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Wrestling / MJF

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Better than you.

Maxwell Tyler Friedman, better known by his ring name Maxwell Jacob Friedman (often abbreviated to MJF) (born on March 15, 1996), is an American professional wrestler currently signed to All Elite Wrestling.

Friedman was trained at the Create-A-Pro Wrestling Academy by Brian Myers (Curt Hawkins) and Pat Buck, and went on to work for Combat Zone Wrestling, capturing the CZW Wired and CZW World Championships in his tenure there. In Major League Wrestling from 2017 to 2020, he was the inaugural World Middleweight Champion and a one-time World Tag Team Champion (with Richard Holliday) and formed his own stable dubbed the Dynasty (with Richard Holliday, Hammerstone, and Aria Blake). He's also known for his runs in WrestleCircus and AAW Wrestling.

At AEW, Friedman was the "best friend" of Cody Rhodes and his Nightmare Family until he turned on the former. Later, he would similarly manipulate Chris Jericho to join Jericho's Inner Circle stable, eventually forming his own stable, The Pinnacle.



  • Alternate Company Equivalent:
    • Can sometimes be viewed as one for EC3 during his original TNA run.
    • He can also be thought of as an American version of Alberto Del Rio, best known for his WWE run.
    • Most significantly and invoked by CM Punk himself, he's been accused of being a "less famous Miz".
  • Arch-Enemy: To CM Punk. To say MJF hates Punk would be a vast understatement.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: He was a bullied, disabled Jewish kid growing up. Now he is probably the biggest bully on the AEW roster.
  • Broken Pedestal: His feud with CM Punk draws on this. MJF says that he used to look up to Punk when he was a kid, but Punk has become a "corporate product" that ruined MJF's dreams. At one point, MJF said that Punk "may as well come out here preaching hustle, loyalty, and respect". However, that's just smokescreen for the real reason he hates Punk — he never forgave Punk for leaving professional wrestling and staying away for seven years, as Punk was his hero and his inspiration for becoming a wrestler in the first place.
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  • The Bully: Puts down various personnel on the AEW roster, such as Brandon Cutler, Tony Schiavone, and Conrad Thompson.
  • Catchphrase:
    • He will usually find a way to insert into his promos how he's the "salt of the earth."
    • He usually ends his promos with "I'm better than you...and you know it!"
    • He also says "Cut my music! Cut my music!" for his entrance theme to turn off so that he can cut his promos in the ring.
    • "When you're in The Pinnacle... you're always on top."
  • Defiant to the End: During his Dog Collar Match with CM Punk. Just as Punk was about to brain him with his own Dynamite Diamond Ring (happily gifted to him by Wardlow), MJF spat in his opponent's face rather than concede defeat.
  • Elite Four: He coined in a promo the title "The Four Pillars" (inspired by the legendary "Four Pillars of Heaven" in All Japan Pro Wrestling) to describe AEW's top four future stars — himself, Darby Allin, Jungle Boy and Sammy Guevara. He does, of course, rate himself as the top among them, having already scored wins over Jungle Boy and Sammy when he cut the promo, and then beating Darby in their subsequent confrontation at Full Gear 2021. CM Punk would invoke and exploit this during his feud with MJF, removing MJF from the equation and instead inserting his own preferred wrestler, Britt Baker.
  • Expy:
    • Reminiscent of a younger EC3 or Ted DiBiase or even an American version of Alberto Del Rio (right down to wearing a scarf and using an armbar as a Finishing Move). Since the creation of the Pinnacle, he can also be one to the legendary and Four Horsemen founder Ric Flair. He also has shades of early Miz when it comes to his promo style and his ability to get under the skin of his opponents.
    • He's also one of his Arch-Enemy CM Punk, including Punk's willingness to follow through Refuge in Audacity for the sake of getting heat from the audience. Punk himself remarked on it, admitting that one of the reasons he came to dislike MJF so much is because he saw so much of his younger self in his rival, and it felt like having all his mistakes being thrown back into his face.
