The Rise of Maxwell Jacob Friedman
By Scott R. Beams
M. J. F. are three of the most popular & most hated letters on the Independent Wrestling scene right now by fans. Those three letters stand for a person who has climbed the ranks of the pro wrestling business faster at an early age where it has taken someone years to get where he is now. Promoters from all over are knocking down his door to have him work for them because the fans want to see him not only for what he can bring to the squared circle but also for his brash outspoken personality. Before I tell you who it is – just remember one thing, he will always be the first to tell you “he’s better than you, and you know it”.
His name is Maxwell Jacob Friedman.
Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with MJF to talk about how he started his career, and where he has been during his time in pro wrestling. Two of his biggest matches are coming up, May 25th, he will be competing in the All Elite Wrestling Double or Nothing: Casino Battle Royale. The winner of that match will get an opportunity to challenge for the AEW World Championship verse whoever the champion may be. Then a week later in another big match on June 1st he will be competing in MLW: Fury Road verses Davey Boy Smith Jr. Both men are part of a current rivalry of the Dynasty (MJF, Alexander Hammerstone, & Richard Holliday) and the Hart Foundation (Davey Boy Smith Jr., Teddy Hart, & Brian Pillman Jr.). The match on June 1 is a first time one on one encounter. With these two big upcoming events, I wanted to see what his goals were going into these matches and if he had any goals coming out of them. Knowing the personality is of MJF, I was not sure how prepared I was going to be for this interview.
SRB: Welcome and thank you for taking the time to sit with me today. How do people refer to you when interviewing you? Do you prefer Maxwell, Max, or MJF?
Maxwell Jacob Friedman: First, you’re welcome, second of all say my full name or don’t say my name at all.
SRB: Ah, OK Maxwell Jacob Friedman. Can you tell us what made you want to be a professional wrestler and who were some of your early influences?
Maxwell Jacob Friedman: That’s easy man, the first time I saw it I was completely enamored by the fact I knew I could do it better than the person I was watching. Were there certain iconic people that made me fall in love with the sport? Absolutely, there were people like Roddy Piper, Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard you know the list goes on and on. The thing is I knew deep down when I saw professional wrestling was that no one was going to be able to it do it better than me. This was a sport that was clearly made for me as an athlete, as an entertainer, all away around I just remember seeing it and thinking to myself: “God, clearly this is supposed to be my career.”
SRB: Wow, those are some great influences. My next question is in two parts – how old were you when you started to train & who was your trainer(s)?
Maxwell Jacob Friedman: I was 19 when I started to train at Create-a-Pro Wrestling in Long Island NY. My trainers were Curt Hawkins who is currently one-half of the WWE Raw Tag Team Champions and my other trainer was Pat Buck someone who is making some serious rounds on the independents right now and has always been a staple in the Northeast Indy wrestling scene.
SRB: Do you remember where your first match took place and who your first opponent was?
Maxwell Jacob Friedman: Dumb question, do you think I am an idiot? Seriously, I want to know do you think I am an idiot. Take a step back right now. That is like asking what I ate for breakfast this morning. Of course I do, you know, it is because I am not some poor idiot that didn’t graduate pre-K and couldn’t do finger painting. Yes, I remember my first match – it was at Create-Pro in Long Island NY, the greatest school in the world. I was in a tag team match with my partner Bear Bronson, who is also currently tearing it up on the independent circuit and we went up against two jabronis who quit wrestling a week later because after they wrestled me they realized they would never be as good as me and they would never be able to hack it.
SRB: Without sounding too gruesome, can you tell us some of the injuries you have encountered during your short career?
Maxwell Jacob Friedman: I had an incredibly bad elbow injury that everybody knows, very real – very painful. The doctor said to me it was the “most severe elbow injury he had ever seen”. Unfortunately, because of that, I was not able to wrestle at Cage of Death against Ricky Shane Page, who by the way tremendous athlete; very ugly and fat; but a tremendous athlete. I give him all the shout outs and all the respect in the world, but yeah I had an almost career-ending elbow injury. The good thing was I was able to come back in record time because as the doctor said, “I am almost superhuman when it comes to my genetics.” Matter of fact, the doctor said upon examination of my elbow again that it was now “stronger” then what it was prior to the injury from my recovery.
