Possible Motivation For AEW Fanning Flames Of MJF Controversy

Almost a week has gone by since MJF no-showed a fan meet-and-greet leading up to AEW Double or Nothing, and it's still hard to decipher which aspects of the situation are real and which are fictional. One such element is the now-infamous plane ticket, which MJF had reportedly purchased to fly out of Las Vegas on Saturday, the night before the pay-per-view. According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, however, MJF either never purchased such a ticket or canceled it prior to boarding.

"An airport source Saturday night said the system showed [MJF] having a ticket to fly out Tuesday, the day he left for Los Angeles," the Observer reported.

Regarding Double Or Nothing, no one at AEW would confirm on Sunday that MJF's match against Wardlow was officially on or off the PPV card after the company pulled videos advertising the contest from YouTube. One of Meltzer's sources close to the matter did say by that evening, AEW was certain he was going to do the show, and that it would be the opening match. There's also speculation that the MJF "will he, won't he" controversy flame was fanned in effort to maintain interest on the PPV — Double or Nothing was going up against Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat on Sunday night, which accrued an audience of 10 million viewers.

As it turned out, MJF did show up for Double or Nothing and took a definitive loss against his old enforcer, Wardlow, being taken away on a stretcher afterward. He appeared on Wednesday's episode of "Dynamite" at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles and cut a scathing promo about his status in AEW and against AEW President Tony Khan, finishing with an expletive-laced tirade that got his microphone cut off. During the ensuing commercial break, cameras caught new AEW World Champion CM Punk walking to the ring to confront MJF, who ended up bailing through the crowd. According to Meltzer, CM Punk coming out at the end of the promo was part of AEW's plan, but MJF going on for nine minutes was not.