#OneYearDON is a look back at All Elite Wrestling’s debut event with match by match retrospectives on how talent has fared in the year since the event as well as other profiles looking at how some performers have progressed from one DON to the next. This piece looks at the path of “Hangman” Adam Page paved with setbacks and successes alike.
One of the most promising signings at the beginning of All Elite Wrestling was “Hangman” Adam Page. Known largely for this work in Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling, he entered AEW with a world of promise. Many fans and peers looked at him as the future of the company. In fact, others believed it to be inevitable that he would make history as the inaugural AEW World Champion. To say he had lofty expectations set on him would be an understatement.
It wasn’t as if the ground wasn’t paved for Adam Page to make an impact, either.
At Double or Nothing, AEW’s first-ever pay-per-view that took place on May 25, 2019, he was scheduled to face Pac. Given the face-to-face confrontation they had at AEW’s first press conference, it made sense that they would lock horns. However, in a circumstance that was attributed to “creative differences,” Pac was out of the show and Page was without an opponent for AEW’s debut event.
Fast forward to Double or Nothing, which opened with the Casino Battle Royale. The winner of this match would go on to challenge for the AEW World Championship. In this match, the “Joker” would be the 21st and final man to enter the match. Seemingly without a path, Page shocked fans in attendance and around the world by entering the match last. Eliminating Glacier, Luchasaurus, and MJF, Page won the Casino Battle Royale, his destiny becoming clear.
Leading up to All Out, where he would challenge Chris Jericho for the right to be declared AEW World Champion, Page built considerable momentum. One month after Double or Nothing, he won a four-way match at Fyter Fest. The month after that, Page defeated Kip Sabian in singles action at Fight for the Fallen. It became apparent that the Hangman’s Casino Battle Royale win was no fluke. He was determined to show the world that he was the future and that the future was now. Adam Page would stand up to Chris Jericho and defeat the nefarious legend to win the AEW World Championship.
Except he didn’t.
Despite a hard-fought contest, Page was unable to put the veteran away. Jericho overcame the upstart in the main event of All Out, on August 8, 2019, for the AEW World Championship. While Jericho would go on to enjoy a lengthy reign with the title, Page was not only left feeling defeated but without a direction. This wasn’t to say that Page was on a losing streak; he would go on to face Pac in a match they were supposed to have and even overcame “The Bastard” in their rematch. However, it became clear that the loss to Jericho left Page a changed man.
Furthermore, there seemed to be flashes of potential for Adam Page in the fall that weren’t lived up to. In November, Page competed in the Dynamite Dozen Battle Royal; the final two men would square off the following week for the Dynamite Diamond Ring. In the battle royal, Page and MJF were the final two men standing. In their singles match, despite yet another strong performance by Page, the brash star from Long Island, New York emerged victorious. One could only imagine how much this loss further impacted Page’s mindset.
Adam Page became a more short-tempered individual.
He relied more on the alcohol that he enjoyed, which seemed to apply more tension to the relationship that he had with his friends in The Elite. Instead of celebrating or partying with them, Page would elect to let the good times roll on his own. When Page began to team with Kenny Omega on a regular basis, fans believed that this would be the beginning of the end of The Elite. On the contrary, it breathed new life into the career of The Hangman.
Page began teaming with Omega, in AEW, in October. These matches were filled with tension, though not between the teams they competed with. Instead, it existed between Page and Omega, the former consistently giving the latter the cold shoulder. Despite their differences, they picked up wins against a number of stars, including Private Party, Shawn Spears, and future AEW World Champion Jon Moxley. It took Page and Omega time to get on the same page, but by 2020, their struggles would pay off.
In January of 2020, a Bash at the Beach edition of AEW Dynamite was held.
In the opening match, Page and Omega competed in a four-way match that also included Best Friends, Proud-N-Powerful, and The Young Bucks; the winners would become the number one contenders for the AEW World Tag Team Championship. In this contest, the unlikely duo of Page and Omega won. The following week, they challenged then-titleholders SCU at the second Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Rager cruise held by Jericho. During this unique show, Page and Omega defeated the titleholders. With this win, they became the second AEW World Tag Team Champions.
The following month, Page and Omega successfully defended the AEW World Tag Team Championship on multiple occasions. They faced SCU, The Lucha Bros., and The Young Bucks in separate matches, emerging victorious each time. By mid-March, however, Page’s presence on AEW programming decreased in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of this writing, The Hangman’s final match in AEW took place this past March, when he, Matt Jackson, and Cody faced Santana, Ortiz, and Jake Hager of The Inner Circle in a losing effort.
Destiny isn’t etched in stone, but if the year that “Hangman” Adam Page had is any indication, hope isn’t lost.
The “Hangman” was not only able to achieve success in 2020, but he went on to become one of the most popular stars in AEW. It can be argued that his loss to Jericho helped him in the eyes of the fans. They chanted for him – explicit terms and all – and cheer even if he simply walked down the aisle. The “Anxious Millennial Cowboy” went from being a star on the rise that fans appreciated to a superstar that they wait with bated breath to see on TV once more.
Stay tuned to Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can catch AEW Wednesday nights at 8 PM ET on TNT and weekly on YouTube.