Jon Moxley’s appearance at the end of last night’s Double Or Nothing show was an absolutely amazing way to end the show. He laid out Chris Jericho and then destroyed Kenny Omega as the show went off the air. It was a moment many wrestling fans were hoping would happen, and AEW showed they could deliver on such a big moment.
I am not here to write about Moxley, however.
AEW’s MVP, their most important signee, is not Jon Moxley. It is not Chris Jericho, not any members of the Elite. The most important guy on the roster is the reason the Buy In show opened not with an “A-E-Dub” chant, but a torrent of boos. Go back and watch the tape; the video package fades out, and the crowd is booing like they just saw Brock Lesnar win the Money in the Bank.
It caught me off guard, until I saw who was in the ring, his tartan scarf still wrapped around his neck, telling the fans they should be grateful to be in his presence.
Then I understood the boos.
It was MJF.
MJF is the guy who nearly beat Hangman Page in the Casino Battle Royale. He’s the guy who interrupted Bret Hart during the presentation of the new championship belt and dumped on Bret’s signature catch phrase. He’s the guy who tucked tail and ran when Jungle Boy, Jimmy Havoc, and Hangman Page ganged up on him.
He’s also the best barometer for how this company will fare in the coming years.
I had the “misfortune” of having a gimmick table next to his back in the fall at a Terry Harper show in Jeffersonville. I had to sit and listen to him at intermission berating fans, telling them they were fat and stupid and not allowed to buy anything from him. This is not a product of some creative team. MJF arrives in AEW a full-realized jerk and a half who doesn’t understand why you boo him because he truly believes he is doing YOU a favor by letting you see him wrestle.
In a world where AEW did not exist, MJF would have been signed by WWE. They would have given him a new name and persona. They would have forced scripts into his hands written by non-wrestling people. Despite these hindrances, they would have made a lot of money with him. MJF is a personality on the level of a Kevin Owens or The Miz who will not be ignored. I have no doubt he could have taken whatever WWE Creative threw at him and turned it into gold.
He doesn’t have to do that in AEW. He can continue being his smug, repugnant self. He can continue pushing buttons, unscripted and unfiltered. AEW has promised wrestlers control over their own characters and promised fans no script writers. If they deliver on both promises, MJF will have the leeway to become their top heel in no time. He will be the man fans love to hate more than any other. He will sell tickets and pay–per-views.
He will be the embodiment of what AEW promised to deliver.
Time will tell if AEW truly has staying power and if they are willing to give wrestlers the freedom they promised. I’m pulling for them, and even though he’s a stuck up, self-absorbed head case in the ring – I am pulling for MJF. I cannot wait to see him fight Page, Cody, Jericho, Omega, Moxley, and anyone else who gets in his way of becoming the AEW Champion.
I love to hate this guy. I look forward to hating his guts for years to come.