On a recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast, Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor was joined by AEW star MJF as he discussed his friendship with former AEW World Champion Chris Jericho ahead of his match against him at Full Gear. Early in their conversation, MJF alleged that many veterans of the wrestling industry are ageist, but he said that Jericho was not ageist as he talked about his match against Jericho where if he wins, he will join The Inner Circle.
“Chris Jericho isn’t ageist,” MJF asserted. “Chris Jericho is a man that understands the future is now. The future is not later. I have a phrase I always like to say, it’s called ‘talent over tenure,’ and I feel that Christopher understands what talent over tenure means. It doesn’t matter how long somebody’s been in the business. Can they draw money? You may be a top guy, [but] can they be somebody that forces you to watch them on TV? I am one of the top draws on average, minute for minute in pro wrestling right now.
“I might be the top draw outside of my boy C.J. and he understands that, and we both understand that we have a mutual respect there. And we both understand that if I do join The Inner Circle, we both will benefit greatly. I firmly believe the only reason that this match is occurring is because Chris Jericho, he wants foolproof that I am worthy. I think deep down he already knows it, but he wants to to see. He needs to see it physically to believe it, and I’m fine with that. I’m more than fine with that, and that’s why I’m looking forward to this match-up.”
There was some tension between Jericho and MJF last year where Jericho called out MJF for stealing his gimmick. Hausman asked MJF when his friendship with Jericho started.
“Honestly, the first time I realized that I kind of like this guy, it was right after I kicked Cody in the nuts, and I came out the next week to announce to the world why I did it,” MJF recalled. “And Christopher just happened to be in the ring, and we ended up having a bit of a conversation in front of a live audience. And in that moment, I realized this guy’s all right. There’s something to him. He’s got something, and I’m sure he realized the same thing as we were looking eye to eye. Post that, I wanted to win that world title. I still do want to win that world title. It’s all I care about. It’s my one and only goal.
“However, I understand that in order to win, sometimes you need to evolve, and I understand that evolution is key when it comes to professional wrestling. I tried doing it on my own. It didn’t work out, and I feel the reason that didn’t work out is because if you look at AEW right now, there’s a lot of lines being drawn, a tremendous amount of lines being drawn. It seems nearly everyone is in a faction, and I just came to the conclusion, after my match with ‘Dictator Jon’, after he cheated the way he cheated and there was no justice, perhaps I would have had justice if I had more people backing me, whether it be verbally or physically.
“And I had announced live on TV, hey, I need to join a group. I need to join a group, and I feel it’s very clear that Inner Circle is the most powerful group not just in AEW but in all professional wrestling. I make no bones about it. That’s why I wanted to get to know Chris and see if Inner Circle was a good fit for me as I’m sure Christopher was trying to realize whether or not Inner Circle, me being his group was a good fit for him. And I think week after week, it’s become more and more apparent we have so much chemistry. We’re clearly fast friends, and I’m really excited to get to know more and more about my good friend Chris.”
As Hausman noted the many comedic and sketch comedy segments that Jericho has done in AEW, MJF asserted that there is nothing funny about what he and Jericho do. He stated that what fans are seeing is just two people being themselves, which so happens to be comedic.
“There is nothing funny about us,” MJF interjected. “I take my job very seriously. I take my friendship with Christopher very seriously. Do I think we’re so wildly charismatic that it can make people laugh from time to time? Sure, that makes sense, but we’re not trying to make anybody laugh. We’re just being are genuine selves. We’re having a genuine good time, and if people enjoy it, they enjoy. If they don’t, I don’t care.”
A recent viral segment that Jericho and MJF starred in was “Le Dinner Debonair”. MJF talked about how proud he was that only he and Jericho could pull off that segment.
“I’m proud of the fact that nobody else in the professional wrestling business, besides me and Christopher, would have been able to do what we did in that segment,” MJF said. “I was an All-State tenor two in high school. I also was the captain of the Acafellas. We were an all-boy acapella group. Christopher, as you know, is an incredible artist. He is the front man to Fozzy, one of the greatest bands in the world, and we’re the only two guys that possibly could have done what we done.
“We sang a beautiful rendition of ‘Me and My Shadow’, and I felt it helped us connect. It was natural. It happened organically. It was not something we planned. It just completely happened organically. I think it took us both by surprise, but at the end of it, when we sat down and we made eye contact, we both knew that we got something here. We’ve got lightning in a bottle, and I am super proud to be a part of it.”
It was reported that MJF came up with the idea for the segment. However, MJF claimed that it was a spontaneous thing that he and Jericho did citing his love for Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.
“Well, that’s ridiculous because the singing and the dancing was completely spontaneous. That’s what people don’t seem to understand,” MJF stated. “We were trying to enjoy our meal, and unfortunately, we were butting heads a little bit. I love Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. Cry me a river. If you don’t like them, that’s not my problem. I love them. I heard that song play. I felt the music running through my body, and I felt the need to sing and dance. And Christopher did as well, and I think in that very moment, we realized that we were almost kind of a perfect match for each other.”
It was also reported that MJF was inspired by the film Rocketman, a 2019 biopic based on the life of Elton John. MJF, again, claimed that it was ridiculous that he was inspired by John. He then listed off his accolades in life as well as his lifelong ambition to become a pro wrestler.
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” MJF expressed. “So here’s the thing, I’m sure a lot of people want to believe there’s stuff going on backstage. I’m MJF 24/7. My birth name is Maxwell Jacob Friedman. I was born and raised in Plainview, Long Island, New York. I have wanted to be in the professional wrestling business ever since I can remember. I was an All-State tenor two. I was an All-State middle linebacker. I broke the record in tackles in my high school. I had a full-ride scholarship. I left to pursue professional wrestling. Everything about me is real. That music hit, and I felt the need to sing and that’s that.”
MJF will battle Chris Jericho in a match to determine if he joins the Inner Circle this Saturday night at AEW Full Gear. For more information please visit www.allelitewrestling.com. MJF’s full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.