This Saturday, at AEW All Out 2020, the main event will see Jon Moxley defend the AEW World Championship against MJF. It’s a major match, a battle of unbeatens as neither man have lost a singles match or been pinned or submitted in AEW – a significant stat considering both have been with the company since the first event at the inaugural Double or Nothing.
It’s also a long time coming. It was first teased immediately after Moxley won the AEW title in the first place at Revolution. I Imagine many have forgotten but on the very next Dynamite after the PPV, at the very start of March, MJF first called out Jon Moxley. We’ve been on the slow build to it ever since, for a solid six months.
Mox has been a strong champ under some very unfavorable circumstances.
I don’t think it should be underplayed how much AEW needed someone like him in that spot these past few months. If nothing else the situation proved his title win a smart one in hindsight as Mox’s physical style works just fine without an audience, an easier sell than one who might lean on character and reactions more.
MJF of course has been regarded as one of the brightest stars of the future by many since the very first day he set foot in AEW and the amount of people saying that seem to grow exponentially with every major match or promo. At 24 years of age, he is a performer with main event level charisma and no hole as a wrestler. His barbs can be held against anyone in the business and his bouts with the likes of Jungleboy have shown he’s fully capable of delivering at a high level in the ring as well.
MJF will be AEW World Champion some day. That isn’t a controversial statement.
Nothing short of a tragedy will prevent MJF from reaching the mountaintop of pro wrestling. It’s a given that he’ll become the top heel in All Elite Wrestling and likely hold onto that spot until he retires. It seems inevitable that we’ll become very accustomed to the site of MJF holding the title that he’s deemed “Pretty Platinum”.
In the weeks leading up to Revolution, I wrote on other sites – long before this one was conceived – what I saw as the outline of AEW’s 2020, and how it would effectively begin with the February PPV. What I both expected and hoped to see looked like this: MJF defeats Cody in their grudge match, Jon Moxley takes the AEW title from Chris Jericho and the two of them end up on a crash course throughout the year, culminating in MJF taking the prize. (Hangman Page would also be built slowly to be the one to eventually unseat him but that’s a story for another day…)
So far, so good. There’s really only one thing that I’ve seemed to have missed on – in my version of events this match didn’t happen until it was time for Full Gear in November. I felt that timed things out well to give Mox a strong and lengthy reign whilst also continuing to build MJF up towards the big night in the meantime. And I’ll admit, when it became clear this would go down at All Out instead, it was enough to give me pause.
Damnedest thing, those two months felt like such a big deal to me that it got me questioning a result that I’d predicted and called for myself half a year earlier. I like it actually, AEW always has this penchant for putting me in suspense about this. Jericho/Omega, Jericho/Hangman, Jericho/Cody, and Jericho/Mox, all of them seemed like they could so reasonably go either way. Mox/Brodie was a little different largely just because of the circumstances as Brodie got robbed of the debut that was supposed to make him an instant star, but we’re back to that now and I welcome it. Neither result would be a shock at all and there’s arguments for either.
From that hesitance, I can get why some question whether it’s time yet. Certainly with MJF you have all the time in the world. You can have Moxley end his unbeaten streak and further his own and be a dominant champ for months and months to come. And Max certainly can bounce back from that and be just as big a star as ever on the other side.
But… why? Why wait?
I’ve had weeks to marinate on this and the more I think about it, the more I think, what are we waiting for? Everyone watching knows it’ll happen one day, why not today? Why not have MJF be your new, undefeated world champion and make sure he never lets anyone forget about it? It’s so easy to imagine the power in that, the strength in having him as your Floyd Mayweather Jr. that everyone is just dying to see finally get beaten – and willing pay good money for it too. What better way to cement him as the top villain in wrestling? What better way to make a top hero than to be the guy who finally vanquishes that villain?
Moreover, MJF’s win would be huge for what it represents. I admire the strategy AEW has taken so far, leaning hard on the ready-made stars they have whilst patiently, but consistently, building the younger talent underneath them. We’ve seen plenty of flashes of young men coming within inches of shattering that glass ceiling. It’s been a lot of fun to see, but that does have a shelf life. Eventually, it has to actually start happening for them.
Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley were great world champs and they’ve reinvented themselves to such a degree that it’s easy to associate them more with AEW than what came before. Still, they were already top guys when they put pen to paper. AEW has still yet to truly crown a homegrown star and for the good of the promotion it needs to happen before much longer. I want to see us get to the point where the likes of Hangman, MJF, Jungleboy, Darby Allin, Scorpio Sky and Sammy Guevara aren’t just occasionally bumping against the main event scene, but are the main event scene.
Someone has to be first. The one to kickstart the next phase of AEW’s growth. And MJF feels for all the world like he’s the guy for it.
Mox would be a helluva champ to beat to make it happen as well. No, it’s not too soon… in fact, the stars are aligning as we speak. This is the beginning of a true paradigm shift, where the homegrown names of AEW begin to take over. If the #2 promotion in wrestling is ever going to be #1, this is a vital step. AEW’s trueborns have to become household names. And it all might just start right here this weekend.
I believe MJF will be the one to lead the future of AEW into prominence… why wait?