MJF speaks to the power of professional wrestling in the era of cord-cutting, the possibility of AEW pay-per-view events landing on the WBD's Max streaming service, and more.
MJF is the current AEW World Champion and one-half of the Ring of Honor Tag Team Champions. As such, he is a pivotal player in the Tony Khan-owned wrestling promotions. With talk of a new era for AEW on the horizon at AEW WrestleDream, Maxwell Jacob Friedman gave his thoughts on what he believes the next steps for the promotion should be.
Speaking with Ibou of WrestlePurists, MJF spoke openly about the reality of cord-cutting and how it's affecting the cable TV industry as a whole, as well as why he believes that WWE and AEW are proven to be more powerful than ever because they are giving consumers a reason to buy cable boxes at a time where the future of cable is in limbo.
"Turner loves us right now. We are in the top three on a weekly basis. We are, frankly, the second hottest property that they own. The first hottest is the NBA, which, to be fair, had a bit of a head start on us," MJF said with a laugh. "So, we're sitting pretty, and sometimes I'll read 'the sky is falling stuff' online and it makes me chuckle. I'll bring something to everyone's attention that nobody wants to talk about, and it's even becoming blatantly obvious for Raw and SmackDown. Cable as a whole, cord-cutting as a whole, since 2019, is astronomical, it's astronomical. Now, the way this business and industry is set up, especially with streaming now, things are changing. Now, pro wrestling is one of the hottest products that a cable provider can or a big cable network can own because live sports is king. In the streaming world, for cable, live sports is king. That's what we are. so 890,000 people in 2023, frankly, is the equivalent to a million people in 2019.
"That's just a fucking fact that people don't want to talk about because people get weird about the cord-cutting thing," continued Max. "If you actually do the math, and you look up how many houses and households have been stopped [using cable]... genuinely, we're giving people a reason to buy a fucking cable box. That is the undeniable truth about both WWE and AEW. I think that [Warner Bros. Discovery] is going to give us a really good deal, and I think that's the next step for AEW because once they give us that good deal, you can pay big money players like me what we're worth, and that's huge."
Maxwell also took the time to brag about the depth of the AEW talent pool, saying it is perhaps the best bell-to-bell roster in the history of the industry.
"Right now, undoubtedly, and I think everyone would admit this, I feel like we have the strongest bell-to-bell roster probably in the history of the sport, and I don't feel like that's hyperbole at all," he boasted. "Me, Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, Adam Cole, Roderick Strong — fucking piece of shit, Brody King, RUSH, Ricky Starks, Will Hobbs, Samoa Joe, Miro, Malakai Black. It's an embarrassment of riches, bro. I could go on and on until my face turns blue."
Overall, Max believes that the next step for the company is a stronger media rights deal and said that, while he's not sure if anything will happen on this front, landing a streaming deal on the Max platform would be a massive step for AEW.
"That's my deal. That's what I think the next step is, just us coming to a term of agreement with Turner. Outside of that, what I also will say is, I don't know if it's going to happen, but I think if we do get on Max that would be massive," he said.
Max is going to be adding a live-streaming sports tier to its platform on October 5. Learn more at this link.
Tony Khan has said that a new era will begin at AEW WrestleDream, but was coy about clarifying his comments. Read more here.
Fightful will have full coverage of AEW WrestleDream on October 1.
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