Jon Moxley versus Maxwell Jacob Friedman was the headlining match of AEW All Out on Saturday, September 5. At stake in the bout was the AEW World Championship and when the opening bell rang, the sparse crowd at Daily’s Place braced themselves for the war that was to come.

Moxley retained the title against MJF, extending his run as champion to 190 days . The match saw the younger challenger step up his game against the unpredictable Moxley, who delivered a somewhat subdued program of violence in defense of his title. MJF kept the match in the ring for the most part, which prevented Jon from wreaking his usual brand of havoc. But even though it was not a typical Moxley match, there was no doubt that the champ looked great as always and his opponent looked even better.

Jon Moxley went into All Out unable to use his finisher, the Paradigm Shift. It’s not the only move in his arsenal of course, but it’s become his calling card and when he hits it, no one kicks out. It was only logical that MJF would want the move removed from the match. But it was also logical that if Mox had the opportunity to sneak it in, that he would and that’s exactly what he did.

“I’m untouchable in this sport. You’re going to have to kill me. You’re going to have to drop a house on me!” Mox spoke with all the conviction of a man on top of his game and fully immersed in his character. AEW fans expect no less from him, as he has truly excelled in his role as the top babyface in the company.

It’s not been the easiest road for Moxley however and the same is true of every star in AEW. Tony Khan’s company has pressed forward despite the crippling restrictions that the COVID era has placed on the industry. AEW is one of only a handful of wrestling promotions that continues to operate and even thrive in this new environment.

But Mox feeds off of the live crowd, which has been largely absent during the past several months. Only now have actual paying fans returned and it has made a difference. The audience watching at home may not always hear that difference, but there does seem to be a renewed energy in Daily’s Place.

That energy could not have come at a better time, as the match between Mox and MJF was highly anticipated among fans of both men. MJF is viewed as the future of All Elite Wrestling, a man who has barely scraped the surface of his potential in the industry. It’s clear that Maxwell Jacob Friedman would be a valuable asset in any pro wrestling locker room and its to AEW’s benefit that he’s on their roster.

MJF has risen to the role of top heel in AEW and he’s taken advantage of every ounce of heat he has with the fans. They may boo him, but many do so with a smile and a decent amount of respect as well. They know that they’re watching something special, just as they know that he is indeed moving upward in the company.

Like Moxley, MJF also performs better with a live audience. But it’s not necessary to get him over. MJF can cut a promo on anyone anywhere at anytime, in front of everyone, or no one. He always has the same intensity and he always has the same focus. When MJF speaks, he spews bitter hatred and incomparable confidence, the Ikes of which does not exist anywhere else in AEW. 

It was only a matter of time until MJF got the opportunity to challenge for the platinum prize on Jon Moxley’s waist. While the virtually empty arena situation is obviously not what anyone wanted, the truth is that MJF’s character progression warranted a step in this direction. It had to happen at some point and when a talent like Friedman gets the chance to shine, he always rises to the occasion.

So when fans saw MJF weasel his way into a title match with Mox, they accepted the idea and went along for the ride. No one in the business does the smarmy and entitled egomaniac routine better than MJF. It was that character who stepped into the ring against the most dangerous man that AEW has ever seen.

Jon Moxley is a cagey veteran who will stop at nothing to wage war and when he’s at his best, he’s on a level all his own. The destruction he brings during the course of a match is unrelenting and to survive a fight with him is to earn the respect of everyone in the audience. While MJF is surely the same pompous prodigy that walked into All Out, he’s also now a performer with battle scars, proving his worth to any critics who believed he couldn’t hang with the champ.

Jon took the fight to MJF and Friedman weathered the storm. The biggest takeaway for fans here is that when the moment comes, MJF will take whatever steps necessary to win. The same is also true of Jon Moxley.

Lance Archer won a guaranteed AEW World title shot and his time will come. But the issues between MJF and Jon Moxley do not appear to be over. Both men came into All Out with two different goals in mind and fans knew it. Friedman had to prove he could keep up with the champ and Mox had to put MJF to the test. There’s no denying that it was a double win, just as there’s no denying that fans got their money’s worth with this match. 


Tom Clark is a Senior Pro Wrestling Analyst and Featured Columnist for Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify ,YouTube and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live


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