It was only a matter of time. Toward the end of last year, Hangman Page began expressing his desire to leave the Elite in order to go off on his own. And while Page’s associations with the Elite had lessened over the ensuing months, he continued to be there for his brothers when the call came, having the backs of the Young Bucks, Cody, and even Kenny Omega, with whom he would go on to win the tag team championships. But all the while, Page still felt like an outsider looking in, the fourth member of what had really always been a three-man group.
So he isolated himself, finding comfort at the bar and with some unexpected new friends. Page and Omega continued to have a rapport but when it came to the Bucks, something was off. The tensions had been ongoing when the Bucks challenged Page and Omega for the titles in February, but following that match, things seemed to turn a corner as the two one-time rivals were able to stand together afterwards. They even joined up as the Elite in May as Hangman Page teamed with Kenny Omega and the Bucks for the raucous Stadium Stampede match against the Inner Circle, and one last time in July to face the Dark Order. They were joined by FTR in that match, a team that recently has seemed to draw the friendship of Page with the three connecting over their love of beer and Carolina roots.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) August 28, 2020
In fact, it’s been Page’s closeness with FTR that has created the most recent ripples with him and Omega, though the two tag team champions have found their reign marked by other issues as well. Omega, while not looking to leave the Elite, has begun to embrace his old Cleaner persona, one that had many believing he’d turn heel on Page, putting an end to their partnership. But it turns out, it was Page who seemingly turned heel. On Wednesday night, during the tag team gauntlet to determine the next challengers to Page and Omega’s titles, Page shockingly showed up and interfered as the Bucks faced Best Friends. With Matt Jackson being pinned, Page grabbed Nick Jackson’s legs, not allowing him to break up the pin. This led to Best Friends advancing to face FTR in the final match of the gauntlet, a match that FTR won.
Page showed some level of conflict after his decision but left the ringside area without any sort of explanation, leaving the Bucks confused and angry. But it wouldn’t take long for them to find Page, at the bar, where they interrupted an interview Page was about to give. The brothers blasted Page, a man they used to think was their friend, calling him out for his actions and his insecurities. It was Matt, the one who was pinned due to Page’s interference, who offered the final blow, telling Hangman Page he was nothing more than a drunk and that since he wanted out of the Elite so bad, that he was getting his wish. All the while, Page stood there, not saying a single word.
— All Elite Wrestling on TNT (@AEWonTNT) August 28, 2020
The story of Hangman Page and the Elite has been developing for several months, with it largely playing out on Being the Elite, the same platform that carried much of the Bullet Club civil war from a few years back. While Page continued to pal around with the Bucks backstage on BTE for various bits, a month or so ago, he was honest with Matt and Nick, telling them that while he loved them and owed his career to them, he didn’t really like them anymore and he was pretty sure they didn’t like him either. He also admitted that him and Omega weren’t really getting along good, only just okay.
A pro wrestler since 2008, Page joined Ring of Honor in 2011, but it wasn’t until a few years later, when he turned heel to join the Decade in 2014, that he began to find success. However, it wasn’t until two years after that and yet another villainous turn, that Page’s career began to take off. On May 9th, 2016, during the War of the Worlds tour, Page joined Bullet Club under his new persona, of Hangman, a name he garnered due to him ‘hanging’ Chris Sabin with a noose. It was the same noose that Page began wearing around his neck as part of his ring gear. A member of the ROH contingent of Bullet Club, Page was officially welcomed into the Elite, alongside the other ROH members of Bullet Club in Cody and Marty Scurll, two years later. This set the stage for the Elite to formally leave Bullet Club and ultimately paved the way for All Elite Wrestling, which came less than a year later.
Officially part of the Elite for just two years but united with the Bucks for four, Hangman Page first attempted to leave the Elite on the November 18th episode of BTE. Citing frustration with his losing record and being the least successful member of the group, Page told the Young Bucks they were still cool but he was going to do his own thing for a while. But the Bucks didn’t make it easy for Page to just walk away and over the next few months, he found himself having to step up and save his former stablemates on more than one occasion. But as Page stated on the March 9th episode of the program, he was done saving them. He told Matt Jackson that before they didn’t let him leave but he was hoping that after he had beaten both the Bucks, that they’d let him walk away.
For some time, Hangman Page did, but the Elite kept pulling him back in. He returned to the Bucks’ side several more times and began taking part in segments in the EVP room again. But it was clear Page still wanted to get out, something he expressed again on the July 6th episode of BTE. As Matt said on Wednesday night, Page had gotten his wish. While the Bucks seemingly wouldn’t let Page leave on his own accord, they had reached their boiling point with his actions costing them the match, and kicked him out instead.
With Hangman Page out of the Elite, the biggest question is what becomes of his team with Omega? Set to face FTR at ALL OUT, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the 200+ day champs lose their belts. But you have to wonder now if it will be simply because FTR is better or because the fractures between the two are just too big to ignore now. Omega has always gravitated toward the Bucks and it’s hard to imagine he’ll just be okay with Page’s actions. Perhaps he’ll use that as a catalyst to make his own turn, one that he’s been teasing for months. Either way, there is reason to be excited about Page going off on his own as the young star has grown leaps and bounds as a performer over the past four years. But the time is now. Leaving the Elite will allow Page to continue to grow and continue to elevate himself as one of the top babyfaces in AEW. And he’ll be able to do so without the shadow of the Elite hanging over him.
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. ALL OUT airs on PPV on September 5th.
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