MJF was signed with MLW prior to AEW’s start. His deal with Major League Wrestling said that he couldn’t work with Impact Wrestling and WWE. AEW didn’t exist when that contract was inked, so the Salt Of The Earth was free to apply his trade in AEW since their first show. He almost went to WWE’s NXT brand before that as a part of MLW.
While on Talk is Jericho, Court Bauer explained that WWE and MLW were once much closer. The former WWE writer, and owner of MLW, said that they almost had a partnership which would have seen MJF make his WWE NXT debut in 2018. Things didn’t work out in the end, but they were also blown away by how polished MJF was at such a young age.
“At one point, we were doing some business with WWE in 2018 – we were going to. We were fairly friendly I guess you could say, and there was talk about MJF possibly doing a crossover thing with them. We were taping, primarily at the time, out of Orlando, and they were – NXT, of course, is down the road. So they start asking questions about him, and one of the things they asked was, ‘So he’s what, 26, 28, 29?’ I’m like, ‘No dude, he’s 21.’ They’re like, ‘What?’ I’m like, ‘Does he look that way, or just the experience? What is it,’ and I remember telling MJF that. He’s like, ‘I don’t know if I should take that as a compliment or an insult.’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know either.’ He has certain qualities you just don’t see in a lot of wrestling. A lot of wrestling, I think, as JR would say, ‘Do you have the sizzle there or what?’ And he kind of blends a lot of those qualities. Very much a throwback, but he doesn’t think he’s a throwback. He just takes those positive attributes and incorporates it into a modern character that works.”
Obviously MJF’s NXT debut didn’t happen, but it makes us wonder how things would have been different if MJF got some spotlight in WWE prior to his launch to stardom in AEW.
MJF is now a member of the Inner Circle in AEW, and he is working for a company that doesn’t script their promos and allows him to speak his mind. Odds are MJF doesn’t regret the missed opportunity in NXT.
Thanks to Wresting Inc for the quote