SRB: What are some places pro wrestling has given you the opportunity to travel too? I saw recently that you traveled to Alaska to wrestle.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman: Alaska was fun, except for the fact that people ride polar bears to get around instead of driving in cars. Many people out there have about as many brain cells as they have teeth, I think I counted four in each mouth. I was just recently in Tijuana, Mexico and that was interesting. Did you know that in Tijuana, Mexico in order to get from place to place, that have to walk? I don’t think I saw one car in Tijuana Mexico. It’s very sad, very shameful. I feel awful for them, my heart goes out to all of those people; it’s sad really. Nevertheless, you know at the end they have to gather up all their pesos when a superstar like me comes to town, they have to pay to see me, and maybe that’s why none of them can afford a car, a house, or a healthy diet. Maybe that’s why their disgusting and fat. Mexico was fun, I’ve been all over Canada, I’ve been all over the UK, been coast to coast across the border, across the pond – if it’s a top promotion I’ve been there. I’ve pretty much wrestled every top promotion in the world.
SRB: Over the last few years, you have held some prestigious titles for some big independent companies, one of them being the Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) World Heavyweight Championship. Would you consider this your breakout win to put MJF on the map?
Maxwell Jacob Friedman: Some, some – really? Try all of them. Breakout win? That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. The second I step through the curtain that’s a breakout win not just for me but for the industry. I have singlehandedly revolutionized what it truly means to be a professional wrestler. There’s a lot of guys that have been in the business for 15 years that mope around saying I should be here or I should be there. That’s not how it works pal. I’ve been absolutely able to tear it up in such a short period of time that it’s unfathomable. So no, the CZW World Heavyweight title wasn’t my breakout, my breakout was the second I decided to put on a pair of boots. The amount of titles I’ve won is ridiculous, I can go down the list. It’s insane – Alpha 1, CZW, Limitless and there’s AAW as I am their current Heritage Champion. The amount of championship gold I won, I’d have to sit down with you and make a list and quite frankly sir, A. you and I don’t have time for that as it would take all day and B. I don’t want to have to listen to your voice that long, so next question. Oh, hold on for one minute.
At this point during the interview, we needed to take a step down, as he needed to take a call from Cody Rhodes. As Maxwell Jacob Friedman put it, he had to talk about “Best Friend” stuff. 15 minutes later, we were able to resume.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman: OK – when Cody calls – you stop what you’re doing and take his call.
SRB: No problem at all. Whether you’re winning titles in AAW or wrestling as part of the Dynasty (w/ Alexander Hammerstone & Richard Holliday) vs. the Hart Foundation (Teddy Hart, Davey Boy Smith Jr., & Brian Pillman Jr.) for MLW, what are you more interested in doing, winning titles or getting exposure in different companies?
Maxwell Jacob Friedman: That’s a hard question, the answer is both as both are important to me. What it all comes down to is whether it is me winning titles, or whether it is me getting exposure its just me being able to give back to the fan base. For years before I got into this industry it was ran by absolute jabronis who thought they were talented and then I came along. So if anything, both are important to me. Me holding titles and me getting exposure is important because the more places I’m at, the more gold I hold, the more opportunity the fans get to see me and to be honest, I think that’s a god send for all of them.
SRB: May 25th is a big date in the world of pro wrestling. AEW Double or Nothing is holding their inaugural event and you will be a part of it by being in their Casino Battle Royale. Can you tell us what your goals are going into this event and what are your goals coming out of it? Being Cody’s new best friend, I am sure you have something to prove not only to him but also to the entire wrestling world. Am I correct in that?
