Tony Khan looks back on MJF’s teased babyface turn and explains why the company is better off with him as a heel.
The self-proclaimed “Generational Talent” was absent for a number of weeks after AEW Double or Nothing 2022. On, he ranted at Khan and told the CEO of the company to fire him. Behind the scenes, rumors of a contract dispute between MJF and AEW left his status unclear.
The Dynamite Diamond Ring winner returned at AEW All Out 2022, and he subsequently started getting babyface reactions from the crowd. This dynamic was evident after the reported physical altercation between CM Punk and The Elite (Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks), which was fueled by Punk’s heated comments about the trio and the company itself. AEW leaned into the shift by teasing a babyface turn for MJF before he ultimately cemented his status as a heel by cheating to beat Jon Moxley and win the AEW World Championship at Full Gear.
Speaking with Todd Martin of the Los Angeles Times, AEW CEO Tony Khan recalled the way fans were rallying around MJF and admitted that he at least thought about turning his top heel into a babyface. However, he noted that MJF’s talent as a heel is unmatched, and the company is at its best with MJF in his villainous role.
“I listen to the fans,” Khan said. “When the reactions were so massive, I had to at least think about [making MJF a good guy], but MJF is the world’s best young pro wrestler and one of the best pro wrestling heels of any age I’ve ever seen and I think his ability to antagonize the other wrestlers and the crowd is unparalleled. AEW is at its strongest when MJF is at his worst as a villain.”
MJF retained the AEW World Championship by defeating Bryan Danielson in a 60-Minute Iron Man Match at AEW Revolution.