Every MJF AEW World Championship defense rated

Hamish Woodward

At Full Gear 2022, Maxwell Jacob Friedman won his first World Championship in AEW.

MJF was already one of the most popular stars in the company, but this win over Jon Moxley (with the help of William Regal) elevated him to the level of a top star in the company.

Since that fateful day, he has gone from strength to strength at potentially the greatest AEW Champion in the company’s history.

MJF has gone on to defend his title in some of the greatest matches in wrestling history.

Whether it be an Iron Man match, four-way title defense or even a battle between the best of friends, the variety in MJF’s AEW Championship defenses are matched only by the immense quality.

Here is every AEW World Championship defense by MJF so far, as he continues one of the greatest title reigns in history.

MJF vs Ricky Starks (AEW Winter is Coming 2022)

With both the AEW Championship and Dynamite Diamond Ring on the line, MJF had his first successful title defense against Ricky Starks at AEW Winter is Coming 2022.

Despite Starks not being a main event wrestler (yet), he brought his A-game in his feud with the champion, threatening to take the AEW World Championship away at the first time of asking.

It was an entertaining match that did what it needed it. It established MJF as a world champion, and showcased Ricky Starks as a big star for the future.

  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 4 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 7.54
  • Atletifo Rating – 3 Stars

MJF vs Bryan Danielson – 60-Minute Iron Man Match (AEW Revolution 2023)

The best match of MJF’s career was the 60-minute Iron Man match against Bryan Danielson at AEW Revolution 2023.

The bout was the main event of the show and lasted an incredible 67 minutes. Both men showed an incredible amount of stamina during the match, going hard until the final seconds and keeping the fans on the edge of their seat.

MJF won the match 4 falls to 3 in overtime, forcing Bryan Danielson to tap out to the LaBelle Lock after 67 minutes.

Danielson won the first fall by pin fall and the second via DQ, when MJF hit his opponent in the testicles. However, that allowed MJF to pin The American Dragon twice in quick succession, levelling the scores 2-2.

MJF won the third with a Heatseeker Piledriver, before Danielson levelled again when he made the champion tap out to the Regal Stretch. He seemed to have the win when MJF tapped out with seconds to go, but the clock ran out before his hand hit the mat.

After much cheating attempts, MJF hit Danielson in the head with an oxygen tank, before locking in the LaBelle lock and forcing him to tap out in overtime. MJF won the match and retained the AEW Championship in the longest match in AEW history, lasting 67 minutes.

  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 5.75 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 9.77
  • Atletifo Ratings – 5 Stars

MJF vs Jungle Boy vs Darby Allin vs Sammy Guevara (AEW Double or Nothing 2023)

After being bumped from the main event, the AEW Champion MJF and his fellow four pillars had a lot to prove at Double or Nothing 2023.

They left it all in the ring, working at a lightning pace, not stopping for breath in all-time great match.

Each man referenced their on-screen mentors, hitting the signature moves of their respective – Cody Rhodes, Sting, Chris Jericho and Christian Cage,

MJF won the match by pinning Darby Allin after a headlock takeover, echoing his win over the star at Full Gear 2021.

  • Cagematch Rating – 9.06
  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 4.75 Stars
  • Atletifo Match Rating – 4.5 Stars

MJF vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door 2023)

MJF insulted Hiroshi Tanahashi and NJPW in his entrance to the match, but his performance in the match was anything but.

The pair crafted a match filled with comedy, storytelling and fantastic action, built to work around the faulty knees of the Ace of the Universe.

MJF tried to cheat his way to victory on numerous occasions, only to be foiled by referee Bryce Remsburg and Tanahashi every time.

It was a fun match, but not the best match of either man’s career. A good opener that got the crowd on their feet, and made the most of a past-his-prime Tanahashi.

  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 3.25 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 6.44
  • Atletifo Ratings – 3 Stars

MJF vs Ethan Page (AEW Collision #3)

The forgotten title defense of MJF’s AEW World Championship reign took place on his debut match on Collision.

It wasn’t the best match of either men’s careers, but they put on an entertaining, if not predictable, match that will be easily forgotten in the future.

They kicked off Collision with this title defense. While there was no danger in MJF dropping the AEW title to Ethan Page, it was a good introduction for the Canadian in the main event of AEW.

