Friday May 13, 2022

AEW has done a solid job of pulling notable WWE talent away from their former homes, but that train runs both ways. AEW lost a massive talent when former founding member, champion, and vice president Cody Rhodes left in order to return to the WWE, and it looks like another major star from the organization might be one step closer to joining. Maxwell Jacob Friedman, or “MJF” as he’s known, had previously mentioned interest in joining the WWE, but it’s always hard to tell if he’s in character or serious. The latest rumored behind-the-scenes info revealed that he might actually be serious if things don’t turn around for him at AEW.

Rumors surfaced in April that a heated discussion occurred between MJF and AEW’s President Tony Khan, and the latest update is that their relationship hasn’t improved. Fightful Select reported that MJF originally came to Khan upset about his contract situation and the pay scale involved in it. As for Khan, he reportedly expressed his frustration that MJF took an interview with high-profile wrestling and MMA reporter Ariel Helwani and failed to mention anything to AEW’s PR team before doing so. The two reportedly had a falling out, which some believed they hashed out a week after, though new rumors state that might not be the case. 

The latest is that MJF’s talk about joining the WWE isn’t entirely rooted in his character and that the wrestler is weighing the idea of joining the wrestling organization. With that said, there’s allegedly talk of Khan offering MJF an extension so they can properly work out a long-term deal for him in AEW, though it’s believed that progress on securing him as a talent for years to come is at a standstill. At the moment, MFJ is rumored to be leaning more towards leaving AEW than he is staying. 

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AEW losing MJF would be a huge deal, as he’s one of their most-buzzed about original stars at the moment. While AEW has an exciting product and a growing number of fans, it’s fair to say that many of its top stars are those who have significant ties to the WWE.  MJF was a wrestler who really rose to prominence in AEW and was proof that any wrestler could make a name for themselves there. 

While MJF’s current relationship with AEW is apparently on the rocks, it’s something both sides presumably still have time to work on. MJF’s contract won’t expire until January of 2024, so that’s plenty of time for Tony Khan to throw an offer his way to entice the wrestler into either extending that deadline or signing a longer-term deal with AEW. At the same time, it might be more beneficial for MJF to see what the market is for the WWE, and at least one past tweet from MJF indicated that he’s up for doing that following reports of the WWE’s interest. A lot can change between now and January 2024, of course, but this feels like a situation worth keeping tabs on. 

AEW Dynamite airs on TBS on Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET, and Rampage airs on TNT Fridays at 10:00 p.m. ET. Those with a Hulu subscription can catch up on both shows there and check out why MJF is one of the hottest names in wrestling right now. 

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