There is an idea of a Maxwell Jacob Friedman; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real MJF: only an entity, something illusory. And though he can hide his pain in his sneering, smug, shit-eating grin, and you can kiss the diamond ring on his hand and feel flesh gripping yours, and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable… he simply is not there.
MJF has all the characteristics of a human being: blood, flesh, skin, hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust. Something horrible is happening inside of him lately and perhaps he knows why, perhaps not. His haughty, pretentious, superior nature has overflown into his moral code. It feels lethal, on the verge of frenzy. His mask of existence is about to slip.
The life of privilege and luxury exudes through Friedman’s very pores; whether it’s his legion of cronies, abundant resources, or his tight-fitting, exquisite Nasir suits, complemented with his trademark Burberry scarf, draped neatly, yet lazily upon his hefty shoulders that he carries any company he wrestles for.
The story with the young, Long Island native is one that polarizes the masses, yet makes them feel something inside. Something that can either elicit sympathy or induce blood-boiling rage. With a microphone in hand, he can siphon the emotions out of unsuspecting viewers by uttering a sentence; his reach is massive with his voice. Flexible enough to shamelessly pick a low-hanging fruit or grab onto a star and imbibing the nectar of genius moonlight, yet wielding such heat as though he held the power of the sun in his hands.
Rarely does Friedman drop his character, rather making his character a part of him. This much is seen from this Kenny Johnson documentary on Youtube, where the line between Maxwell Jacob Friedman, the wrestler, and Maxwell Tyler Friedman, the person, becomes nigh indistinguishable. He’ll make your kid cry, he’ll make you cry, and he’ll steal your girlfriend if he has to, nay, wants to. By hook or by crook, he’ll cheat and leave you like a thief in the night. A master manipulator, MJF has held many with his bent finger to do his bidding at his impulse, or got close enough to clip their wings and crash back down to earth. Don’t believe me? Ask ol’ Roller-Codester over in WWE. Ask the Warpig whenever he’s not flexing his tits and powerbombing poor, defenseless jobbers.
You see, MJF is the type of wrestler who will take you out for drinks, put on the latest Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino, or Kevin Gates E.P., blaring it from his bluetooth radio as the bass booms and vibrates your body, and the next thing you know, he’s bludgeoned you with a blunt force object or did a surprise roll-up and taken the world out from under you.
As of late, following the drama of Double or Nothing 2022, MJF saw him disappear following an explosive speech on the week’s following episode of Dynamite for months, until his return at the end of All Out 2022. He emerged as The Devil and stole the poker chip that would see him bet on himself and put the odds in his favor as the Joker. He’d emerge in the aftermath of a match between two men he’d warred with in the past – CM Punk and Jon Moxley.
CM Punk would tarnish the legacy he’d built up at around this time despite becoming champion, and Jon Moxley would pick up the gold Punk was forced to relinquish to prove he is the heart of AEW, opposed to the dollars and dimes of the Second City Saint. MJF, however, was the fire of AEW. Uncontrolled and devastating if unappeased.
Underneath the posh and haughty appearance, Friedman had some scars that would blur the optics of fans. He’s shown his humanity in promos against Punk and against William Regal. MJF’s past gave answers to who he is. A bullied Jewish boy who held hope for an idol and a young, hungry talent shoved aside by an elder he had placed his hope in. The thing is, are these answers multiple-choice? Should we even trust him after he’s proven time and time again that you don’t trust a snake? Is Friedman changing for the better, or is The Devil going to make us forget he ever existed?
MJF has used many means to see himself to victory, every moment, to see himself ahead of everyone. He’s used up every finite resource he had (the most important being the patience and care of other human beings), but the sad part is, it hasn’t gotten him anywhere, aside from praise and credit. Not the gold and not the money. Not until he behaved ill towards CEO Tony Khan and nearly walked out, and not until he turned his back on his Firm he brought back with him upon his return. This is a variation of an MJF that could see him taking the stroll to that which he was destined for. You can tell in the change with his physique – he’s sculpted up a body to withstand abuse and bring it back tenfold. He’s in the best shape of his life, closer to godliness among the filthy poors who refuse to get better jobs.
Maxwell sits, taunting everyone, holding the industry in his well-manicured hands. He holds the future, The Bidding War of 2024, gripped tightly in hands meant for the expensive life when not in the ring. And he hurts for that which he wants. He wants to fit in with the greats, now knowing his heroes are not all that they seem, so nobody else is. His pain is constant, and he doesn’t hope for a better world for anyone. He’ll wrestle like the Ric Flairs and the Curt Hennigs of the past while speaking like Bobby Heenan and Roddy Piper to get what he wants, nay, deserves. Yet, he does it with an air of superiority, even over the people he drew inspiration from. Why?
Because his name is Maxwell Jacob Friedman. He’s better than you, and you know it.