In a surprising twist for All Elite Wrestling (AEW) fans, MJF, traditionally known for his villainous persona, has recently embraced a babyface role. This shift, according to former WCW head booker Kevin Sullivan, was a necessary move for AEW, especially in light of recent events affecting the company's top stars.
Sullivan shared his insights on "Tuesday with The Taskmaster," highlighting the impact of injuries to Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole, as well as CM Punk's departure following a backstage altercation with Jack Perry. Sullivan pointed out the lack of fan favorites in AEW, stating, "How easy was it for MJF to turn babyface? Because they [AEW fans] didn't have anybody else to root for." He expressed his disappointment over Danielson's injury, acknowledging him as a significant reason for his interest in AEW.
MJF's Babyface Evolution
MJF's transition to a babyface began during his storyline with Adam Cole, evolving from a rivalry to a friendship. This change was notably showcased at AEW All In 2023, where their main event match marked a turning point for MJF.
Since then, he has notably altered his approach, abandoning underhanded tactics and embracing a more honorable style of wrestling. This transformation was further emphasized by a backstage attack by masked assailants and a poignant moment where he shared a hug with Kenny Omega after a title defense.
Despite these changes, fans remain cautious, knowing MJF's history of unpredictability. The possibility of him reverting to his former heel persona cannot be dismissed. However, for now, MJF is enjoying a positive reception from the audience.
This newfound popularity will be on full display at the upcoming Worlds End pay-per-view in Long Island, New York, where MJF, as the hometown hero, is set to defend his AEW World Championship against Samoa Joe. MJF's journey from a despised heel to a celebrated babyface in AEW highlights the dynamic nature of professional wrestling characters and storylines.
His ability to adapt and evolve his character in response to the changing landscape of AEW showcases his versatility as a performer and keeps fans engaged and guessing about his next move.