New AEW Champion MJF has no shortage of wrestlers lined up contending for his title.
It finally happened at Full Gear in Newark, NJ. Maxwell Jacob Friedman is the AEW Champion at long last, and now it feels like we’re dawning on a new era. And all I can say is, it’s about time because MJF deserves to be at the top of the mountain for carrying the company on its back.
Ever since his return at the All Out pay-per-view in 2022, MJF has been on a war path to the AEW World Championship. And while he may have gotten an assist from William Regal, there’s no questioning the man’s ability inside the ring and on the microphone. There’s no one hotter in the wrestling business right now than MJF.
With the championship reign of the Long Island native set to begin, the fans want to see MJF starting to defend his title as soon as possible. There are many options for who can justifiably have a great feud with MJF. I narrowed my list to five wrestlers who the fans want MJF to face during his title reign.
Want your voice heard? Join the Daily DDT team!
5. Bryan Danielson
Danielson needs to have a crack at MJF. Let’s face it, Jon Moxley got screwed out of defending his title thanks to William Regal. Danielson looking to avenge his Blackpool Combat Club member by defeating MJF is a great story to tell.
Adding Regal to the mix only sweetens the feud that much more. Regal formed the BCC by making Danielson and Moxley a team. Following that, it grew into a major stable as Wheeler Yuta and Claudio Castagnoli were recruited as well.
For Regal to turn his back so quickly on the stable he formed himself, for a young upstart who can’t get over himself, is a great story. Not only does Regal see young Max as a major player in AEW going forward, but he thinks a better future is ahead for the champion than any member of the BCC.
MJF and Danielson would have an amazing feud that could last until AEW Revolution in March. Just thinking of the promos and matches between these two, it would be must-watch TV on Wednesday nights. However, MJF should come out of this feud as champion.
4. Kenny Omega
The belt collector will want this belt back. After nearly a year-long reign with the AEW World Championship, Kenny Omega is starving for another chance to get gold back around his waist. After a tough loss to former best friend “Hangman” Adam Page, he never got a chance to get a rematch for the title.
This matchup has eluded us for quite some time. When All Elite Wrestling was first announced back in January 2019, MJF VS Kenny Omega was one of the matches I couldn’t wait to see. Fast forward all the way to the end of 2022, and we still have yet to see the two cross paths.
AEW does a fantastic job at keeping certain wrestlers apart from each other. This makes you think this program will be happening on a major pay-per-view platform in the future, but the question is when?
Both Omega and MJF are technicians in the ring, and their styles could really rub off on one another. Omega has a bunch more in-ring experience than MJF, and it’s important for MJF to gain that experience with the veterans on the AEW roster. Although Omega is the best in-ring competitor on the roster, MJF should get the rub and retain his AEW title.
3. “Hangman” Adam Page
Due to the injury, he sustained against Moxley, “Hangman” has been out of in-ring competition since. His concussion is a huge blow to the AEW roster as the roster is lacking major babyface power. However, when he does make a return, expect him to target MJF for the title shot that was taken away from him.
There’s unfinished business here as the two have squared off once before. In 2019, these two were the last two in the ring in the Dynamite Diamond Ring Battle Royal, meaning they had a one-on-one match for the Dynamite Diamond ring shortly thereafter. MJF won the match and the Dynamite Diamond Ring due to interference thanks to Wardlow.
Then the two had a face-to-face confrontation just a few weeks before the Page and Moxley match took place. This is the prototypical major babyface vs major heel matchup that everyone clamors to see. This is essentially a carbon copy of Steve Austin vs The Rock from 1998.
I’m not saying these two will have anything close to what “Stone Cold” and The Rock had, but this is the best comparison that could describe the promos and matchups they would have. Page comes across as the toughest and most hard-nosed wrestler on the roster versus the arrogant narcissist who will take any shortcuts, no matter what it takes. Page should be the one to take MJF to his absolute limit, but loses in the end thanks to more shenanigans.
This is the one I want to see again. Wardlow has been on a monster tear as a babyface despite losing his TNT Title. Although, he does seem like he has some unfinished business with MJF after all the embarrassment he put him in dating back to his debut in 2019.
The story speaks for itself right here. The feud last spring between Wardlow and MJF was some of the best segments on AEW TV this year. Whenever Wardlow and MJF were on the same TV, it was appointment television.
What would be a cool twist is MJF challenging Wardlow to right the wrong of his loss back at Double Or Nothing in 2022. Ironically, that would be leaning into a babyface role more than anything. All in all, MJF has something to prove to Wardlow and the rest of the AEW fans that he could take down Wardlow.
We don’t know how a competitive match would go between these two, as Wardlow dominated MJF in a matter of a few minutes in their first match. MJF and Wardlow should close this feud out with a massive twist. With everyone expecting a Wardlow World Championship win, Tony Khan should pull the rug out from behind and have MJF win another controversial title match.
1. Adam Cole
Like Page, Adam Cole is also out with a concussion. His absence is sorely missed on each Dynamite and Rampage that passes. No one really knows when he’s going to come back and no one should rush him back.
But when Cole does make his return, he needs to start making another run for the World Title. He may have to go through the entire roster due to his inactivity throughout the year, but Cole deserves to be in the main event title picture. The Lancaster, Pennsylvania native is no stranger to world titles in different companies, but championship gold in AEW has avoided him.
MJF needs someone who can match him in the ring but more importantly on the microphone, and Cole is one of a handful of wrestlers in the AEW locker room that can do that. For someone to bring the best out of MJF, it’s hard to pick anyone other than one of AEW’s most charismatic wrestlers. Cole turning into a major babyface for this feud is the route to go for the company for not only the short term but the long term as well.
Cole can work any style of match, and he’ll make it a five-star classic nearly every time. The program between the two would be incredible. If it were me booking this, I’d have MJF carry the AEW Championship into the final Dynamite of 2023, and lose to Adam Cole, thus ending the longest championship reign in AEW history.
Of course, questions would then rise about the bidding war of 2024. It would then be left in the hands of Triple H and Tony Khan to bid for the budding superstar. The Salt of the Earth has said before that he would go to the highest bidder, so it’s fair to assume that won’t change down the line. Tony Khan may have the inside track since the two can talk while he’s in the house, but it seems as if the two don’t get along all that well.
After narrowing down the list of potential opponents, I picked Cole to dethrone MJF because I feel he would be the best successor to hold one of the prestigious belts in professional wrestling, as he could do it all in the ring, out of the ring, on the microphone, even on commentary. Disagree with my picks? Who are your picks to feud with MJF?