You would think, in this day and age, that the Roleplayer and the Wrestler would-be allies. Both love over the top characters, complex storylines, bizarro comedy, and the ultimate triumph of good and evil. But that all changed Tuesday, when All Elite Wrestling employee Maxwell Jacob Friedman (alias MJF) sent out a tweet that mocked the players of Dungeons & Dragons, implying that his impressive physique and chiseled facial features were the results of his avoidance of the world-famous and wildly popular tabletop RPG.
It was no doubt a dig at his fellow AEW employee Brandon Cutler, a proud tabletop gamer known for wearing d20s on his ring gear and merch (Cutler’s finisher is even known as the TPK). The two are due to clash on October 2nd, when AEW debuts on TNT, but it’s apparent that MJF can’t wait that long to try to draw blood.
The clever subtweet struck a chord with many, and soon enough a hashtag had started in response to MJF’s comment: #IPDND. People from all corners of the tabletop fandom began to respond in different ways. Some, like actor and celebrity nerd Joe Manganiello and Cutler himself, chose to challenge Friedman’s claims by showing off their own impressive physiques:
— JOE MANGANIELLO (@JoeManganiello) September 18, 2019
We play Dungeons & Dragons.
— Laura – Critical Mrs. (@Critical_Mrs) September 18, 2019
Cutler’s response garnered support from many, including fellow wrestler Xavier Woods (who expressed interested in playing a game with Cutler) and streamer and cosplayer Satine Phoenix. Other players used the movement as an opportunity to show off the diversity of the tabletop fandom:
— Adelaide Gardner (@ohadelaide) September 17, 2019
— David, Devils Have No Gender ??♿? ? ⚰️ (@theinkedknight) September 18, 2019
And still others spoke to the positive effect that D&D has had on their lives:
Ive accomplished many things in life but my greatest accomplishment is finding my passion…
I do play Dungeons & Dragons…?
— Sassywithsander?✨ (@sassywithsander) September 18, 2019
— Katie Heilman (@thektrain17) September 18, 2019
It all came to a head when Matthew Mercer, the Dungeon Master from Critical Role, stepped in to diplomatically suggest that Friedman just needed to find the right group and that perhaps Cutler would let Mr. Friedman sit in on a game or two “after picking him up off the mat.”
Sounds like you probably had a bad introduction to D&D, friend. No worries! I did too! With the right group, and a bit of trust, you’ll have the time of your life. Heck! Maybe ask @BranCutler to run a game for you after he picks you up off the mat! <3
— Matthew Mercer (@matthewmercer) September 18, 2019
MJF, who’d been largely quiet since the first tweet, shot back that he would “beat another one of [Mercer’s] nerd flock” and doubled down, saying that he “could care less [sic] about [Mercer’s] shitty little game.
He also told Maganiello that he ought to “check himself”, said D&D was “for losers,” and, when told that “hot girls play D&D”, responded “LMK if you find any”. Some are arguing that Mr. Friedman is only playing a character, that this is all just a tactic to get “heat” on him to drum up interest in his match with Cutler. MJF has denied this claim, however, stating that he “isn’t a character” and that the whole community “is trash” and that people should “deal with it.” Which, again, is arguably spoken like a true heel.
MJF’s one man war against the tabletop fandom does not seem to be over, and who knows what might happen in the coming days. We’ve reached out to both MJF and Cutler for comment on the situation, and as of this writing neither have responded. Whether this is all a joke or an authentic beef with a game about dragons remains to be seen, but one thing has become perfectly clear: be careful what you tweet, especially where D&D is concerned.