There was a time in the not-too-distant past when one question rose above all others: When would MJF return to AEW?

After no-showing a fan event in Las Vegas ahead of Double or Nothing, maybe buying a plane ticket to leave the weekend early, and then cutting a fiery promo on the LA edition of AEW Dynamite that saw the “Salt of the Earth” praise WWE, shoutout Bruce Prichard, and drop a big ole F-Bomb on national television while begging Tony Khan to fire him, it looked like the relationship between Tony Khan and MJF was approaching an impasse. Either the two sides would come together and set aside their differences, or they would approach a messy divorce that would shake the AEW Galaxy like no other move since.

.. except, here we are, almost three months later, and the story really isn’t any different than it was on June 1st. MJF remains employed by Khan’s company, he hasn’t wrestled a match in AEW or anywhere else, and other than rumors about what could come next, be that leaving, coming back, or going Hollywood, nothing finite has happened one way or another.

Fortunately, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer decided to swoop in and deliver a new round of rumors about MJF’s return to AEW programming, which, considering Jon Moxley needs a new foe for All Out after unifying his AEW World Championship on the last episode of Dynamite, could make for a very interesting shakeup to the top of the card indeed.

Dave Meltzer delivers the goods on MJF’s return to AEW rumors.

Could you believe that the elevation of Paul “Triple H” Levesque as the chief creative mind of WWE could play a part in MJF’s return to AEW programming? That WWE finally getting their stuff together and fielding a product that features more wrestling, less schtick, and a whole lot more intrigue about which familiar faces could return next could actually make Khan and the rest of AEW put up or shut up about which promotion puts on the best product week-in and week-out?

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Well, if Meltzer’s comments in the latest edition of The Observer, as passed along by Wrestletalk, are of any indication, that would certainly appear to be the case.

“MJF is currently scheduled to be returning somewhat soon. We don’t know the exact time but the negotiations for a new TV deal will likely be taking place starting in just a few months and into the spring, so the TV ratings numbers probably September to whenever the deal is closed are the most important to date so this recent drop is the worst time to have a drop. The landscape change of WWE becoming the “cool” promotion came at a bad time and AEW basically needs all hands on deck.”

Well, there you go, between WWE’s elevation and the ongoing negotiations to secure a new television deal with Warner Bros. Discovery, it would appear AEW can’t afford to play chicken with a legit needle-mover as incendiary as MJF and might just have to give in to some of his demands in order to go “all hands on deck” for a serious fall push.

Now, as you may or may not know, the merger between Warner Brothers and Discovery has been anything but smooth. New CEO David Zaslav has canceled finished movies like Batgirl and ‘Scoob!: Holiday Haunt,’ pulled 36 titles from HBO Max, and reportedly only has enough money to release two more movies to theaters in this calendar year, with Black Adam and Don’t Worry Darling serving as the final films they can send to market before January. Still, Khan has taken it upon himself to do whatever he can to remain in the company’s good graces, with the AEW CEO explicitly asking fans not to chant “Holy sh-t” at shows, in addition to giving talent the same decree.

“Word has gotten to the promotion from WBD that they’d like the language toned down,” Meltzer wrote on the subject in the Observer. “As best we can tell, they have said nothing about the blood.”

Will the return of MJF suddenly make things work in AEW? Will his presence on Dynamite each week be enough to put the company into the million-plus range on the regular ahead of what could be the most important negotiation of Khan’s professional career? While only time will tell, it’s clear that Triple H’s masterful booking game has elevated this chess match into full-on war games where every piece needs to be on the table.