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Breaking Down MJF’s Blockbuster Promo

Everyone knew that MJF is one of the best speakers in the business. He’s more than earned that recognition. But on the June 1st episode of Dynamite, MJF & Tony Khan turned the situation everyone has been talking about into an angle and the result was one of the best wrestling promos this writer can ever recall. There’s a lot to dive into here so let’s break it all down.

Work or Shoot?

There will be a lot of people who assume that this entire situation has been a work the whole time. Is it possible? Sure, anything is possible. Is it likely? Maybe? By all accounts, MJF no showing the fan event on Saturday wasn’t anticipated by the company at all and they wound up refunding a lot of tickets. Credible reporting from Mike Johnson at PWINSIDER states that MJF showed up at the PPV right before his match, left right after but did fly to LA as expected and met with management before Dynamite.

It would seem that the conversation between Tony Khan and MJF must have been at least somewhat productive, as he was on TV and not at home, as many expected him to be for a while. While more detailed reporting will come out in the days to come, it seems to be a safe conclusion that the two parties at least agreed to do business together, even if all the hard feelings aren’t resolved. Or this perhaps was a carefully designed publicity stunt designed to get people talking and impress the WarnerMedia executives in attendance at tonight’s show. The jury is still out here.

The Promo

MJF took the opportunity to cut a legendary promo full of raw emotion that covered a lot of ground. It felt “real”, in a way that will inevitably draw comparisons to CM Punk’s “Pipe Bomb” promo from many years ago in WWE. MJF took Tony Khan to task, the fans, the other wrestlers in the company and even acknowledged the upcoming WarnerMedia- Discovery merger, which we’ll get more into later.

This was definitely a “moment”, something people will be talking about for a while to come. MJF made a lot of interesting points. He does wrestle a different style than many other AEW competitors. He doesn’t “drop people on their heads”, as he put it, and can draw a genuine reaction out of people without going to the physical extremes. He took a shot at Dave Meltzer’s star rating system, something that many wrestlers care more about than they will admit in public. He separated himself by saying that he was a trained wrestler, drawing a line between himself and some of the “indie darlings” the company has on the roster.

MJF heeled the audience for thinking of themselves as being smart but most notably, he targeted Tony Khan. Was this done to pop Twitter? Was this done to set up a future angle, not with Khan wrestling of course? Was this done as a way to write MJF off TV for a while? My assumption is all of the above.

MJF is in a bit of a holding pattern. He waited his turn for the top spot, after feuding with the likes of Chris Jericho and CM Punk in some of the company’s most entertaining feuds ever. The Wardlow feud had to be blown off the way it was. But where does that leave MJF?

Double or Nothing MJF vs. Wardlow title card

If this is a way to write him off TV for a while, then bring him back to be the one to ultimately dethrone CM Punk, then it’s pretty smart booking. Punk needs to hold the title for a while but when it is time for him to drop it, a red hot MJF being the one to do so would cement him as perhaps the top guy in the company moving forward. While I know that this all sounds like an argument for the whole situation being a work, it could just as easily be a case of turning a negative situation into a moneymaking situation.

The WarnerMedia Merger

A lot of attention has been placed on WarnerMedia and Discovery’s upcoming merger and how little attention seems to have been paid to AEW in recent marketing efforts designed to spotlight the top programming from the networks. While I personally didn’t read much into it and think that wrestling is the perfect content type for what that merged company wants to produce (not to mention the favorable financials), I do think that Tony Khan and MJF used this situation to impress the top brass at the soon-to-be-merged network.

MJF referenced network officials being in attendance and gave them a career-defining promo, making him out to be the biggest star in the company. He thrust himself into the forefront of those executives’ minds and positioned himself as a genuine, marketable star at the young age of 26. WarnerMedia and Discovery are a little ways away from fully merging, which means that AEW can take MJF off TV for a while and allow speculation to continue as to what his status with the company is. When the time is right and those executives are making decisions about the future of their combined company, AEW can unleash their 26-year-old nuclear weapon and watch the ratings and public reaction soar.

The Aftermath

This promo from MJF was nothing short of brilliant. Make no mistake about it, this talented young star is now shining much brighter than ever before. AEW has the opportunity to have a megastar on their hands, the type of wrestler who can bring in mainstream eyes and casual fans. How they proceed from here is crucial. They can’t rush him back to TV for nothing. They have to either bring him back for something huge or leave him at home for a while to allow anticipation to build for an eventual showdown with Punk for the title.

For all the talk about how ex-WWE stars joining AEW didn’t move the needle, there’s some truth to it. Punk is a ratings winner for the company but MJF is a homegrown star who can be the face of this company for years to come. There’s no way Tony Khan is letting him go, especially after that career-defining promo tonight. MJF was already a star but now he’s a made man.

Written by Andrew Grevas

Andrew is the owner & CEO of 25YL Media, the parent company of Sports Obsessive, Lifelong Cincinnati Bengals fan, obsessed with dynasty football leagues and former pro wrestling commentator who finally got his one more match from CM Punk.

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