Some would argue that there hasn’t been a more charismatic heel in the pro wrestling business that we all absolutely love to hate since the heyday of The Rock, and I would agree with that wholeheartedly. MJF knows just how to push all the right buttons in a crowd and with those watching at home.
He’s been at this since 2015 and in just under 10 years has convinced many a pro wrestling fan that he has what it takes to be one of the greatest the business has ever seen.
Before his foray into the realm of pro wrestling, he wanted to be a singer, as he so eloquently told Rosie O’Donnell when he was but a tiny adorable tyke. He even gave us a few verses of “You Are My Sunshine,” but a long way from those dreams and that performance he sure has come.
Whether you love him or you hate him, he has got what it takes to take that top spot in any pro wrestling company in existence today, and yes that includes the likes of WWE. So watch out, Roman.
He was trained by Pat Buck and Bryan Myers at Create A Pro Wrestling Academy in Hicksville, New York—this after a failed attempt at college and football. Turns out wrestling was something he was born to do, even the ability to cut a promo that has the power to give you goose bumps as you watch.
Bryan Myers recalled when MJF’s dad first brought the youngster to his school during an interview last year:
"“He’s a year one guy. His story is not really that out there…But he was supposed to play college football and I think he did a couple of days of the training camp and got in his car in the middle of the night and just blew it off and told his parents he wanted to be a wrestler, that was his real dream…My version of the story is that his dad kind of just walked him into the school and was like, ‘he’s your problem now, he’s just f**cked off college and I’m kind of pissed.’ But that being said, he always worked his ass off, always a natural athlete…I’ll never forget the first time we did promo class; he went after a real low-hanging fruit, like a fellow class member. And just absolutely slayed him the first time I ever saw him do a promo and I was like, there’s something to this guy.”Via Wrestling Inc."
He has finally reached the pinnacle of the AEW realm of pro wrestling, having defeated Jon Moxley for the AEW World Heavyweight Championship at Full Gear. And so far, he has defended his championship against an old rival, Ricky Starks, but even before all of this, he has amassed a large number of epic matches that you just have to see before this talented athlete and performer run as champ gets any hotter.
Join us as we look back to quite the career so far, and he’s only 26, people. Just imagine what’s ahead for this talented youngster.
Ricky Starks vs. MJF at INSPIRE PRO WRESTLING Event (2018)
The match was to see just who would be the number one contender for the Pure Prestige Championship and it didn’t disappoint by the match’s end. These two just had an equally epic battle at Winter Is Coming and now MJF seems to be headed into a program with none other than Bryan Danielson, but the battles between Starks and MJF are perhaps far from over.
MJF vs. Jonathan Gresham at a Limitless Wrestling Event (2018)
What do you get when you pair one of the greatest technical wrestlers ever to perform in the squared circle and an up-and-comer the likes of which was destined for great success? A masterpiece and this match between Jonathan Gresham and MJF is certainly just that.
Gresham puts on a clinic like he always does and MJF does his part to tell quite the story, as he always makes sure to do. No matter how athletic and fast-paced a match he’s in may be, he always takes the time to slow it down and tell one heck of a story…a story worth watching.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman Vs. Ethan Page – A Dog Collar match at alpha-1 wrestling in Hamilton, Ontario (2019)
Ethan Page has been getting a lot of TV time and the word that comes to mind the most is: Finally. What a talent. Now talk about charismatic heels you just love to hate. Page hits that button and hits it hard.
If you think that the dog collar match between FTR and The Briscoes at Final Battle was something, then watch this video which includes footage from their tremendous bout and a violent bout it was.
MJF vs. CM Punk – Dog Collar Match at AEW Revolution (2022)
How can I compile a list like this without including what turned out to be the culmination of CM Punk’s greatest feud in AEW? There would be no way. CM Punk’s end with the company (if it is an end—this still remains to be seen), wasn’t at all the best obviously, but his run should not at all be marred by how it all ended at All Out.
He was projected to face MJF once again when Punk won the title back at All Out from Mox, but of course it didn’t go that way; the feud they had leading up to that Dog Collar match at Revolution was some of the greatest storytelling ever to come from a pro wrestling company and not from a perfectly crafted mystery novel.
The match was a violent work of art that I and many fans are unlikely to forget. One for the ages, to use the old cliché.
Matthew Riddle Vs. Maxwell Jacob Friedman / Beyond Wrestling – Welcome Home Night 2 (2018)
And here is a match that pitted two top talents in the business right now. Riddle himself has had quite the run in recent years, doing a tremendous job—his run with Randy Orton is certainly at the top of the list for me and many others.
He’s currently in rehab right now and I wish him a full recovery and a speedy return, but back in the day during his rise and before he signed on with WWE, he had some great matches on the independent circuit as well…this one here, definitely a standout for sure.
And of course, the two men had quite a bit of chemistry, so if MJF does have his sights set on a future in, I don’t know, a different company, maybe one based out of New York back in the day, then perhaps we can get this battle once again someday. I mean, we can dream can’t we?