3.9k Share this
Homegrown AEW star MJF has hinted time and time again that he could leave the company for WWE in 2024, and as it turns out, he may not just be playing up his heel character.
According to a report from Fightful Select (h/t WrestlingNews.co), the 26-year-old phenom is dissatisfied with his current AEW deal and is “leaning toward” leaving the company when his contract expires: “MJF is said to be leaning towards leaving AEW as of now when his deal is up.”
While a possible AEW extension is still on the table, MJF is said to be legitimately pondering a blockbuster move to WWE. Likewise, there is reportedly “a lot of interest” from WWE and its TV partners in bringing MJF to WWE, which coincides with MJF himself telling Ariel Helwani earlier this year that—when it comes to his next move in pro wrestling—he was “leaning” a certain way that would surprise people.
Beef between AEW President Tony Khan and MJF, one of the biggest stars in the company, reportedly began earlier this year when the two got into a “heated exchange,” at least partially because MJF was left “frustrated” by his current contract. It’s no secret that AEW recently shelled out big money deals to former top WWE stars like CM Punk and Bryan Danielson, but it could be argued that—despite those stars having more complete resumes than MJF—the Long Island native is more important to AEW’s long-term future and should get, well, basically whatever contract he wants.
MJF is well over a decade younger than both Punk and Danielson, and he has yet to even enter the prime of his career. The general consensus, too, among pro wrestling fans and those within the business is that MJF is essentially a prodigy. He is, after all, a star who has developed into an unbelievably well-rounded performer at an age when most pro wrestlers, including some of the best performers in the world, haven’t even inked a contract with a nationally televised promotion yet.
Because he developed into such a strong wrestler and elite talker by his mid-20s, MJF knows his worth. As a result, he hasn’t at all tried to hide the fact that he would jump to WWE if Vince McMahon ponied up more money than Khan. Money was reportedly a major factor in Cody Rhodes’ shocking AEW departure—and return to WWE—earlier this year, but “The American Nightmare” has been presented as an absolute star in WWE and is arguably the hottest act in the entire company at the moment.
That can, and should, give MJF hope about a potential AEW exit.
MJF, of course, is a full 10 years younger than Rhodes and arguably just as good of a performer—if not better than—Rhodes. That’s precisely why MJF finds himself in a great position, even at a time when there is no single untouchable draw in pro wrestling. MJF knows that he is a cornerstone of AEW, and even though AEW’s roster is incredibly deep, he is clearly the top main event-level talent AEW has cultivated from scratch.
There isn’t a single performer in AEW or WWE who is bigger than pro wrestling right now. Not even Roman Reigns or Brock Lesnar. So, in a sense, MJF is expendable just as every other AEW or WWE star is, but anyone who consistently watches AEW knows that it would be a monumental mistake for AEW to lose MJF just as he’s ready to enter his prime and be the type of performer who aspiring wrestlers want to emulate.
Once AEW signs its next TV deal—assuming that deal is significant bigger than its current one—more AEW stars could be cashing in with lucrative contracts that prevent them from going to WWE. But MJF may very well be the most expensive star to keep out of anyone currently on the AEW roster, and despite AEW’s early success as a company, it still cannot keep up with WWE when it comes to its talent budget.
That’s what will make MJF’s potential AEW exit such an intriguing story for much of the next two years. Since AEW’s inception, the WWE-to-AEW pipeline has been very much one-sided, but first Rhodes and then MJF flipping the script?
Those moves could go down as earth-shattering moves that alter the pro wrestling business. Forever.