  • Fan Disillusionment: Essentially his Start of Darkness. When his favorite wrestler CM Punk left wrestling, he briefly gave up his dreams to become a wrestler himself, until he decided otherwise as a roundabout way to spite Punk. When Punk finally came back to wrestling and finally met him face-to-face, it looked like MJF was ready to let that go and let bygones be bygones if Punk actually acknowledged him — but when he didn't, that seemed to be the last straw. MJF now hates Punk more than anything and anyone else in the world, and by Revolution, has made no secret of it.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He can make a show of being friendly or polite, but as soon as he takes off the suit and flashes off his smug grin and shows what a brutal shark he really is, the "rich" and "cultured" MJF looks like he would fit right in amongst roughnecks in a mafia neighborhood, as the smugness underneath always bleeds through.
  • Finishing Move: Salt of the Earth (a Fujiwara armbar), Heat Seeker (a rope assisted pile driver), Double Cross (a rolling cutter directly based on Cody Rhodes' Cross Rhodes).
  • Genre Throwback: Much of his character is a tribute to the old-school jerkass heels of the 80's and prior, down to his strict adherence to kayfabe.
  • Hate Sink: He's a complete asshole who likes to run his big mouth, who likes to beat and bully the older members of the AEW roster, who personally insults kid fans and lacks a Freudian Excuse or Pet the Dog moments. Is it really surprising that even the smark-heavy AEW fanbase absolutely loathes him and that he generates genuine heel heat? While his interactions with CM Punk ultimately revealed that he did have a Start of Darkness, his brutal beating of Punk before their match at Revolution after luring him into a false sense of security, capped off by calling Punk a "stupid old man", proved that he'd long become heinous enough that Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse and pushed him back into this territory.
    MJF: I'm going to show you and all these mindless sheep that I'm the devil himself!
  • A Hero to His Hometown: MJF is despised the world over... except in Long Island. When AEW went there, the crowd cheered him and booed CM Punk à la Bret Hart and D-Generation X in Canada.
  • Heel: One of the most notorious bad guys of wrestling in recent history.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Rarely takes to the air in his matches, but he is capable of swanton bombs and Fosbury flops if he feels like it.
    • He actually still has a lot of respect and admiration for Punk. He just hates him that much more for leaving wrestling like he did.
  • It's Personal: With CM Punk. As revealed during the build up to Revolution, MJF's rivalry with Punk isn't just some standard disrespectful rookie/venerated veteran rivalry that it was initially presented as. Deep down, MJF loathes Punk with a deep and unrelenting fashion, having never forgiven his former idol for abandoning professional wrestling to the point that it briefly caused MJF to abandon his own dreams of becoming a wrestler himself. For all that he played at his rivalry with Punk being "beneath" him, it turns out Punk had him pegged from the start — he's an obsessed fan who holds a massive grudge against his rival for "leaving" him.
  • Jerkass: As a heel, MJF is a proud, unapologetic asshole who likes to run his mouth. The impressive part is that he never drops this even outside the ring.
  • Kayfabe: Even though it's an Open Secret these days that pro wrestling is staged, you won't get MJF to break character. Bleacher Report writer Jonathan Snowden tried in this January 2020 piece, and failed. In a previous interview, MJF listed Tully Blanchard as one of his favorite wrestlers to study, and Snowden asked MJF what it was like to personally learn from Blanchard, now an AEW producer. However, since Blanchard was then the on-screen manager of Shawn Spears, with whom MJF was feuding, MJF had this to say:
    It's just such a shame that he's hanging out with such a complete loser like Shawn Spears. … I mean look, I would love to walk up to Tully and pick his brain, but there's just no shot because Shawn's going to be nearby.note 
  • Little "No": Used to great effect in his promo-off against CM Punk.
    Crowd: SHUT THE FUCK UP! (clap clap clap-clap-clap) SHUT THE FUCK UP! (clap clap clap-clap-clap) SHUT THE FUCK UP! (clap clap clap-clap-clap)
    MJF: No. (crowd boos and falls silent)
  • Mythology Gag: One of his entrances in AEW during his political campaign-style world title challenge had him pushing an aide. This was a reference to how MJF had a very brief appearance at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II as a security guard whom Samoa Joe pushed aside.
