I’ve felt, as I think we all have, a decline in the world of professional wrestling over the last several years, if not more. Granted, I’ve been traveling and performing as a wrestler for the better part of a decade but it seemed like the popularity was always declining. No matter what, a casual fan base seemed to dissipate while the “IWC” seemed to grow and become the outspoken voice of criticism for the industry while the draws in venues seemed to decline.
As I’d be on my travels throughout the south, and the world, I would listen to stories of the great draws towns I’ve been working in got 10+ years prior. But those crowds slowly diminished and became only a fraction of what they once were. I don’t blame it on poor wrestling, I think wrestling has evolved mostly in a positive way. But I do blame it on social media, everything at someone’s fingertips type technology that makes a lot more then just wrestling something people don’t need to rush to. Wrestling, along with most of forms of entertainment, isn’t a “must buy” ticket anymore knowing you can catch highlights online or see a viral video of someone doing something crazy.
I say all of this to bring up the fact that I hardly, if ever, watch AEW. It’s not that I’m not interested in it because the world around me moves too quickly to focus on it. Recently I had a neck fusion of my C3-C6 vertebrae in my neck after years of constant bumps. I’m focusing on a comeback. I own a woodshop as well as have a full-time job. And my phone screen time? Well hell, that averages 8+ hours a day! So when it comes down to it, my time to sit and watch wrestling just isn’t there most of the time during the week. All of that changed this week with three letters… M… J… F…
I was at Lowe’s when my buddy Curtis shot me a text about the promo. Once I got home I had to find it and check it out, and I was hooked. MJF is bringing something to wrestling that’s been missing for a long time, and that’s reality. The type of captivating reality that, work or not, is something people want to see. This was further justified the next morning while driving into work while I listened to the promo being discussed on a sports network on SiriusXM. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time a wrestler has been mentioned on MadDog Sports Radio since Brock Lesnar crossing back over from MMA to wrestling.
Not only are his promos captivating, but his work in the ring is top notch also. He can tell a story and doesn’t need to do over the top stunts to pop the crowd or get a reaction. He can draw real life heat and get someone over, which we saw with Wardlow at Double or Nothing. He “get’s it” and that’s a credit to those that trained him and brought him up in his young career.
Do I think it’s a work? I do… If it’s not, than Tony Khan is a bigger mark than MJF claims for even letting him on TV this past Wednesday for Dynamite. And if a work, it’s a brilliant one with the removal of MJF from their website as well as merchandise. People are believing! I will say, MJF is 100% worth top notch money as I personally think he’s the most entertaining individual on the whole show. If they haven’t restructured a contract then they need to soon. And if Tony Khan is smart it would be a very lucrative and long deal to ensure no one else gets MJF in his prime.
Personally, I would love to see MJF in the WWE. That’s the one place he can get even more star power than he already has. I could see him in the main event of several Wrestlemanias which, agree or not, is the largest wrestling show annually in the world. WWE is the king of the professional wrestling world and MJF there would be a huge deal for him and his character.
I’m going to close this with a bold statement. Not much can draw me to watching wrestling as a “must see” thing anymore. When you do it for so long yourself, watching sometimes seems like a chore. It’s hard to sit as a fan and not criticize what you’re seeing. But MJF draws me in. He makes me want to see what’s going on. MJF is the next Ric Flair…
If you don’t already, give me a follow on twitter @RyanOshun and thanks for reading!