s never left the next big thing, though. And the pops for Wardlow somehow are still getting louder thanks to scenes like this:
If I have a quibble with the program, it’s that MJF hiring The Butcher to take out Wardlow is a return to a similar angle they just used in Max’s feud with Chris Jericho.
No sympathy for the devil and good thing @the_MJF doesn't need it! MJF sends #AFO's #TheButcher (@andycomplains) to slaughter @realwardlow - Tune in NOW to #AEWDynamite LIVE on TBS! pic.twitter.com/n25jxrJdTT— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) April 14, 2022
But next Wednesday’s match should be hoss-tastic, and hey — it’s what arrogant rich heels do. No point recreating the wheel just for the sake of recreating the wheel.
Let us know what you think of the continuation of Wardlow & MJF’s tale, and check out the rest of the highlights from last night’s Dynamite. As usual, AEW doles out YouTube videos slowly. But we’ve compiled what they’ve released as of this morning in a playlist, and tried to catch you up with the rest of the episode via Twitter clips below that.
- CM Punk Climbs the Ranks & Has His Sights Set on the AEW World Championship
- Did Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus Prove They Were the Best Tag Team in the World?
- Satnam Singh Sends a Gigantic Message to the New ROH TV Champion Samoa Joe
- Exclusive: Hear from Blackpool Combat Club, Ricky Starks on His Win, & More!
ON SIGHT! #EddieKingston @MadKing1981, @Santana_Proud & @Ortiz_Powerful give #JerichoAppreciationSociety a sneak peak before tonight's brawl - Tune in NOW to #AEWDynamite on @tbsnetwork! pic.twitter.com/V1ACy9IlSX— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) April 14, 2022
#BlackpoolCombatClub (@jonmoxley, @bryandanielson & @wheeleryuta) promise to break the faces of the #GunnClub in Trios Action this FRIDAY on #AEWRampage LIVE from Dallas, TX!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) April 14, 2022
Tune in NOW to #AEWDynamite LIVE on TBS! pic.twitter.com/EcSXWdtDP8
Supreme confidence from #ToniStorm as fellow #OwenHart Foundation Tournament qualifier @jmehytr gets in her face with choice words!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) April 14, 2022
Tune in NOW to #AEWDynamite LIVE on @tbsnetwork pic.twitter.com/X7beef03hj
#JerichoAppreciationSociety, not satisfied with the pin, decide to pour salt into the wound as @TheDaddyMagic and @TheAngeloParker lay into Kingston, Santana and Ortiz! #AEWDynamite is LIVE on @TBSNetwork right now! pic.twitter.com/PrQBAJG91r— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) April 14, 2022
Tensions reaching a fevered-pitch ahead of #AEW Women's World Championship with @thunderrosa22 (c) against @nylarosebeast this SATURDAY at #AEWBOTBII!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) April 14, 2022
Tune in NOW to #AEWDynamite LIVE on @tbsnetwork! pic.twitter.com/hjcCHKgSYc