  • Not So Above It All: For all his grandstanding and ego, he was clearly starstruck when he and Punk stood in a ring together for the first time. That's why Punk was able to see through his act of being "disappointed" with the Punk that came back; the reality is that MJF's ego can't stand the fact that his childhood hero didn't immediately go after him when he arrived in AEW and has no real respect for him.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Worming into the good graces of Chris Jericho, who states that he's savvy of the usual pro wrestling tropes because he watches the show; beating him to join his group, who clearly talk to each other on a regular basis; while being utterly transparent in trying to poison it from within by turning them, first against The Baby of the Bunch, Sammy Guevara, then Chris himself? Was obviously going to backfire eventually. And that's to say nothing of the comedic antics that MJF joined Jericho in for the sake of this plan, such as turning a random dinner into a musical, and getting hung over in Vegas with the Inner Circle, Konnan, and an Elvis Impersonator.note  But just in case you think MJF Didn't Think This Through... it was all to distract them from the real plot: forming a stable of his own, The Pinnacle.
    MJF: I played into your games! I shucked and I jived, I sang and I danced, I PRETENDED TO LIKE YOU AND YOUR HA-HA COMEDY BULLSHIT!
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: The Younger Villain to CM Punk's Older Hero. MJF is seventeen years younger than Punk, and has no issues rubbing Punk's advancing in his rival's face.
  • Out-Gambitted: Turns out, his plan to infiltrate The Inner Circle, weaken it from within, and set them up to be beaten out of their Big Bad spot by The Pinnacle, was actually this to The Inner Circle's plan to suck him dry and kick his ass.
  • Poisonous Friend:
    • Spent the early goings of AEW trying his damn best to be in the Nightmare Family's good graces, even though in reality he couldn't tolerate anyone else on the AEW roster— least of all Cody himself.
    • He also proved to be this to Chris Jericho, sucking him up into joining his Inner Circle stable, and in particular managing to put him at odds with Sammy Guevara, with whom Jericho shared a closer bond due to being The Baby of the Bunch among the stable, to the point of managing to have Sammy quit the group. Fortunately for Jericho and the group, Sammy came back after a while to blow the lid off MJF's plan.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
    • During an appearance on Being the Elite, he appears training alongside his butler Walter. When Walter gives him some water, MJF spits it out, clearly displeased with its quality, and asks:
      MJF: Where'd you get this water from, Walter?! Mexico?!
    • He threw out a challenge to anyone in the locker room at Beyond Wrestling's Heavy Lies the Crown. Kris Statlander answered. He initially dismissed her, saying (referring to her gimmick of being a Human Alien) "Aliens aren't real, and neither are women who can beat MJF." He finally accepted the match, which Kris won.
    • He's also flipped off child fans taking photos with him. Yes, there are several examples on the internet, and yes, it has caused a bit of controversy (but now it's become more of a badge of honor).
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Chris Jericho's attempt to insult him by saying that apparently MJF's parents got hot and heavy watching Jericho wrestling Juventud Guerrera in WCW, and nine months later MJF was born, didn't work as intended. MJF first got angry, but then confusedly asked:
    MJF: Who the hell is Juvi?
    Jericho:Google it.
    • And apparently he did, because Juvi would be one of MJF's Five Labors for Jericho.
  • Power Fist: The Dynamite Diamond Ring.
  • Power Stable:
    • In MLW, he formed the "Dynasty" with Alexander Hammerstone, Richard Holliday, and Aria Blake.
    • In AEW, became part of the Inner Circle in late 2020. Was removed from that group in March 2021 after an attempt to usurp Chris Jericho... but he'd already formed his own new stable, The Pinnacle.
  • Preppy Name:
    • "Maxwell Jacob Friedman" has to be in the running for most convoluted name in pro wrestlingnote , but for a guy as snobby as MJF, it fits like a glove.note 
    • During the time he auditioned the gimmick on WWE Tough Enough, he used the surname "Feinstein" instead of Friedman, sounding even more convoluted.note 
  • Psychopathic Manchild: For all that he's a snobby, cowardly and whiny brat, MJF has got a hidden psychotic streak a mile wide, as Punk learned the Dynamite before their Dog Collar match at Revolution.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Is never without his fancy scarf. His merch for AEW is also a scarf that says "I can afford a real scarf".
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: The theme of the Dynasty vs Hart Foundation feud in MLW. Teddy Hart took the Middleweight title formerly belonging to Upper-Class Twit MJF, MJF brought his friend Richard Holliday back to assault Hart, one tag team match later and Alex Hammerstone would make the feud 3v3.
