If it weren’t for his baby face boyish appearance, you would think that MJF is a 20-year veteran of the squared circle.
The 23-year-old, who turned heel on Cody Rhodes Saturday night at AEW’s Full Gear pay-per-view, stood toe-to-toe in the ring opposite one of the best wrestlers of his era, Chris Jericho, and not only hung with Jericho on the microphone, he may have outdone him.
It all went down on last night’s episode of AEW Dynamite on TNT. Jericho was in the ring to gloat about his championship win, which will preclude Cody from challenging for the AEW World Title again (at least for now, you know how wrestling works). Jericho was interrupted by MJF, who came to the ring using Cody’s ring entrance effects and music.
Mind you, Jericho has been in the business longer than MJF has been alive. Jericho was 25 years old, and amid his run with WCW, when MJF came into this world in 1996.
But as soon as MJF stepped between the ropes, the spotlight instantly turned from the “Le Champion” to MJF. He commanded the arena. The crowd, which was split on Jericho (as much as he tried to get booed), was 100 percent against MJF.
After toying with some tension, Jericho and MJF hugged and then Cody tried to hit the ring to fight them, but he was cut off by the debuting Wardlow, who it appears will be MJF’s new bodyguard of sorts.
The segment was a perfect example of what pro wrestling promos can be when they aren’t scripted and contrived like they are in WWE. It’s yet another illustration of WWE’s product being too sleek and clean, and AEW adding the perfect amount of grittiness to its presentation.
MJF and Jericho were given the freedom of reacting to the crowd in front of them. They weren’t tasked with hitting lines on a script, but rather delivering a message in a way they saw fit.
And AEW accomplished a lot in those 12 minutes of TV time. MJF’s stock rose exponentially. Some of Jericho’s star power rubbed off on the young man and Wardlow had an impressive debut, showcasing his size and strength. Cody, meanwhile, was a sympathetic figure, trying to fight back against the forces that cost him the AEW World Title on Saturday night.
As the old-timers would say, it was a great piece of business. Everyone was moved forward and everything had a purpose.
Much different than what we usually see on RAW, isn’t it?