“I’m better than you and you know it.” If you click on the Twitter account of Maxwell Jacob Friedman, it won’t take long to see that he thinks highly of himself. This 23-year-old New Yorker has made waves in short order, from his days of training in Hicksville to his work in well-known promotions such as Combat Zone Wrestling and Major League Wrestling. Wherever you know MJF from, it’s plain to see that his star is on the rise.
Fans and critics aren’t the only ones that feel this way, either, as All Elite Wrestling signed MJF earlier this year. In this week’s AEW talent preview, we will dive deep into the career of the man who is simply “Better Than You.”
Maxwell Jacob Friedman started training in 2015 at the Hicksville, New York-based Create a Pro Wrestling Academy. He had his first match with CAP in February, when he teamed up with Joe Bronson to defeat the team of Vinny Spano and Luciano. He would go on to compete with other talent, including trainers Pat Buck and Brian Myers, the latter of whom WWE fans may know better as Curt Hawkins. In August, Friedman debuted for Combat Zone Wrestling under the alias of Pete Lightning. In his debut match, he teamed with Bronson, under the alias of Hous Blazer, in a losing effort against Josh Adams and Eddy Blackwater. Lightning and Blazer would go on to form the tag team of Business Casual, taking on teams such as Dub Boys, comprised of Nate Carter and Dave McCall, and Rory and Drew Gulak. In October, Friedman competed in the CAP Title Tournament, defeating VSK in the first round. The following month, he would lose to Tony Nese in the second round.
Friedman started 2016 strong; as Lightning, he teamed with Blazer and George Gatton to defeat Max Caster, David John Willard, and Blackwater at CZW Dojo Wars #59 in January. From there, he would continue to wrestle for not only CZW and CAP but other independent promotions. In April, he appeared at Suffolk Wrestling Alliance, in Deer Park, New York, to successfully challenge Anthony Gangone. In August, at Tier 1/WOW Empire State of Mind, he challenged CAP Champion Max Caster but was unsuccessful. The following September, he entered the CAP Tag Team Championship tournament alongside Bronson. Though they won their first round match against Grim and Duhop, Friedman and Bronson lost in the finals later in the show. Friedman would challenge for other singles championships, including the NYWC Fusion Championship and CZW Medal of Valor Championship before 2016 closed out.
In March of 2017, Friedman appeared MCW Pro Wrestling, based out of Joppa, Maryland. At Mat Madness, he competed in the MCW Rage Television Championship tournament, defeating Greg Excellent in the first round before falling short against Brandon Scott in the semifinal. That same month, at CZW Proving Grounds, he defeated Rickey Shane Page. In May, he won singles gold by defeating Johnny Yuma for the CZW Wired Championship at Sacrifices. He would go on to win other singles championships in July, specifically the Rockstar Pro Wrestling American Luchadore Championship and MCW Rage Television Championship. Friedman would leave CAP in September following a loss at Feeding Times.
Friedman debuted for Major League Wrestling the month after. Following a victory over Jimmy Yuta at One Shot, Friedman would defeat Joey Ryan two months later at Never Say Never. These victories would only be the beginning of his success in MLW. In November, alongside Valerio Lamorte, Friedman won the WrestlePro Tag Team Championship from Sandy Mann and Craig Steele, collectively known as The Taboo Crew. Friedman and Lamorte would drop the championship to Ortiz and Santana, representing Latin American Exchange, the month after. Nonetheless, Friedman would close out the year on a high note by winning the CZW Wired Championship, in December, for the second time.
In February of 2018, alongside Ace Romero, Friedman won the Rockstar Pro Trios Title. Friedman’s winning streak would carry over to CZW; at April’s Best of the Best 17 event, he defeated Rickey Shane Page for the CZW World Heavyweight Championship. In MLW, in July, he defeated Joey Ryan to become the first-ever MLW Middleweight Champion. Unfortunately, in November, Friedman announced that he had to relinquish the MLW Middleweight Championship due to an elbow fracture. Though 2018 ended on a sour note for Friedman, his title victories proved that he was capable of backing up his words with strong in-ring performances.
2019 started hot in the wrestling world, as All Elite Wrestling was unveiled. Along with preliminary news about the promotion in question, there were several members of the AEW roster announced as well. One of the talents in question was Maxwell Jacob Friedman, who made an appearance at the promotion’s rally in Jacksonville, Florida. After he interrupted Conrad Thompson, disparaging him for his weight, Friedman addressed the crowd in attendance. He declared himself the fastest rising star in professional wrestling, soaking in the jeers from the crowd until he was interrupted by a Jaguars mascot. Friedman was soon attacked from behind by Joey Janela, who followed up by launching t-shirts into the crowd, turning the reception around in quick fashion. The month after, at AEW’s Double or Nothing ticket announcement party in Las Vegas, Nevada, Friedman targeted Thompson for his weight once more and referred to the fans as “losers.” Needless to say, he wasn’t interested in endearing himself to AEW’s audience.
AEW-related endeavors aside, Friedman remained busy in independent wrestling throughout 2019. In February, on an episode of MLW Fusion, Friedman challenged MLW Middleweight Champion Teddy Hart, who won the title after Friedman vacated it the year prior. Friedman would fall short in this encounter. Shortly thereafter, Hart was jumped by Richard Holliday. Friedman joined in on the attack, leaving Hart in a heap. They would become known as The Dynasty before eventually being joined by Alexander Hammerstone. The trio engaged in a feud with The Hart Foundation, comprised of Hart, Davey Boy Smith Jr., and Brian Pillman Jr. The Dynasty’s most recent match against The Hart Foundation occurred at Rise of the Renegades, in April, when the former team defeated the latter unit in a six-man tag team tables match.
In AEW, however, Maxwell Jacob Friedman stands alone. One can argue that this is where he is most at home, though. When someone’s moniker is that they are better than everyone else, it’s safe to say that they won’t play nice with others for long. Friedman is set to make his AEW debut at Double or Nothing, on May 25, in the 21-man Casino Battle Royale; the winner will receive a future match for the AEW World Championship. Though his career is young, Friedman has amassed numerous singles championships. If he can outlast 20 other competitors, in Las Vegas, he will be one step closer to winning arguably his most important championship yet.
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