MJF broke down in tears after a sombre walk to the ring. The Long-Island Native choked through tears as he discussed his tough childhood, struggling to make friends and concentrate in school due to suffering from learning difficulties.
He asked the crowd nicely, for once, to let him speak his mind and they slowly came round as he continued to pour his heart out. He told the fans that he suffered bullying as a child, and was target by bullies due to his Jewish heritage.
MJF promo spoke about how he struggled to make friends, but upon joining the football team finally felt like he fit in. However, he was then pelted with quarters, being told to “pick them up, Jew Boy”. The anti-Semitic abuse continued throughout childhood, with him finding reprieve only through his love of pro-wrestling.
He soon took the promo back to CM Punk. He blamed CM Punk for walking out in 2014 after the Royal Rumble and abandoning him. As tears flowed down his cheeks, he spoke about meeting CM Punk being the best day of his life, and how he inspired him to follow his dream to become a professional wrestler.
However, the day Punk walked out, he walked out on MJF. The MJF promo went on to say that on that day, MJF decided to go to University on a football scholarship and abandon his dream of becoming a wrestler. If CM Punk, the best in the world, couldn’t make it in pro-wrestling, how could the “five foot nothing Jew-boy”?.
CM Punk killed MJF’s dreams. But he grew, he became his own man and decided to follow his dreams. He vowed never to give up like his hero CM Punk did and that he would never walk out on those bullied kids who look up to MJF like CM Punk did.
Because, CM Punk, MJF is better than you and you know it.
Let me go back to when I was 11 years old. I had severe ADHD. Every day for me in school was hell. I tried out for the football team. The next day I see jocks walking up to me in the hall and they look angry. And in their hands they’re holding rolls of quarters. And they all decided to throw quarters at me as hard as they could. I went home and I cried and I cried and I cried. But I realized today is Friday and I get to meet my hero CM Punk at an autograph signing.MJF on his childhood
The MJF promo on AEW Dynamite was one of the greatest promos of all time. Very rarely do you see a heel, especially one as despicable as MJF, so vulnerable and so emotional.
With Wardlow left in the back, MJF spoke from the heart and much more candidly than most wrestlers. He tugged on the heart strings of the audience, who started the segment by booing him and ended with them cheering for him and crying along with him.
MJF comes across as a brash and frankly horrible person on the screen, but this shone a light on the person behind it. Whether or not any of those things were real or not doesn’t matter – MJF delivered it so perfectly that it makes the MJF character even more three dimensional and complicated.
His childhood suffering bullying, ADD struggles and anti-Semitism explain why the character of MJF is the way he is. His bullying of other wrestlers, fans and even his friends comes directly from his childhood. The only people who he wanted to be his friends bullied him, so he perpetuates that cycle because he does not know what it means to be a friend.
His only friends in AEW are his Pinnacle teammates, Shawn Spears, FTR and Wardlow. And he pays them to be his friend. As he made it clear to Andrade when he needed the services of FTR, his friendship is transactional. He learnt from childhood that friendship is nothing to him, and that money rules everything. The quarter-throwing incident highlights that.
The MJF promo was not a face turn. It was a villain origin story. MJF is not a good guy for wanting to destroy CM Punk. And CM Punk is not a good guy or bad guy for walking out. People are nuanced and so is this storyline. CM Punk had his reasons for leaving WWE, as laid out in the CM Punk Colt Cabana podcast.
MJF isn’t a hero. He isn’t just fighting CM Punk because he wants to beat him a wrestling match. MJF feels abandoned by his hero. From his point of view, he was a lonely kid and the only person he ever looked up to walked out on him and killed his dream.
Should MJF beat CM Punk at AEW Revolution 2022? Maybe. He would certainly be justified. And by CM Punk’s reaction at the end of the MJF promo, I don’t think he’ll have enough to put MJF away when he needs to in the match.
Because he’s better than you, and you know it.
Could we be seeing a MJF WWE debut in 2024?