There’s always that one talent that got away for whatever reason. They didn’t fit the atypical mold, meaning they were too short, too small, too slow, etc. It’s a common thing in all sports. It’s why drafts and free agency are filled with busts. The same thing can happen when doing a reality TV show. In this case, Triple H and the WWE didn’t think AEW’s MJF (Michael Jacob Friedman) was Tough Enough material.
That’s a definite whoopsie and do over, especially as his star has risen since AEW’s launch.
A missed opportunity
As luck would have it, the WWE posted his audition video on youtube in 2015 when he tried for the last season of Tough Enough, and it’s gotten a fair amount of attention lately, and not for the better in the case of the WWE.
Going by the name Maxwell Jacob Feinstein, MJF spent the minute promo addressing Triple H in the style we’re all too familiar with now.
(Special thanks to wrestletalk.com for the video’s transcript)
“I woke up this morning from my usual schedule. Checked out on all my lady friends. Then I go on Twitter, I check out my feed, and something catches my eye. Triple H, you asked me if I’m tough enough. Well, Trip – is it okay if I call you Trip? You must not have gotten the memo. My name is Maxwell Jacob Feinstein. I’m a former all-state middle linebacker, a former all-state amateur wrestler, and a present day lady killer. But these are just facts, Trip. I know what you’re looking for – you’re looking for that next big thing; you’re looking for the guy with the physical prowess, the charisma, and the attitude, so, Trip, the question isn’t if I’m tough enough, no. The question is are you smart enough to know when the future of your company is looking at you dead in the face. Because my name is Maxwell Jacob Feinstein, and I’m better than you, and you know it.”
Sadly for the WWE and Triple H, this wasn’t a foul out, it was a clean swing and a miss.
WWE had another shot at him
Like so many decisions over the years, we can’t help but wonder how different the professional wrestling landscape would be had the WWE given MJF a shot and signed him. Would he be the dynamic heel he is in AEW, or would be he another malcontent that’s hates and chafes at being held back and told how and what to do?
That was a topic last year when MJF was about to take his place in AEW as one of the top heels. WWE was reportedly very interested in him before he decided to stay with AEW.
As a guest on Talk is Jericho , he explained that Cody Rhodes talked to him privately after his match at All In. Rhodes told him his match would give him a better chance to sign with WWE if he wanted. (Special thanks to ringsidenews.com for the transcript.)
“After that, Cody pulled me to the side and he was like, ‘Hey I’m sure you’re going to have a much easier time now going to… you know, another place… we don’t, don’t have to get into the name of it, if you want to get into the name of it, whatever. WWE, whatever.”
“There were rumblings that there was interest from the other company, but once I got to talk to Tony [Khan] I went, ‘Oh no, this is where I’m supposed to go.’ Cause it’s like the idea of someone walking up to me and going, ‘Hey kid here’s what we want out of you tonight — Here’s what you’re gonna do.’ I don’t do well with that.”
And the rest, as they say, is history. There’s little doubt MJF made the best decision for himself and us as fans, since there’s no telling what the WWE would have him doing. He may even be buried in the mid card, trying to prove he has talent while be wedged into a role that doesn’t work for him.
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