  • Dave Metlzer’s Star Rating – N/A
  • Cagematch Rating – 6.59
  • Atletifo Rating – 2 Stars

MJF vs Adam Cole (AEW All In London)

The biggest story going into AEW All In 2023 at Wembley Stadium was the incredible tale of bromance between Adam Cole and AEW Champion MJF.

The pair began as enemies – wrestling to a time-limit draw on Dynamite – but soon grew to love each other as best friends.

This brought out a new side of both men, putting on some hilarious comedy skits that endeared the pair to the crowd.

However, that all went out the window for their championship match at All In. They wrestled a serious match, although toyed with the emotions of the crowd as they threatened to turn on each other throughout.

The pair originally drew the match with a double pin – however, MJF allowed the match, showing his growth as a person. He won the match with a roll-up, and the pair embraced as friends to end the show.

  • Dave Meltzer’s Star Rating – 4.5 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 8.73
  • Atletifo Rating – 5 Stars

MJF vs Samoa Joe (AEW Dynamite: Grand Slam 2023)

MJF continued his reign as the greatest babyface in world (well…) by beating Samoa Joe in the main event of AEW Grand Slam 2023.

With the help of Adam Cole, he led the crowd into a chorus of cheers as he forced Samoe Joe to tap out to a sleeper hold (albeit with the help of tape to choke him out).

MJF did his best to keep the crowd hot throughout the match, including getting a standing ovation after hitting his patented Kangaroo Kick, in one of the best matches of the night.

  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 4.5 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 8.06
  • Atletifo Rating – 4 Stars

MJF vs Kenny Omega (AEW Collision 28/10/23)

On Saturday, October 28, 2023, MJF defeated Kenny Omega to retain his AEW Championship.

This was MJF’s eighth title defense, and saw him facing off against Omega for the first time in the past five years of AEW.

Tony Khan kept the pair apart for the entirety of their careers so far, not even interacting at any point before the start of this feud.

Kenny Omega wanted to take the belt from MJF to stop him from breaking the record as the longest-reigning AEW Champion of all time – a record held by Omega.

The match came three days before MJF was due to break Omega’s record, and with this win he wrote his name into the history book as the longest-reigning AEW Champion of all time.

  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 4.75 Stars
  • Cagematch Rating – 9.37
  • Atletifo Rating – 4.5 Stars

MJF vs Daniel Garcia (AEW Dynamite 8/11/23)

MJF vs Daniel Garcia was not a bad match. It wasn’t a good match. But it was certainly a match, with the World title on the line for some reason.

Garcia has never had a great win/loss record, so giving him a title match on Dynamite seems rather silly, especially with MJF battling Jay White just weeks later.

What made even less sense that, even though he was champion, MJF was not in physical possession of the belt.

Jay White stole it a month prior, preparing his mind games for the match at Full Gear 2023. This definitely made the stakes seem lower, adding to the fact that Daniel Garcia is not a main event level star yet.

  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – Not Rated (Less than 3-Stars)
  • Cagematch Rating – 6.73
  • Atletifo Rating – 2 Stars

MJF vs Jay White (AEW Full Gear 2023)

For the second time in a row, MJF put on a disappointing match in his latest title defense.

While fans could not wait to see him clash with Jay White (after White kept his belt hostage for the past 6 weeks), they were rather disappointing when a leg injury (kayfabe) suffered on the pre-show had a huge effect on the quality of the match.

Many wanted to see the two men clash at the peak of their powers. Jay White has beaten the likes of Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kenny Omega in title matches in NJPW, so would have been MJF’s greatest challenge yet.

But he somehow lost to a one-legged MJF, despite interference from The Gunns, making him look rather toothless in his first big AEW match.

The match had some cool moves – a top rope ura nage and a Cutter that saw MJF jump over the top rope to get to White – but the booking of it was so ridiculous that it spoiled the occasion.

This was by far MJF’s worst title defense, and the worst PPV ending in AEW since the damp finish to the Exploding Barbed wire Death match at AEW Revolution 2020.

  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 4.5
  • Cagematch Rating – 4.32
  • Atletifo Rating – 1 Star

MJF vs Samoa Joe (AEW World’s End)

  • Dave Meltzer Star Rating – 3
  • Cagematch Rating – 7.15
  • Atletifo Rating – 3.5 Star

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