AEW is reportedly playing the long game with regards to the ongoing MJF storyline.

According to Dave Meltzer in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, AEW is willing to forego short-term financial gains, evidenced by the fact that they pulled all MJF merchandise from their website, in order to achieve a long-term payoff with the storyline.

Melter added that AEW wants “people to think he’s gone,” which would explain why the announcers no longer mention him on TV, and AEW’s social media and YouTube channels have stopped posting all MJF-related content. Furthermore, AEW asking Warner Bros. Discovery to pull MJF from promotional spots and commercials for AEW programming, unfollowing MJF on Twitter, and removing his profile page from their website are all strategic moves designed to make people believe he is done with the company.

While there is some speculation that MJF has signed a contract extension, propelling Tony Khan to go through with the ongoing storyline, Meltzer emphasized that “nobody knows and nobody will know” exactly what MJF and Khan discussed during their meeting after Double or Nothing earlier this month. Meltzer said he expects MJF to eventually return to AEW TV “out of the blue with no warning.” As of this writing, the only certainty is that MJF is under contract with AEW until January 1, 2024.

On a related note, Meltzer added that “it was very clear” MJF and his crew leaked the rumor of his booked flight out of Las Vegas the night before Double or Nothing, which created a stir and led many to believe MJF would no-show his match against Wardlow.

“We can’t outright say that AEW wanted it [the flight rumor] out, but one would think both sides were working together and they did,” Meltzer wrote. “If AEW didn’t want it out, they’re not pulling the YouTube preview the day before for the attention. So this was really quite deeply thought out.”

While the rumor was intended to garner attention and boost pay-per-view numbers, Meltzer added that the early estimates of the Double or Nothing buys don’t indicate a number much different from the projections prior to the controversy.

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