It's time for the AEW Devil angle to end and MJF to drop the title

MJF has an uncanny ability to tell stories in professional wrestling, but fans and critics alike are ready for the AEW Devil angle to come to an end.
MJF Dec.png
MJF Dec.png /

AEW Worlds End is coming on Saturday, December 30. There are several big matches that fans are excited to see. AEW is primed to head into 2024 with strong momentum at its back. Yet, there’s still concern around the AEW World Championship picture. MJF versus Samoa Joe will cap off the event and the angle surrounding the “Devil” stands front and center. Unfortunately, the tone around this story has shifted to one where many voices are clamoring for it all to be over.

There’s a lot to be excited to see in AEW. The Continental Classic has given fans some of the best professional wrestling and quality storytelling of the year. The women’s division is coming around, showing what fans already know – the people are ready to see more of the ladies. But this angle with MJF is not among the list of items.

MJF is and will always be over with the fans. His ability to get fans engrained in his angles is a skill that has developed well beyond his 27 years. He’s riding a historic title reign, just crossing the 400-day mark with the title. But the last three months of this ordeal haven’t worked out in the way that those in the ring and behind the scenes would have liked.

The initial steps taken to pair him and Adam Cole together as Better Than You Bay Bay hit the mark. Fans were interested in what these two characters would give them, and where the story was headed. Even Roderick Strong was getting the opportunity to spread his wings as more of a character. But it quickly hit a wrong turn when Cole suffered a sudden injury, forcing him to the sideline and out of the picture.

AEW then went into the angle that MJF was a marked man, with multiple individuals chasing after him and the title. All the while, this mysterious “Devil” character re-emerged intending to make MJF’s life hell. Everyone loves a good “whodunit,” but this was a step in a direction where AEW has continued to struggle – sports entertainment.

MJF makes it no secret that he was a fan of the WWE-led sports entertainment from his childhood. As was Tony Khan. Both men value the sports aspect of professional wrestling, and that’s seen in the product, but sports entertainment holds a special place in their hearts. There are times when AEW does the sports entertainment part well, but that is more of an exception than the rule.

This isn’t the first time fans have looked at an angle with MJF and realized that it wasn’t working. Perhaps this is more an issue with the platform rather than the performer, but the quick response to the close of the December 27 edition of AEW Dynamite was disdain for the main event picture. The denigration of the ROH World Tag Team Championship, the constant use of long-winding promos and backstage segments, and the keeping of things going too long are three main issues that fans point to when talking about this angle. Those problems are terribly like some of the complaints given about WWE which consistently leans too heavily into the sports entertainment space. It’s a problem that doesn’t impact all AEW, but when it hits the main event picture scene the ramifications are felt in fan reaction.

MJF is working with an injured shoulder and should be commended for his commitment to the industry. It’s that injury and the trajectory of this story that should lead to him dropping the championship to Samoa Joe at the PPV. Many expect Adam Cole to be revealed as “The Devil” and the reaction will be tepid at this point. Can AEW save this angle? Sure. Here’s to hoping it can be course-corrected in a manner that pulls fans back in. But right now, many want it to be done with.

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