On Saturday, news broke that MJF no-showed a signing at AEW Fan Fest, sparking rumors he could no-show the Double or Nothing PPV on Sunday. Later that day, Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp reported that MJF apparently purchased a ticket out of Las Vegas. The shocking developments come after weeks of rumors about MJF being unhappy with his AEW contract, signed at a time before his popularity exploded and paying far less than many recent AEW acquisitions. MJF is scheduled to face Wardlow at the PPV, a culmination of a storyline building since 2019, the outcome of which is expected to be the biggest moment of Wardlow's career and a triumph for AEW in building a homegrown star from scratch. So will MJF no-show Double or Nothing, effectively spoiling this ending?
Greetings, comrades. It is I, your El Presidente, as always bringing you the latest wrestling news and hot goss. One of the perks of being an authoritarian dictator is that people rarely refuse to show up to the events you plan. But not so much for a wrestling promoter, especially these days. Of course, the question on everyone's mind is: is this whole situation a work?
MJF is known for his dedication to his heel character, comrades. He doesn't break character in public or on social media, even verbally attacking children if necessary. So if you're wondering whether this is the sort of thing MJF would do as a work, the answer would be "absolutely." But that doesn't mean that it necessarily is.
Many wrestling journalists have reported that the heat between MJF and AEW is real, though they have been wrong before. So it is fully possible that the situation with MJF is real, but it's also possible it's a work. See? This is the sort of thorough analysis you can only get here at Bleeding Cool, mis amigos.
"But Your Excellency!" you say. "MJF no-showed a fan signing. People on the internet are saying that's a huge red flag because it screwed over the fans and will hurt AEW, so it can't be a work! And also, Your Emminence, you are looking extremely handsome today." To that, I say, first of all, thank you. And secondly, that is total mierda, comrades! The entire point of a work is to manipulate the emotions of fans, and in pro wrestling, there is nothing off-limits when it comes to that.
In fact, there are some subtle oddities that make your El Presidente lean toward work. For one thing, I would think it is unusual for the first thing security to do at a fan event a wrestler no-shows is to announce to the crowd that they can't reach him on his cell phone. More likely, given the history of the business, they'd be wondering whether the person is dead in their hotel room and would probably keep quiet on the details. However, if one wanted rumors to spread that MJF might no-show the event as effectively as possible, announcing that MJF isn't picking up the phone would be a great way to do that. The same would go for purchasing a plane ticket out of Las Vegas with MJF's name on it, which is also a weirdly specific fact for a wrestling dirt sheet to report. I'm not saying this makes it certain this is a work, comrades, though as usual if you suggest I am wrong I will have my secret police round you up and throw you in my dungeons. I'm just saying, if AEW wanted to work the fans, this would be exactly the way to do it.
Wrestling fans have become too complacent with the status quo where they read all about everything happening behind the scenes on dirt sheets and believe they're in on the whole thing, but the fact is, if you are still paying for tickets and PPVS or tuning in to watch the show every week, you are a mark and are susceptible to getting worked. If you are outraged that MJF would betray the unspoken contract between wrestling promotions and smart marks obsessed with insider knowledge, then, if the whole thing is a work, it has done its job in spectacular fashion.
Another misconception is that if MJF really has walked out on AEW the night before the culmination of one of the company's biggest-ever storylines at Double or Nothing, it has ruined his career in pro wrestling and WWE might not hire him, fearful he would do the same thing to them. Once again, believing this shows a comical lack of understanding of how the wrestling business works. Vince McMahon brought back Stone Cold Steve Austin after he walked out on WWE. Vince McMahon will bring back Sasha Banks and Naomi if they decide to return. And when his contract is over in two years, Vince McMahon would absolutely hire MJF regardless of whether this situation is real. Sure, Vince might be a little wary of letting too much ride on MJF, but he will always do business if there's money in it. Vince may be many things, comrades, but above all else, he is a filthy capitalist dog!
So the first thing to consider when thinking about whether the situation between MJF and AEW is real is that whatever you as a mark think you know about how pro wrestling works is probably wrong, and therefore, you know nothing about how this situation will play out. Marks should no more pretend that they know what's real behind the scenes in wrestling than the citizens in my country should labor under the delusion that they have the right to self-governance. Insider knowledge, like democracy, is a pipe dream. MJF may leave Las Vegas and never step foot in AEW again for the remainder of his contract. He may show up at Double or Nothing tonight, take a dozen powerbombs, and conclude the storyline as planned. Anyone who claims to have the answer before that happens is probably just trying to get you to subscribe to their newsletter or click on their website.
Kind of like this article right here, comrades, which asks a question in the headline it has no intention of answering. Will MJF no-show AEW Double or Nothing tonight? I have no idea, comrades! And neither do you. And neither does Dave Meltzer or Sean Ross Sapp (well, unless it is a work and they are in on it). There's only one way to find out for sure. Until next time, comrades: socialism or death!