Yesterday (May 12), we got the latest report that Maxwell Jacob Friedman is unhappy with AEW and “leaning towards” signing a big money deal with WWE when his contract expires in early 2024.
Those reports absolutely may be true. But, as many have pointed out, they might be a work. In fact, they could be true AND part of a work, because pro wrestling. And MJF in particular is a guy who will make it pretty much impossible to tell where the truth ends and the fiction begins, because he is almost never not in character. And that character is someone for whom wealth and status are of the utmost importance.
Friedman’s been working the speculation about his next contract into his AEW storylines and Dynamite promos for months. MJF managed to bring it up multiple times during his latest appearance on Brandon Walker’s Rasslin’, recorded backstage at UBS Arena before this week’s AEW shows in Long Island.
‣ “Eh, I could give a fuck less about your show. I don’t get paid to do this show. I fucking barely get paid to do [gestures out to the arena] this show.”
‣ “Let me explain something to you, by 2024, daddy [something MJF refers to himself as during this interview] is gonna make more money than the Hardys ever made in their entire run.”
‣ “I can’t wait to leave this company, how ‘bout that? Oh no — hope that doesn’t ruffle any feathers in the office. Oh no... who said AEW? I didn’t say AEW, you just said AEW... maybe I did, maybe I didn’t [say ‘this company’]. Maybe I’m in a shit mood. Maybe I hate my boss, maybe I fucking love my boss. Who’s to say?”
‣ “I think there’s a lot of stuff going on in this company that’s inaccurate. I think all these fucking ex-WWE guys that are making an absurd amount of money when, quite frankly, they can’t sniff my fucking jock when it comes to the ratings I pull in whenever I’m on screen — I think they can all go to hell. I think that somebody in the upper management has a problem with me, and it’s very obvious if you see what I’m dealing with week to week.”
‣ “Shawn Spears is an ex-WWE guy that gets it. Now, if/when I were to go over there, I’d have me a ball, right? Because I built my brand and established myself here. So when I go over there, I’m not gonna have to deal with the same type of bullshit that poor Shawn Spears had to deal with. Because a guy like that has been criminally underrated for over a decade.”
‣ “There’s no bigger Roman Reigns fan than me. Also love what Seth Rollins is doing right now.... I’d imagine [I’m going to want to wrestle Reigns if/when he jumps to WWE]. I think me and him would have a tremendous match. It’d be a friendly competition. I also — I would love to wrestle Seth Rollins. I would love to wrestle The Miz. There’s a lot of guys over there.”
‣ “My best friend, the Roller Code-ster, Cody Rhodes... Me and Cody, we still talk sometimes to this day. I love that guy. Also, Cody — God, that guy is a sweetheart — he texted my parents and he offered them tickets for the Long Island show, SmackDown. They couldn’t go, they were busy. But it was very sweet of him to do. Also, have you seen his baby? What a cute baby. Oh my gosh.”
Ready for 20 or so more months of this?