Molly Belle: Maxwell Jacob Friedman: Prolific

“Tony, I want you to fire me. You fucking mark, fire me! Fire me! FIRE ME!”

NWA Powerrr Stream And Results (2/7): Matt Cardona And Tyrus On Opposite Ends Of Major Six-Man Tag

These were the last words spoken by Maxwell Jacob Friedman on AEW television. The impression made may have faded slightly over time but reliving those moments in the ring on that night following Double or Nothing, one thing is for certain – nothing is for certain.

Since the inception of AEW over three years ago, no one person has been more polarizing than the salt of the earth. What makes him so good is also what makes him so misunderstood. He pulls no punches and plays a game relentlessly confusing to others by simple means. That’s because it’s no game at all. Max is Max. In the ring. Outside the ring. Online and off.

In fact, the most terrifying thing about Maxwell Jacob Friedman to his competitors and those he does business with is that he’s not just transcendentally brilliant. He’s that and more, and he knows it. Staggeringly prolific and just twenty-six years old, he’s an even more patient and calculated Thanos with a gauntlet full of infinity stones. He’s just waiting for the right time to snap his fingers.

Sunday night, it just might finally be that time.

Look, I don’t have any answers to what has been truth and what hasn’t about Max’s situation with All Elite Wrestling. That’s not what I do or what I’m interested in. If I’m being honest, I’m glad I don’t know. Give me a story with layers that blur reality and fiction and bury me in them! Make me question everything to an extent that I can do nothing BUT tune in every Wednesday and Friday night to even just maybe get some answers.

It’s how business used to be done. MJF is a renaissance man in that regard. He plays audiences like the fiddles we are, and who else in modern day professional wrestling has had the knowledge, the talent, or the balls to color outside the lines like he has? It’s bold, granted, but it’s beautiful. Without risk there is no reward, right? That’s how the saying goes? Max has risked it all. He’s played the game, pushed all in, stared his boss dead in the eyes, and dared him to move.

Big brass ones. Huge.

It’s near impossible to find fault in the words he spoke before he walked away from All Elite Wrestling and Tony Khan. Standing the AEW we know today against the company that debuted on TNT in 2019 – the changes have been astronomical. Since day one it was painfully – and I do mean painfully – obvious that Max was “the guy” or at least headed straight there with a rocket. It’s no surprise that after a few years, perhaps he found just a little frustration in others coming in and being immediately heralded by fans (and his boss) as saviors to a company that didn’t need saving.

It's villain-making 101, is it not? Sure, Max was already a less-than-ideal human being, but he was our less-than-ideal human being! Whether over compensation, screen time, adulation, or simple pride, Max was failed – perhaps on multiple fronts. It’s an astounding and glaring, yet unmistakable fact.

So why now?

Isn’t it obvious? CM Punk, the golden goose of free agent signings, may soon again hold what MJF has always coveted above all else. Perhaps he would have returned much sooner if Punk had never been injured, but here we are. Radio silence from he who is inevitable. The very opposite from he who is seemingly surrounded by the very controversy that divides wrestling as we speak. It’s a storyline from the oldest of schools. We just need a spark.

It doesn’t matter what’s real and what isn’t. At the end of the day, it’s all canon, isn’t it? At a dinner with these two – both at the top of professional wrestling’s very elite kayfabe kings – fact and fiction need not attend. All that matters is what they say to each other and the story their eyes tell while they do it.

I’ve written about Max before, so it’s no secret the high esteem in which I hold him and his potential in the business. It’s my belief that his throne is wherever he wants it to be, for however long he wants to sit in it. It’s high praise, but it’s due praise. AEW would be certifiable if they broke this relationship in such a way that it remains unrepairable. Still, with a reported sixteen months or so left on his contract – even if he were to leave – I’m struggling to come up with a more compelling story for wrestling fans both hardcore and casual than one revolving around Maxwell Jacob Friedman.

It's verifiable fact that one of the biggest ratings draws in the company wears Burberry. Favorite son any longer or not, Max belongs at the top of the card. In the three years since AEW’s inception, its four pillars have all gotten their flowers. All but one.

Darby wore the TNT title proudly, dethroning the man who shares responsibility for the creation of the company, Cody Rhodes. Jungle Boy was strapped with Tag Team gold and has been consistently treated as one of the elite company golden boys, deservingly so. Sammy Guevara has found himself in countless huge spots and has held the TNT title on a staggering three separate occasions.

All three of them have ascended to heights they could have only dreamed of prior to All Elite Wrestling opening its doors. But Max? Well, Max has a ring. It’s fancy, sure. It sparkles under the ring lights and comes in handy in a pinch, but it’s a far cry from a gold belt. You could easily make the argument that Max had his chance already – that he challenged for the belt and fumbled. How easily forgotten it is that our favorite everyman hero, Jon Moxley, cheated to beat the salt of the earth once upon a time.

So, with AEW All Out on the very near horizon, and two men that Maxwell Jacob Friedman has no love for slated to do battle for the world title, what better time than now to remind everyone who he is and what he is capable of?

But what about Tony? How could he let him back after what he said and did? Tony Khan isn’t just a fan. He’s a businessman, and a pretty good one I imagine. He doesn’t have to like someone to know they make money, and as he just said the other day, via NBC Chicago, “not everyone needs to get along in the pro wrestling business, they don’t all need to be friends to do this.”

Whether Tony likes or even respects MJF any longer, the proof is in the pudding. Like Max said in his pipe bomb months ago:

“Nobody is on my level. No one. Everything I touch, turns to gold. There is nothing I can’t do.”

I think we’re all just about to see just how right Max has been all along. Like Thanos, Maxwell Jacob Friedman is very much inevitable, and his rightful throne is in sight. Wouldn’t you want to be on his team when he snaps those fingers?

Get exclusive pro wrestling content on Fightful Select, our premium news service! Click here to learn more.
From The Web