Not sure how many people believe Maxwell Jacob Friedman when he says his AEW contract expires at the end of this year. The most important ones — the folks at WWE who would be preparing to make him an offer if he’s about to be without a contract — allegedly don’t. But MJF is sticking to his story.
The AEW World champion is Jimmy Traina’s guest on the latest Sports Illustrated Media Podcast. Asked about his deal, MJF replied:
“I’ve been saying the same thing. I never lied. January 1st, 2024.
“When stuff like that gets leaked out, it makes me laugh because I remember something leaked out about Cody [Rhodes] having secretly re-signed and then he showed up [in WWE]. Something got leaked out about, you know, CM Punk and Tony Khan or you know… I think fans leak out things that they want to be true. I love AEW, I wanna stay in AEW. After this pay-per-view [Dec. 30’s Worlds End], it’s time to assess the situation for a professional setting.”
Not sure I recall a “leak” about Cody re-signing with AEW after word got out that his contract had expired in early 2022, but it’s certainly possible. There were lots of “leaks” about Punk & TK, most of which seem to have been true. Perhaps unsure what those examples proved, Traina wanted to clarify if Friedman has signed a new AEW deal. The champ said:
On the talking point that MJF would be “neutered” or forced to change in WWE’s more family-friendly product, the 27 year doesn’t agree. But he still acknowledges his current home is probably the best fit for him, at least righ now:
“I just don’t know how the fuck you put a leash on me and I swear to God, that’s my honest opinion... I think my career trajectory in any company is going to be exactly the same.
“Do I think in some aspects, AEW fits me like a glove more so than anywhere else? Yeah, I do. Could an argument be made the other way around? Yeah, I’m sure. These are all things I have to think about. What I do know, whatever company I pick, it will be because it feels right and it means the most to me.”
He also sought to push back on the narrative about AEW being in trouble. Not that he’s wrong, but for a guy who says he could leave the company in a couple weeks Max is still flying the AEW flag pretty proudly:
“I feel like the company right now, there was a minute there I felt like we were kind of in this rebuild phase and I feel like right now, we’re really building some serious momentum. There are fans online that say, ‘Restore the feeling’ and I dig that line and I am pumped because I feel like we are and we have and we’re continuing to do so and I’m proud to be at the helm of that.”
Whether he’s kayfabing us or not, we should get some kind of update on MJF’s contract status in the next month or so. Stay tuned, and check him out on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast here.