Maxwell Jacob Friedman: You are absolutely correct in saying that. The person who wins will receive the first title shot of the newly crowned AEW World Champion, whoever that may be. It does not really matter. My goal is to win this match and I am going to tell you why. Did you happen to watch the Over the Budget Battle Royal at All In? There were people doing moonsaults, suicide dives, jumping off the top rope, it was the most ludicrous stuff I had ever seen in my entire adult life; granted I’ve only been an adult for about 3 or 4 years but still it was absolutely insane. Now, here is why I am going to win. While all these people are consumed with the idea of entertaining fans or showing off the way I like to see it, I am going to keep both my feet firmly planted on the mat. Why? Because I am not an idiot. Why? Because I have nothing to prove. Why? It’s because I want to win, I want to go on and approach whoever the AEW World Champion is. I want to beat them and I want to be the guy that carries All Elite Wrestling on his back into the next millennia. I want to be the face of this company and I am going to be the face of this company. I don’t care where I enter in this match because I can assure you no matter what happens, your winner, your victor is going to be MJF.
SRB: Is there anybody you have your sights set on during the Casino Battle Royale?
Maxwell Jacob Friedman: Ha – there is so much ridiculousness going on here – it doesn’t matter who it is that’s in this match, whether it’s that 9,000 lb. Ace Romero or anybody else. All these other guys are so consumed about trying hitting their fancy little moves, all I’m going to be concerned about is winning because at the end of the day winning means getting a shot at what is going to be hands down the most prestigious title in the history of our great sport that is professional wrestling.
SRB: MLW just announced that on June 1st at Fury Road for the first time it will be you going one on one with the Hart Foundation member Davey Boy Smith Jr. Can you tell us how do you prepare for someone of his size and strength? He is 6’6” and you are 5’11”. That is a big size difference.
Maxwell Jacob Friedman: You know what, someone may be nervous if they weren’t the greatest, youngest, fastest rising star in the business, but guess what I am that guy. Is he tall? Absolutely. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever heard of the biblical story of David vs. Goliath? The reason David beat Goliath was because Goliath was a big stupid oaf who only relied on brute strength. All he was thinking was attack – attack – attack, he was not thinking defense, and he was not thinking of what other way he was going to be able to beat his opponent. See, that is not how Maxwell Jacob Freedman rolls. The way Maxwell Jacob Freedman rolls is to look at every single possible object I can use in that ring and use it any way I can to defeat my opponents. Do you think a big dumb stupid oaf from Canada is going to be able to concentrate on an intellectual standpoint on the way that I am? You are absolutely out of your mind. I am going to put this in the simplest nicest way possible. We are talking about a guy who couldn’t even pass finger painting, OK. We are talking about a guy if we handed him a cube and he was looking at a round hole he’d try to shove it in and keep hitting it over and over again until his hand broke. This man is not intelligent. This man has the brain of jello. He will be looking across the ring at one of the most intelligent professional wrestlers to grace the sport. He’s going to be face to face with a man who is better than him and he knows it.
SRB: Well Maxwell Jacob Freedman, I just want to say thank you for your time and I want to wish you the best of luck on your two big upcoming matches on May 25th and June 1st.
Maxwell Jacob Freedman: Yeah, whatever pal send my invoice to PayPal. Did you get my PayPal information for doing this interview?
SRB: Yes, yes I did.
Maxwell Jacob Freedman: Make sure you send it, OK pal. Send it chop chop.
Currently at 23 years old, he is the fastest rising professional wrestler in independent wrestling. Whether MJF is wrestling in Maine, Canada, or California he is taking the pro wrestling world and making it his. In order to be the best, sometimes you have to make sacrifices that you are not fully prepared for. In 2018, MJF made a career choice leaving his family and friends and decided to move out to the Midwest from his home New York. Not only was the reason to see what pro wrestling was like in that part of the US, but to also grow as an individual. In March of this year, it was his time to move home. When you have a dream and want to succeed, sometimes you need to leave your comfort zone of home and yes it will scare you – but it is something you have to do to grow as an individual and what better way to do it then in MJF’s words then to “dive in head first”. MJF took that chance and looking back, he is glad he made that decision. Whether he is defending his championships, traveling in the US, or traveling to another country, fans around the world are definitely getting to see the best when Maxwell Jacob Friedman steps into the ring.