AEW star MJF and his parents recently spoke with Newsday to discuss his character, his journey to AEW, and more.
It was noted how MJF’s willingness to play the heel role extends outside of the ring, which has brought some peril as he’s been flipped off while he’s with his parents, and he once had his truck keyed during a show. MJF recalled how he once left an indie show and found a fan had keyed the truck, and was waiting by it with a knife.
“I drop my bag, I look at him, I put my key between my ring finger and my middle finger and I ask him if we’re going to do this,” MJF claimed. “And like a complete … loser, he dropped his head down and just ran away.”
MJF said he is bringing real professional wrestling back.
“I look at it like this: I’m being myself, everybody else in my industry is faking it,” he said. “There’s nothing fake about me. And I think there are some people that appreciate that. Even if they hate me, they appreciate the fact that I’m 100 percent authentically me.”
MJF recalled how he got into pro wrestling as a 5 year old while seeing it on TV at his uncle’s house.
“I had never seen it before,” MJF said. “And I don’t remember who it was, but I looked at my dad. I was like, ‘I need more of this. I need more of this immediately.’”
MJF’s father then took him to a local video store and he ended up watching The Undertaker vs. WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley in the infamous 1998 Hell In a Cell match. He knew then that he had found his life’s calling.
“I was immediately hooked,” MJF recalled. “And then I just started digging deeper, you go on YouTube, you search the catalogs. I found this guy whose feet were up on the desk, he was chomping on gum real loud, you could tell he was talking to someone that was his boss but he didn’t seem to care.”
MJF revealed that “this guy” was WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper.
“Once I saw Roddy Piper I knew exactly what I was going to be doing when I grew up,” he said, adding that the Burberry plaid is part homage to Piper’s pit, and also because he thinks it looks “ridiculously good” on him.
AEW announcer Jim Ross was also interviewed for the piece, and predicted big things to come for MJF.
“All the greats that I’ve been around in my career, which started in 1974, were intentionally extensions of their own basic personality,” Ross said. “What I think is that he’s a cocky kid, very self-confident, very self-assured, and he has the skill and talent to back it up. So, he has that defiance that I think is more natural than I think it is contrived by a mile.”
Ross said MJF has “it” and continued, “I have confidence he’s going to be huge. He’s going to be as huge as he wants to be.”