Maxwell Jacob Friedman could become the youngest world champion since Lou Thesz.
The 21-year-old wunderkind will compete in Major League Wrestling’s eight-man tournament to crown the next MLW World Heavyweight Champion. The opening round of the tournament starts this Thursday at MLW: Road to the World Championship in Orlando, where matches include “Filthy” Tom Lawlor vs. MVP, Matt Riddle vs. Jeff Cobb, Brody King vs. Shane Strickland and MJF vs. Jimmy Havoc.
Also announced for the show, Impact Global Champion Austin Aries meets ACH, Sami Callihan faces Darby Allin in a grudge match, Chelsea Green squares off with Priscilla Kelly and Simon Gotch teams with Seth Petruzelli against Jimmy Yuta and Jason Cade.
For tickets and more information, visit mlw.com.
As with all MLW events, Road to the World Championship will be available to watch online 72 hours after the event at MLW.tv.
MJF spoke with The Wrestling Estate ahead of MLW Road to the World Championship.
You’ve pretty much competed in every top promotion on the indie scene. Are you surprised you’ve been able to do that in just two years in the business?
MJF: “Well, no. Of course, I’m not surprised. Look at me. I look like a top talent because I am a top talent. I talk like a top talent because I am a top talent. And I wrestle like a top talent because I am one. Look, there are a lot of great guys in this tournament. There’s Matt Riddle, Jeff Cobb, Jimmy Havoc. But at the end of the day, they’re all old and decrepit. They’ve gone through a lot of things – their bodies are messed up. I’m fine, man. I’m fresh, I’m ready to go. I’m ready to be the MLW World Heavyweight Champion, and I’m ready to do it right now.
Honestly, if there’s anyone on this roster that is more capable of being able to promote these shows, go on television, go on radio, have these interviews such as I’m having now with you, good sir, it’s me. I am not a caveman. I’m somebody that can conduct himself like a top guy, because once again, I’ve said it 17,000 thousand times, I am a top guy.”
I can attest to that. When I reached out to MLW looking to schedule an interview, you were the first guy they named. How did you end up working with them for their relaunch?
MJF: “I was the first person they messaged. Look, when you want to start a company, you look no further than the future. I am the future. Hell, I am the present and way down the line from now, I’ll be the past. Everyone will look back and say MJF was 100% the greatest wrestler in the history of all time. That’s not me exaggerating or being sarcastic. That’s just me telling the truth. Have you, good sir, seen somebody in wrestling grasp it faster than me?”
MJF: “And you’re not going to. There have been plenty of guys who have made it to the level I have, but not with my talent. Maybe some of them are good at interviews, maybe some are good at technical wrestling. But at the end of the day, they don’t have all the intangibles you need to be an all-star. I am the best in the ring, I am the best in the back and I am the best on the microphone. Nobody can touch me.
That’s why Court Bauer didn’t just email or call me. Hell, he came to my doorstep. He got on his jet plane and knocked on my door and practically begged me in the sanctity of my own home. He said ‘MJF, please, we need you in MLW. We need you to put this company on your back and bring us to the future.’ I looked Court Bauer in the face and said ‘Sir, how much are we talking?’
That was the end of the conversation. He gave me the price I was looking for after a little back and forth conversation, and now, I’m Court Bauer’s man. I’m the person who will put this company on my back and fly it out of this universe, across the sun, across the stars. I’m going to make this company the best company in professional wrestling.
But the first thing I have to do is win this tournament. And that is something I’m absolutely looking forward to doing.”
Your record in MLW is pretty good: 2-1. You could possibly face the man who handed you your only loss – Brody King – but first you have to get through Jimmy Havoc.
MJF: “First of all, just so you know, Brody King beating me was a fluke. I know it, you know it and so does everybody in MLW. As far as Jimmy Havoc goes, I get it. He’s like this weird goth guy, and I’m sure to somebody, that’s interesting, intriguing and cool. But not to me. I think Jimmy Havoc, while he is a talented wrestler, compared to me, he’s just not up to par. People are going to find that out real fast at this next MLW show when I hold him down to the mat, make him scream like a little girl, leave him on his back and pin him for a three count.
