Maxwell Jacob Friedman is back in All Elite Wrestling, returning on tonight's All Out 2022 pay-per-view.
The comeback began in the Casino Ladder Match that opened the show. Before the mystery Joker could enter, a gang of black-clad unknowns assaulted participants Rush, Andrade El Idolo, Rey Fenix, Penta Oscuro, Wheeler Yuta, Claudio Castagnoli, and Dante Martin. One scaled the ladder amidst the carnage, pulling off their veil to reveal Stokely Hathaway.
Hathaway seized the briefcase as each of the wrestlers handed business cards by him in recent weeks revealed their own faces. W. Morrissey, Lee Moriarty, Ethan Page, and Gunn Club had all been recruited for this purpose, it seemed. Seconds later, the Joker made his entrance (wearing the same black garb with a grey mask), hit the ring, and was handed the briefcase by Stokely, without revealing their face.
So far, so secretive - but a reappearance came after CM Punk's World Championship triumph over Jon Moxley in the main event.
Audio from a voicemail message left by AEW founder and CEO Tony Khan played after the house lights dropped. Within moments, it was clear Khan was talking to MJF, as he referenced his ongoing hiatus, reported pay demands, and more, before the devil revealed himself.
The Joker put a Burberry scarf over his shoulders in a pretaped segment. MJF's music then hit and the man himself walked onto the ramp, shouting that he was coming for CM Punk's belt. Victory in the Casino Ladder Match guarantees him a shot, of course.
MJF had been absent from AEW programming since June, when he embarked on an indefinite hiatus amidst reported pay disputes, a festering relationship with Khan, contractual issues, and more. A fire promo surely awaits on next week's Dynamite