DeMarco: Above All Else, AEW Must Capitalize On The Return Of MJF

MJF is officially back in AEW, and Greg DeMarco thinks capitalizing on his return is the #1 priority for the company…above all else.

It was just this past Thursday that MJF was reported to be headed back to AEW, with those reports hinting that he signed his contract extension in 2022. Then we saw some light reports that something major was happening at Double Or Nothing, followed by reports that MJF had flown into Phoenix this past weekend, which is only a 4-hour drive from Las Vegas. If you’re attempting to keep MJF’s return a secret, that’s certainly an effective strategy.

Now that AEW Double Or Nothing 2024 is in the books, we know that MJF was indeed the “something major,” and he returned by proclaiming him solidly within AEW, much to the delight of the MGM Grand Garden Arena crowd (and the plight of Adam Cole, BAY BAY).

With that return, AEW can actually capture some momentum. But it has to be a priority.

Is MJF The Biggest Star In AEW?

The talent roster assembled by Thon Khan is an embarrassment of riches. (Did you know that a group of pandas is commonly referred to as an “embarrassment?” Well, you do now!)

Just look at the names they have:

  • Jon Moxley
  • Bryan Danielson
  • Jay White
  • Chris Jericho
  • Hangman Adam Page
  • Swerve Strickland
  • Will Osperay
  • Kazuchika Okada
  • Konosuke Takeshita
  • Adam Copeland
  • Christian Cage
  • Mercedes Mone
  • Saraya
  • And anyone I am inadvertently leaving out..

MJF is a hell of a talent, and is among this list in terms of value to AEW. It’s hard to justifiably call him the biggest star in AEW.

But he damn sure is the most important.

Can MJF Be The #1 Focus For AEW?

If you are set on giving the fans what they want, then you need to place your highest priority on MJF. The AEW fanbase cares about The Young Bucks current heel run–but they care more about MJF. The wrestling world is watching Mercedes Mone’s AEW run closely –but now they are watching MJF even more. AEW truly has become Swerve’s House–but that house is rented from it’s principal owner, MJF.

I ask the question as “can,” but honestly I think he MUST be their #1 focus.

I came to this realization thinking about Becky Lynch. I thought if Becky Lynch left, maybe SHE could be the one to finally give AEW the credibility they so desire. But Daniel Bryan Danielson didn’t. Adam “Edge” Copeland didn’t. Mercedes Mone hasn’t. All of them were top stars in WWE–Sasha Banks, Daniel Bryan, and Edge all main evented WrestleMania 37 just 3 years ago! But they  haven’t moved the needle for AEW.

Two “WWE names” did give AEW some credibility–CM Punk and Jon Moxley. Mox is a stalwart for the company, but Punk had the public falling out and landed back in WWE, which so many consider to be his “home.”

So Let’s Just Make MJF The  AEW World Champion, Right Away Right?

In a word, no. In a number of words: No, that wouldn’t be a great idea right now as Swerve needs to be afforded the time to show his capabilities as champion.

A feud between MJF and Swerve has money written all over it. But you can’t rush into it. That’s a big money match-up for down the road, possibly at next year’s Double Or Nothing if they’re patient.

In fact, I’ll use this to make another commentary on AEW and their route to success:

If Tony Khan commits now to MJF challenging Swerve Strickland for the AEW World Championship at the 2025 Double Or Nothing, he can get back to drawing 11k in Las Vegas for the annual event. While Swerve came from WWE, he is still a talent that AEW sent to the main event. And MJF is the homegrown talent. If you spend the next year continuing to focus on both–separately–then you have the potential to put on the biggest match in AEW history.

But in the man time, MJF needs meaningful stories. With Adam Copeland going to the injured list, MJF as the TNT Champion could make a ton of sense. Hell, let him hold it through DoN 2025, where it becomes Champion vs Champion.

What About The Bucks, Okada, Jay White, Osperay, Etc?

What about them?

I mean this in all sincerity, but those are not talents that are going to expand your brand. They appeal to the fans that AEW already has. In terms of growth, they have finite potential. They are necessary, but they are not going to get you to where you need to be.

Talents like MJF and Swerve Strickland? They can get you there. They can grow your brand. If you commit–and that is a BIG if. But I believe in it.

But one name is key to the whole kingdom – and that name is Maxwell Jacob Friedman.

Becky Lynch Done For A While?

Becky Lynch’s contract reportedly expires on June 1, and I am with the camp of people that can’t see her going to AEW. I really think she wants to be a mom, and a business owner (she and Seth have the wrestling school and two coffee shops).

If you survey the landscape, Becky was likely going to be gone from TV while Seth Rollins was out with injury, but had to come back when Rhea Ripley got hurt. I have a feeling that impacted her in a big way–imagine knowing you have months off and suddenly have to come back for another month. Even making a trip to Saudi Arabia in the process. It’s a lot, especially when you expected to be at home with your family.

I fully expect both to be back in WWE by the end the year, or at the Royal Rumble. they are part of the fabric that is WWE.

Tony Khan “Disappointed” With WBD Offer For AEW TV Properties?

If true, the news that Tony Khan isn’t happy with the offer made by WBD for AEW’s TV properties comes as no surprise.

It’s one thing to be confident in your talent and your product. I respect Tony for that. But lack of self-awareness does not aid you in negotiations. AEW has no leverage, despite the status of negotiations between TNT and the NBA.

if AEW were to talk away from WBD, they would undoubtedly find a home. They are routinely a top 5 program on Wednesday nights. But no new home for AEW will be as good as TBS/TNT. Honestly, they are in a position to take what’s offered. And given the status of their product, that’s all they can do right now.

Mercedes Mone Wins TBS Championship In Her First AEW Match

Don’t care.

Seriously, I don’t. Mercedes’ lack of self-awareness makes tony Khan look like the shining example for the same topic. She’s proven that Mercedes Mone in AEW is a big step down from Sasha Banks with the WWE machine behind her. I am happy for her, but she’s not going to elevate AEW in any way.

More to come from me in the coming days–I appreciate you reading.

Remember, Always Use Your Head.