Friday, August 14, 2020

MJF Talks Upcoming Fight Against ‘Braindead’ Joey Janela, Shane Strickland Ducking Him

On Thursday, we had a chance to speak with Major League Wrestling competitor Maxwell Jacob Friedman. The 22-year-old wrestling prodigy from Plainview, Long Island is perhaps best known known for his oversized ego and lavish North Shore upbringing.

Friedman sounded off on a wide range of topics, including what it’s like being a pro wrestler in this social media era, his upcoming fight against Joey Janela at MLW’s next Fusion tapings (6/7) and much more.

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We did our best to transcribe the interview accurately – our audio recording of the conversation was hard to make out at times, as MJF was in a helicopter en route to the Hamptons for Memorial Day weekend when we spoke.

SEScoops: You’ve been a part of Major League Wrestling since the promotion’s re-boot last fall at One-Shot. How did you first get involved with MLW?

MJF: “[MLW CEO] Court [Bauer] basically begged me to join. I felt pretty bad for the guy. He said, ‘Look, we need star power. We need top guys, somebody that can carry the company to the next level and get us on national TV.’ Let’s face facts, without me, they wouldn’t have gotten that TV deal. So I said, ‘Look Court, if the money’s right, I’ll think about it.’ We took it from there and ever since, we’ve been off to the races.”

What is it like coming up in today’s era of social media, where fans can interact with you 24/7? It seems there would be pro’s and cons to this dynamic. On one hand, you can promote yourself nonstop. But there might also be the risk of being ‘too accessible,’ which takes away from the mystique of you as a performer. 

MJF: “Here’s the thing. I don’t let those nerds and losers into my life completely. What I do is, I tell it like it is.  I tell them facts and the fact of the matter is, I’m the fastest rising star in professional wrestling. That’s the positive about social media. People get to see what MJF is doing and where MJF is going to be. At the same time, the negative is, these fans have an opinion that they think is valid. It’s not. They’re not important. They’re poor, they’re stupid and quite frankly, almost never know what they’re talking about.”

Ok. With the recent launch of MLW FUSION, the show has featured a hybrid of various wrestling styles – amateur, brawling, lucha libre, MMA, etc. How would you describe your in-ring style?

MJF: “My style is that I’m better than anyone I’m in there with. I don’t need to do flippy flops, I don’t do cool technical wrestling. At the end of the day, I do what I have to do to win. And that’s just that. That’s what’s wrong with pro wrestling today. People are concerned what the fans think. They want to look cool, they want to act tough. I don’t care about that. You know what I care about? The bottom dollar. I care about filling up my bank account. So you know my style is? My style is making money and winning.”

On June 7th, you’ll be across the ring from Joey Janela at the next MLW FUSION taping from Orlando. You’ve competed against Janela before and have seen what he’s done thus far in MLW. What’s your strategy going into this match?

MJF: “Joey Janela is brain dead. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but he’s  been in some incredibly brutal matches, one of them with me, where I defeated him at Cage of Death in CZW, so I know what it’s like to get in the ring with that lunatic, and I’m quite proficient at it. The picture with Joey is that fans seen to take likening to him because he’s willing to put his body on the line. But that’s what’s wrong with Joey Janela. Joey doesn’t understand that you don’t have to do that, he doesn’t have to play to these people, if he wasn’t so dumb, I bet he could be a very talented, well-rounded wrestler. He puts his body on the line trying to impress people. Time after time again, he gets hurt.

Here’s what’s going to happen, I’ll tell you exactly what’s going to happen in our match. Joey Janela is going to have me on the ground. He’ll probably be close to having me beaten. But what he’s going to do wrong is he’s going to try to do something stupid. He’ll try to do a big stunt like he’s Evel Knievel, I’m going to move out of the way, he’s going to break every bone in his body and I’m going to pin him. The guy has so much potential, but he doesn’t think things through. Honestly, he reminds me a lot of the wrestling fans of today. They don’t think things through and they act on instinct and emotion. It’s really sad, honestly.”

MLW recently crowned a World Heavyweight Champion in Shane Strickland. Are you focused on making a run at MLW’s top prize in the near future?

MJF: “Here’s the thing. I think Court is protecting his little pet project there in [MLW World Heavyweight Champion] Shane Strickland. I think the MLW office is protecting Shane Strickland. I think everyone who is reading this interview right now is very well aware that if I wanted to, I could tap Shane Strickland out like a little school girl, ok? Right now, that’s not what I’m interested in. I’m interested in focusing on myself, making my money and proving week in and week out, show after show, month after month, year after year, I’m the best in the ‘biz.

Maybe, just maybe, Shane will stop ducking me, maybe the office will allow me to wrestle Shane, maybe that will go down. When it does, there will be a new MLW World Heavyweight Champion. You know, there’s talk of there being other belts, other titles, other championship titles. Quite frankly, I’d rather pioneer the next class of championship, the next generation. Once I’m done doing that, if I feel like it, if Shane Is done being a scared little girl, I’d love to wrestle him for that title.

I can’t badmouth Shane Strickland. He’s quite possibly one of the best hybrid wrestlers in the world today. He’s very proficient in almost every style. But as I said, my style is winning – and business is good right now.”

As one of the top prospects to come out of New York in recent years, what’s it going to be like for you when MLW comes to New York City on July 19th for the big MLW FUSION TV taping at the Melrose Ballroom in Long Island City?

MJF: “It’s going to be a homecoming. The people are going to out in the streets. They’re going to be going nuts. There’s going to be parades for MJF. I think you and I both know that I’m the hometown hero. Everybody loves me. Everybody loves me everywhere!

I don’t know if it’s going to be crazy different, because let’s face facts: every town I go to, people are excited to see Maxwell. But it’s going to be a little bit of a different feel. Born and raised in Plainview, Long Island, I think people are going to emotionally connect with that. I’m excited to perform in front of people of my ilk, so to speak.”

Where do you see MLW one year from now?

MJF: “I see MLW growing rapidly already, so I can’t imagine where we’ll be in a year from now. I’m just excited for the future, but more importantly, I’m excited for myself. It’s not like MLW is the only spot I’m working. I’m all over the place. I’ve worked for every top-tier promotion in independent wrestling. If you can think of a top-tier company, I’ve wrestled there twice. Places like Progress, House of Hardcore, Limitless, Beyond Wrestling, CZW, the list goes on and on. If I keep going I’ll probably lose my voice.

If there’s a difference about MLW compared to all those companies, it’s that MLW 1) Has phenomenal TV, 2) Has one of the best rosters in all of professional wrestling. I think you’re going to be seeing a lot of growth out of Major League Wrestling over the next year.”

Parting words for the readers of SEScoops.com:

MJF: “You’re all dumb, stupid and poor, but at the end of the day, if you need somebody to look up to, if you need someone to distract you from being a complete loser, just follow me on Twitter and Instagram @The_MJF. My name is Maxwell Jacob Friedman. I am better than you and you know it.”

Catch MJF each week on MLW FUSION, which airs Friday nights on BeIN SPORTS. The weekly episodes are also uploaded to MLW’s official YouTube page Saturday nights at 6:05pm ET.

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