Prior to AEW’s inception, MJF was signed to MLW. According to his contract with MLW, he was prohibited from working in WWE and Impact Wrestling. AEW was not a thing when the contract was made, so he was free to work there. It seems he almost went to NXT before AEW was made.
Cody Bauer spoke to Talk is Jericho, where he explained that WWE and MLW were once much closer. The owner of MLW said that they almost made a partnership due to which MJF would have debuted on WWE NXT in 2018. While the plan did not take place, he was certainly amazed at how far MJF came 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.”
MJF is currently a part of the Inner Circle after he defeated Chris Jericho at AEW Full Gear.