Since it’s inception, All Elite Wrestling has embarked on a mission to create new stars. While AEW has received criticism for its reliance on former WWE wrestlers; the company has prided itself on showcasing younger, hungrier non-WWE wrestlers as well. Younger stars such as Jungle Boy, Darby Allin, and Maxwell Jacob Friedman, have become true homegrown success stories for AEW and are envisioned to succeed as future main eventers. However, there is no greater success story for AEW than the rise of “Hangman” Adam Page. After being touted as a blue-chipper since his days in Ring Of Honor; Hangman’s stock has grown exponentially in 2020. Hangman has become an essential aspect for AEW and it’s a wonderful surprise how he became their star player.
When Page joined Bullet Club in 2016 it allowed him a tremendous opportunity to grow as a performer. Not only did it allow him to leave his day job as a high school teacher; the New Japan deal allowed Page to wrestle with and against acclaimed wrestlers in the land of the rising sun. He wrestled in the G1 Climax and World Tag League before challenging Jay White for the IWGP US Championship at Strong Style Evolved. With the support of the Young Bucks; Hangman began turning heads with his character on Being The Elite. His most memorable moments included being kidnapped by WWE, to murdering Joey Ryan, and putting on an underrated banger with Joey Janela at All IN. Hangman improved more and more and when it came time for AEW to launch he naturally jumped ship.
From the beginning, the Elite Executive Vice Presidents were dead set on getting Page over with the fans. Hangman originally was planned to wrestle Pac at Double or Nothing last year until “The Bastard” dropped out due to creative differences. After winning against Pac via disqualification at Wrestlegate Pro; Page entered as the joker in the Casino Battle Royal emerging victorious. Winning the battle royal allowed Page the opportunity to face Chris Jericho at All Out to determine the inaugural AEW World Champion. After Page lost in the main event a storyline began of Page feeling left behind by the Elite. He would lose to Pac on the debut episode of Dynamite before getting his win back at Full Gear. However, their rubber match in November ended with Pac beating Page ending the feud. Another big loss happened in the finals of the Dynamite Dozen in which Page would lose to MJF from interference with Wardlow. Page would begin spiraling out and distance himself from the Elite before trying to leave the group altogether. His push was met with initial resistance from fans and an apparent heel turn was teased on BTE.
However, Hangman was then placed with Elite stablemate Kenny Omega as a tag team. After some initial friction to two would come together to win a four-way tag team match against Young Bucks, Santana & Ortiz, and Best Friends at Bash at The Beach to become number one contenders for the AEW World Tag Team Titles. The next week onboard the Chris Jericho Cruise; Hangman and Omega would defeat Socal Uncensored to become the new champs. Things truly began to click for Hangman as he and Omega would retain their titles against the Bucks at AEW Revolution in a match heralded as one of the greatest matches of all time. Hangman’s partnership with Omega has led to to a revitalization for Page, and Omega as well. The two gel incredibly well and put on some of the best matches Dynamite has to offer against the Lucha Bros, SCU, and the Dark Order.
Hangman’s success in AEW came from his storyline alcoholism. Ever since he stole vodka from Private Party, and didn’t pay them their twelve dollars, it afforded Page a new character element that saw him become the most entertaining aspect of AEW. From his hilarious lower third chyrons such as: “has been drinking”, “hapyee hawlidays”, and of course “whooped both their asses”, to a legitimate star-making moment of when he hit a buckshot lariat onto The Blade after telling Matt Jackson to “hold my beer”, Hangman has become the star AEW knew he could become. Hangman is always slotted into the best segments in Dynamite. The continued story of his newfound friendship with FTR and their friction with The Elite has been must watch and is highly teasing the possibility of a new Four Horsemen inspired faction. Whether or not he turns heel is anybody’s guess however, it’s clear going forward no matter what AEW does wrong the absolute number one thing they’ve gotten right was making Hangman Adam Page into a star.
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 Dynamite Wednesday nights at 8 PM ET on TNT and AEW DARK Tuesday nights at 7 PM ET on YouTube.