  • Shout-Out:
    • At Double or Nothing 2019's Casino Battle Royale, he kicked Dustin Thomas'snote  ass before saying "Sorry about that, Lt. Dan".
    • In some of his promos on Dynamite, he channels Jim Cornette, one of AEW's most vocal and controversial detractors, almost quoting some of his criticisms of Jon Moxley and The Elite verbatim. It's a pretty good way to get heat given AEW's smarkalicious and protective audience.
    • MJF framed his challenge to Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship in the style of a presidential campaign, and he would subtly (or maybe not so) imitate some mannerisms of none other than Donald Trump (who incidentally had some experience in pro wrestling), which including MJF quoting Trump's infamous "small loan of a million dollars" line, and even referring to Moxley as "Dictator Jon", similar to Trump's "[derogatory description] [first name]" template to call out his political adversaries.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: To the Nightmare Family and Inner Circle. That's right, he betrayed the top face group and the top heel group.
  • Starstruck Speechless: When CM Punk confronted him for the first time in a wrestling ring, MJF was clearly this as much as he tried to hide it. When he finally gathered up the courage to introduce himself to Punk, an unimpressed Punk simply chuckled and left without saying a word, leaving MJF speechless again for an entirely different reason.
  • Start My Own: Formed his own stable in March 2021 and unveiled it immediately after being fired from the Inner Circle. His new faction, since unveiled as The Pinnacle, includes Shawn Spears and FTR, and also included Wardlow and Tully Blanchard until March 2022.
  • Start of Darkness: MJF was a bullied Jewish kid with several learning disabilities and no friends whatsoever. Professional wrestling, particularly his favorite wrestler CM Punk, is what helped him get through the day. Fast forward a few years to high school graduation, when he's just about ready to start on his journey to become a wrestler like Punk, and his hero abandons wrestling and wouldn't be seen in another wrestling ring for seven years. MJF was heartbroken, and briefly gave up his dreams to go to college, until he saw an old photo of Punk and decided to become a wrestler again — this time to be the idol for the bullied kids of today, and promised to never abandon them like Punk did to him.
  • Tempting Fate: MJF drew #1 for the 2019 Battle Riot. Prior to the match starting, he cut a promo about how he was better than everyone and called himself "The Ultimate Fighter". Then the second entrant was introduced: Former Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Dan "The Beast" Severn! Cue MJF looking ready to crap his tights.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Among the rest of Cody's circle of friends and allies in AEW; he's unambiguously a Heel, being a complete and utter jerkass, but he sided with Cody in his feud with the Inner Circle, even when presented with what seem like golden opportunities to betray him. The general consensus was that he just saw more benefit in remaining aligned with Cody for the time being, and his eventual betrayal was simply a matter of time. During Cody's "if I lose then I never get another shot" title match at Full Gear, MJF threw in the towel— ostensibly to save Cody from a submission hold, but then low blowed him afterward. Needless to say, MJF's later claims that he turned on Cody because Cody only looked after himself rang hollow. MJF later joined the Inner Circle.
  • Troll: Exemplified at All Out 2021 — his match against Chris Jericho had the stipulation that if the latter loses, he'll never wrestle again. Before the match begins, a countdown timer appeared on the screens (a Call-Back to Jericho's WWE debut and subsequent entrance theme during the Attitude Era). Fans expected it to be Jericho's entrance, but after the initial fireworks following a brief blackout, the words "Jericho's Last Match" was shown. MJF was mocking not only Chris, but the crowd for believing otherwise.
  • Upper-Class Twit: He's very rich, and very much an idiot. Granted, most of the time it's just him being a jerkass, but sometimes he legitimately gets himself in situations way above his head.
  • Visionary Villain: MJF isn't just a spiteful jerkass who likes to hurt people For the Evulz (although he is that too), he has a vision of AEW becoming a massively successful and world famous wrestling promotion which endures for decades... with himself on top as the #1 star.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Brodie Lee tribute show revealed that he doesn't even consider an 8-year old child who recently lost his father as off-limits for his mockery. Brodie Lee Jr. got his revenge by whacking him with a kendo stick.
  • Yandere: He comes off as a platonic version of this for Punk, especially after he revealed his Start of Darkness. At one point during their Dog Collar match, he demanded that Punk quit the match just like he had quit on him.

Alternative Title(s): Maxwell Jacob Friedman