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    Friday, June 26, 2020

    The Supercard (6/25/20): This Card's Better Than You, and You Know It



    A true wrestling heel in 2020 is rarer than a decent world leader in 2020. Ironically, the two are pretty similar—bad guys who are, for some reason or another, liked; the difference is that heels are supposed to be hated. It is in their actual job description. However, the cynicism of the 21st-century wrestling fan has caused many heels to get so over that people start cheering them. CM Punk. Kevin Owens. Bullet Club. Wrestling fans have and will continue to see themselves in the villain.

    The genius of the character Maxwell Jacob Friedman, better known as MJF, is that he is not a cool asshole. He is just a straight-up douchebag. The character is everything people hate: spoiled, cocky, privileged, someone who gets everything they want without any repercussions. This basic premise combined with the infuriating and smugged execution of Friedman equals probably the best heel of this new generation of talent.

    MJF is such a good heel, that as I praise him while writing this article, I cringe because of my genuine disdain for his character. I along with many believe that Cody deserved better. Here is a Supercard in dishonor of "the youngest and fastest rising star in professional wrestling."

    MJF vs. Kris Statlander (Beyond Wrestling)


    Fun fact: MJF and Kris Statlander both came out of the Create A Pro Wrestling Academy ran by Brian Myers (WWE's Curt Hawkins). So this fact just reiterates what I've been saying for years—Curt Hawkins is the most underrated professional wrestler of all time.

    This particular match is the perfect nugget to introduce someone to MJF. Brash and no filter, he starts the match with a classic MJF promo which transitions him to irritatingly berate Kris Statlander with his no-cap annoying and misogynistic comments. The match itself is a great match up between Statlander's wacky and athletic style and MJF's class smashmouth wrestling. A truly great independent showing from two of the current top AEW stars.

    MJF vs. Lio Rush for the CZW Wired Title (WrestleCircus' July 22, 2017 edition of Squared Ring Circus Show)


    When MJF says he's "the youngest and fastest rising star in professional wrestling," you could make a legitimate claim that his rise from 2016 to the present is pretty damn impressive. From graduating from Create A Pro in 2016 to the point of his career in this match, he was already sporting four title belts at the same time. For four different promotions to trust you to carry their name around means that you are of top tier talent.

    In one of the go-home matches of Lio Rush's independent run, the Texas promotion WrestleCircus put him in a match of someone who you could say mirror the character Lio Rush used to be. Wearing suits and picking up girls used to be the whole shtick of Lio before transitioning to a more veteran-like role. For Rush to give the rub to the, at the time, independent star through this match just pushes forward how much buzz MJF created in such a short amount of time. This match in particular highlights how Friedman is not just all talk but can hang with some of the best wrestlers out there.

    Main Event: Making Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) // A Real Documentary by Kenny Jonson


    For the main event, I decided to recommend this documentary—or rather, mockumentary—by Kenny Johnson. For those of you who don't know, Kenny Johnson has been producing legitimate WWE Network-quality wrestling documentaries focusing on the independent wrestling scene. I highly suggest you check out some of his work.

    This particular mockumentary is obviously a work, but it is a prime example of the one thing that has made MJF so infamous in the wrestling business: he has been trying to keep kayfabe alive. You will be hard-pressed to find an interview of MJF where he is not in the MJF character. You might see dialed-down versions here and there, but the persona is still going to be as annoying and as smug as you would expect. This mockumentary plays with that aspect of MJF, which is so fundamental to his character, and why he works.

    We don't really know who MJF is as a person and this video exacerbates that fact to become a conspiracy unfolding exposé. Unlike other heels where we can relate to their stories as real people, you don't get that with MJF. Even when interviewed by Stone Cold Steve Austin himself, he didn't waver. It allows for people to genuinely feel a sense of hatred towards the character because we don't even know where the character starts or stops. And that, in my opinion, is when wrestling is at its best. 

    Photos courtesy of Beyond Wrestling, WrestleCircus and Kenny Johnson

    *****

    Jacob Tambunting is a freshman at the Ateneo de Manila University currently studying BS Psychology. In his high school years, he authored plays for competitions, essays for projects, and fan fiction for fun.  He currently lives with his two parents, his two siblings, and his two dogs, and is probably writing something angsty on his 10-year-old laptop.
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    Item Reviewed: The Supercard (6/25/20): This Card's Better Than You, and You Know It Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jacob Tambunting
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