AEW Double or Nothing 2020: MJF vs. Jungle Boy could be an instant classic

MJF featured in episode 170 of AEW's Being the Elite. Photo: AEW on Twitter
MJF featured in episode 170 of AEW's Being the Elite. Photo: AEW on Twitter /

We’re fast approaching AEW Double or Nothing, marking their seventh event to date. Going top to bottom, this still feels fresh in terms of what the promotion can churn out. There were and still are grimaces by fans that feared the repetition of talent circulation would lose its novelty value all too quickly.

Now you’re not here for a breakdown analysis. Let’s get to the crux of the matter, shall we?

Going by the current match card listing on AEW’s website, it appears that MJF will face Jungle Boy in the opening bout in what has the potential to be the best match of the entire evening. That sounds like a bold statement, doesn’t it? Taking into consideration there’s a World Title defense, a Stampede Stadium Brawl and an eight-man ladder match featured.

To put it bluntly, this promises to be the most satisfying and traditional wrestling encounter. There’s a strong argument to be made that long term fans are drawn into professional wrestling by the classic good vs. evil premise that unfolds. Over time, that concept has been distorted and in some cases has provided impressive results.

Another argument is that the entertainment medium that is professional wrestling has become oversaturated. To the extent that the fundamental principles are getting over and with greater longevity. Let’s take a look at what Jungle Boy brings to the table here.

At 22 years of age, Jungle Boy has never looked out of place inside an AEW ring. The level of confidence and performance he exhumes is staggering. Chris Jericho highlighted that he considered Jungle Boy to be a heartthrob, a trait that is certainly beneficial for a talent that needs to win over the fans.

Whenever you see him sell a move or get overwhelmed, he comes across well as a sympathetic figure, even if that’s not what the emphasis of that moment is about.

Athletically gifted, pleasant to the eye and extremely likable, this young man has all the tools for a storied career in the business. In my mind, there’s no doubt about that. Now the question is, who’s the best kind of person to pit against such a promising up and coming star. The answer is simple, so simple it can be answered in just three letters: M-J-F.

Maxwell Jacob Friedman, is two years Jungle Boy’s senior. An arrogant son of a gun that just oozes charisma. Capable of some eye-catching maneuvers, he’s a more grounded wrestler and has taken AEW with a relentless head of steam. This talent always seems to take steps forward and never going back.

What separates MJF from the vast majority of the roster, even those in other mainstream platforms, is his level of wherewithal. Nearly every motion has a purpose, whether that is dishing out a cocky slap to the face or simply taking a stroll outside of the ring for a moment.

He knows that every second, people are watching and that is extra time to be used. To enhance himself, those he’s working with and add to the story that’s being told.

There are many that perfect the art as an in-ring worker, others reach it through talking on the microphone. Those that can pull off that fine balance between the two are destined for greatness. Many people may disagree and even despise seeing him. The fact that he embodies the same persona regardless if he’s on the clock or not is a refreshing sight to see this day in age.

You may notice there’s been more praise here given to MJF, the heel of this match, than the babyface. There’s a good reason for that, and it isn’t a negative reflection on Jungle Boy. When the match at Double or Nothing was announced during an episode of Dynamite, MJF’s reaction made Jungle Boy’s stock go up.

That’s right. The reaction on MJF’s face told the story, that out of the entire roster, Jungle Boy is among those he greatly fears. It’s telling that this young punk who talks a big game against more experienced and older wresters is intimidated by someone of a similar age. He knows what Jungle Boy is capable of and the cockiness vanished in a heartbeat upon hearing that news.

Watching a heel squirm at the prescience of a face is far from revolutionary. We see glimmers once in a while, but nothing sold this well. Instantly, the appeal of purchasing Double or Nothing soared out of complacency and straight up to high interest. We then have to address the third party involved here who adds an extra dynamic: another source of heat.

If you consider the greatest heroes and villains, their adversaries are just as compelling. These two men are in the early stages of their respective careers. Working together on PPV may very well be the first of many notable encounters.

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At Double or Nothing, on May 23, we have what many fans consider to be the two most promising talents in the company going head to head. Babyface vs. heel with a manager, an old school template.

After it is all said and done, whatever the result may be, we’ll witness both their presciences elevate to new heights. And that’s exactly what AEW needs to continue building the brand for years to come.