AEW made a mistake with MJF and Juice Robinson moment on Dynamite


AEW has shown it can tell intricate stories, but there comes a time when it must know when not to put a controversial moment on television.

Politics exists in everything. While many would like to avoid them, the truth is that a “politics-free” environment is a myth. The same goes for professional wrestling. There are several examples of how political and social issues find their way into professional wrestling rings and storylines, with few outcomes being done right. All Elite Wrestling is facing a similar situation coming out of the October 10 edition of AEW Dynamite. And it’s a situation that deserves a deeper review with the nuance necessary to cover such a matter.

By now, everyone who would read this piece has seen the AEW Dynamite segment between MJF and the “Bang Bang Gang,” also known as Bullet Club Gold. During said segment, Juice Robinson showed the crowd and the masses watching a roll of quarters with Friedman (not MJF) written across the wrapping. Fans, critics, and media members alike immediately tied this moment directly to powerful and painful stories that MJF has shared about how children tormented him growing up. His stories point toward the pain of racism and antisemitism that millions in the United States experience.

Telling these stories in professional wrestling isn’t the problem. In fact, if wrestling opened its doors to more people from marginalized groups its ability to tell those stories with more believability and nuance would grow. But that is a conversation for another day.

MJF has openly talked about wanting to tell these stories in professional wrestling because this is the life he’s lived. Even as some came to AEW’s defense for this angle, MJF took to social media to do the same.

“I’m actually Jewish. I’ve actually gone through this. This is my real life! MY STORY,” MJF tweeted. “And I look forward to giving catharsis to every single person who’s ever been oppressed or bullied. If you think I’d play with that or take it lying down or WORST OF ALL hide from the hard conversations like a coward…you’re on crazy pills.”

So that brings this conversation to the difficult part. The October 10 episode of AEW Dynamite was not the time for this segment to occur.

The world is watching as war between Israel and Hamas rages. As of October 16, The Wall Street Journal reports that more than 1,400 Israelis and more than 2,300 Palestinians dead as well since the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7. As these people are killed, our society disturbingly fixates on the narratives that lead to escalating ills like anti-Muslim, anti-Palestine, and antisemitic messages. This is a time when society should rally to defeat these evils.

With that in mind, AEW leadership (namely Tony Khan) should have looked at this segment, looked at what is going on in the world today, and removed it from the show.

With the terrorist attack occurring just three days prior, there is no way the viewing public wasn’t going to tie this closely to that situation. Yes, MJF has spoken about this story in a promo months prior, but no one will remember that as quickly as they remember seeing the headlines, news, and graphic images the three days before this segment. There are so many other bits of action that should have been the focal point coming out of a strong show, but instead, the mistake of keeping this on television made it the center story for discussion. As the President, CEO, and head of creative for AEW, that was Khan’s position to say that this wasn’t going on television at this time.

Yes, some will point to the fact that Robinson frequently uses a roll of quarters to attack his foes. But how often does he go out of his way to write the real name of a competitor who has openly talked about facing antisemitism across those quarters? That is one of the major issues with this moment.

Rewind the clock back to May 2020. Millions of people around the world watched as George Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, Minnesota. That led to what some thought would be a “racial reckoning” for the country. There were massive protests in the United States and the world. There were also moments of destruction which the same social media echo chambers linked to Antifa.

That seeped over into professional wrestling and the creation of RETRIBUTION, one of the worst angles in recent wrestling history. It’s an example of how the politics of the time, infused with Vince McMahon’s warped perception of reality, created a storyline that should have never been on television. Fans and media members alike responded with immediate rebuke of the matter and it fell apart as much of WWE’s wrestling product did. It was an embarrassment to all things wrestling at the time.

Politics will find its way into everything, whether it is wanted to or not. All Elite Wrestling will move past this mistake, and those who were outraged will return to watch the product – if they ever actually left. However, the company should look at this response and be mindful of the power of a simple statement. “Now is not the time.”

dark. Next. Adam Copeland vs Christian Cage will be interesting storytelling