Look, I love Jimmy and all, but here’s the thing. The way this guy wins matches constantly is he needs something extra. He needs to use a table or chairs or stairs or barbed wire. Look, this match is disqualification. If you try to grab any of those things, I can assure you not only will you lose the match, but you’ll be getting sued by every single one of my lawyers. They will round up and you will be losing a good chunk of change, my friend.
So yeah, if you want to ask me if this is a clash of styles, this is a clash for Jimmy Havoc because he’s not going to be able to resort to those cheap tactics.”
You mentioned your lawyers and I wanted to get an update on the legal action you’ve taken against Alicia Atout from AMBY, who actually slapped you during your interview with her.
MJF: “Right now a lawsuit is pending on Alicia Atout. I’ve given her the option to publicly apologize to me online. I can assure you she will because once she realizes the number that she will owe me, she’ll have no choice. Look, this woman put her hands on me. That’s not okay in any line of work. That’s not okay anywhere. You can’t touch me. No one is allowed to touch me unless I’m in the ring when I’m combating. When I signed the contract for my AMBY (MJF pronounced it AM-buy) interview, I was not told that I’d be physically harmed. How would you feel if while you were interviewing me right now, I just punched you right in the face?
I wouldn’t be a fan.
MJF: “No! Granted, you wouldn’t have a choice because you’d be knocked out and on life support for several months, but I wouldn’t want to do that to you.”
You know, this is just the latest incident you’ve had with women. Your relationship with Maria Manic turned sour, and you were recently involved in this love triangle with Penelope Ford and Joey Janela. Can you not keep a long-term relationship?
MJF: “Look, if there’s anything you’ll find out about me, I like to have fun. After my matches, I like to go out, get in my custom jet, fly to places like Vegas, Miami, hell, sometimes even Hawaii, and I like to get down with some of these ladies. I’m not sure if MJF is a one-woman man in 2018. Who knows, you never know who will come into my life.
As far as the women you mentioned, it’s called being used as a tactical weapon. Maria I used to get my first ever CZW World Wired Championship. The way I used her was, well, it’s pretty hard to concentrate on wrestling me when you have a beautiful woman like that standing outside the ring, isn’t it? People are like chess pawns. Now pawns aren’t exactly the strongest piece on your board, but if you utilize them properly, they can be. They might not be able to maneuver like a queen or a bishop or even a king, but if you use a pawn properly in a matter of strategic effect, you will find yourself winning every single game of chess. That’s how I roll.
You look at a girl like Penelope Ford. You think I really cared about Penelope? No I didn’t. But you know who did care about Penelope? Joey Janela. I beat Joey Janela at Cage of Death because he couldn’t keep his head in the game. All he kept thinking about was how I had my tongue deep down Penelope’s throat. That is why I am now your two-time CZW World Wired Champion.”
Talking about having fun, the MLW shows emanate from the Gilt Nightclub in Orlando. How’s that environment down there?
MJF: “Oh bud, let me tell you something. I can assure you right now that the girls aren’t coming to see the other wrestlers. They’re coming to see MJF, the two-year vet. That’s all they care about. After these shows are done, I can assure you that I have quite my fair share of fun.”
You say you’re the future and the present, but you also appreciate old-school wrestling. What’s it like having Tony Schiavone call your matches?
MJF: “Look, Tony Schiavone, great guy. Love him, he’s great. Not a fan of him in the sense that he’s not fully aware that he’s commentating over the person who will go down in the annals of history as the greatest wrestler of all time. I feel like for some reason Tony has an issue with me. Possibly Tony doesn’t realize just how damn good I am. To answer your question, I respect Tony Schiavone, but I don’t like him. He’s a twerp, a pencil-neck geek.”
Well, I wish you the best of luck…
MJF: “Don’t even get me started on that loser Rich Bocchini. Rich Brennan, Rich Bocchini, I don’t care what you call him. If there was ever someone in professional wrestling that belonged staying behind the barricade, it’s Richard.”
On that cheerful note, thanks for taking the time to chat. We here at The Wrestling Estate will be rooting for you.
MJF: “Oh absolutely. My fans can follow me at @The_MJF and also that I’m better than you, and you know it. And sir, I hope you can get to find that lucky lady so you can finally lose your virginity.”