MJF recently spoke with Newsday’s Alfonso A. Castillo to promote Saturday’s AEW Full Gear pay-per-view, where he will challenge AEW World Champion Jon Moxley in the main event. Below are more highlights from the Q&A:
You have the biggest match of your career this Saturday, challenging Jon Moxley for the AEW world title. It’s close to Long Island, but not quite. Is anything bittersweet about that? Would you have preferred to get this title shot at the UBS Arena or maybe the Nassau Coliseum?
Of course I would. But, it’s still the Tri-State area, and, in my mind, that’s my backyard. All I do is travel. Very rarely do I get to breathe in Northeast air. So I will take it. To me it is a homecoming. And, hopefully, it’s the crowning of the new homecoming king. This is not just the hardest match of my career. It’s the most historic, because we could potentially be crowing the face of the next generation of professional wrestling.
It’s incredible how many wrestlers from your generation came out of Long Island, whether it’s Create A Pro (wrestling school in Hicksville) or NYWC (in Deer Park). What does it say about the quality of training out here?
I think it says a lot about it. You see a lot of people who were trained at Create A Pro on the biggest stage possible. I think that Create A Pro is easily, hands down, the best professional wrestling school in the world. And it doesn’t even come close. And I think anyone in our industry, if they’re being honest with themselves, would say the same thing.
I’ve talked to people who trained with you there, and they’ve said they saw something in you back then, especially when you were doing promo classes. Did you feel like you were at the head of your class when you were training there?
I feel like I’ve been at the head of every class I’ve ever been in. Did that ruffle feathers at the time? For sure. Because I was great, and I knew I was great. It’s been that way since birth. I remember the first time I got into a wrestling ring, I had this feeling of euphoria, like none other. Because I just felt like, “OK. At this point, in this chapter of the book that is life, this is where Maxwell Jacob Friedman is supposed to be.”
When you think about the great wrestlers that have come from Long Island — besides yourself, obviously — who is that the top of that list? Is it Mick Foley? Taz?
The Mount Rushmore of Long Islanders who are professional wrestlers, I just think is me four times. I think Mick Foley is a hack, and it’s really upsetting that I never got to wrestle him — not because it would be a dream come true for me, but just because I really want to punch him in the face and knock him out with my Dynamite diamond ring, and prove, beyond a shadow of a dDoubt, that I’m the greatest Long Island wrestler that’s ever lived.
Some news came out recently about you being cast in the movie about the Von Erichs (Sean Durkin’s “The Iron Claw”). People are really excited to hear you’re getting this opportunity, but on the other hand are a little puzzled about you playing Lance Von Erich.
I don’t know where that came from, because I never confirmed that.
Is it not true?
People are just guessing. I never said that. I’ll just say whatever I end up doing in that movie is incredible, because I’m incredible. And, my God, the cast is so stacked. Zac Efron is the GOAT. Jeremy Allen White, Lily James: Insanely talented people. And you know Sean Durkin is incredibly intelligent, because he booked me.
We talked to your mom a few years ago, and she gave us this great quote about how her son is a “jerk.” But I was there at the UBS Arena, seated right behind your mom, and she was so much the proud mom when you came out. What’s it like having your mom in the stands cheering you on?
She’s a [expletive]. She’s such a glory hog. I don’t think she was proud of me. I think she was just proud that people knew that she birthed me.
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