When AEW conducted their introductory press conference, skepticism clouded the air. Granted, ALL IN served as a jumping point. However, that card, melded with other companies, the card made a national audience pay attention. In all honesty, neither the Young Bucks nor Kenny Omega impresses me. Not a fan. Too many spots, not enough psychology for my tastes. With that said, one AEW signing stands above all others and should be the cornerstone of the promotion. That, is Hangman Page.
In Plain Sight
Hangman Page stands alone in All Elite. With Moxley, Jericho, Omega, Rhodes, and the Bucks clogging the camera view, Page sets himself apart. While the others attempt to “show their art” “ be expressive” or whatever foolery they state, Page is a wrestler. I know, that word, somewhere along the way, became a dirty word in that industry. In a world of entertainers, Adam Page wrestles. Plus, the ability to speak clearly, exist. Hangman Page graduated Virginia Tech and worked as a high school journalism and graphic arts teacher.
In an era of highspots and unparalleled athleticism, technique occasionally falls by the waysides. On the contrary, Page executes basic moves with a high degree of realness. For instance, the clothesline. Every wrestler should know how to throw a proper one. With optics and safety in mind, the goal is to look devastating while ensuring your opponents emerges unharmed. Sadly, many modern clotheslines look like flimsy slaps or awkward hugs. Instead of running through the target, many wrestlers will stop. Meanwhile, Page will bring his shoulder and arm forward and throw it forward. While everyone can’t execute a Spanish Fly, they should know how to perform a clothesline that does not resemble a third-grader at recess. In a way, Page carries a similarity with the clothesline.
Despite turning 28 in two weeks, Page exudes a classic wrestling aura. For example, the ring walk and facials before lockup give the viewer at home the sense of a big moment. Plus, his gimmick doesn’t seem rooted in nonsense, like a librarian or authority figure. Understatement, at times, makes a gimmick better. While not a cowboy, in any sense of the word, Page carries the outlaw tone. Aaron’s Creek, Virginia is not Sweetwater, Texas.
You’d think that imagery and facial capability, Page would exist to merely brawl and slug it out with opponents. Yet, his moveset remains one of the most diverse and intriguing in the sport. From rope-assisted lariats to moonsaults and dives to brawling, Hangman covers the gamut. As a result, he gives the younger crowd the energetic aerial offense, while providing long-time (old) fans a hard-hitting style. Blending these style remains one of the toughest aspects and tasks for the modern wrestler.
In a month, Page and Chris Jericho head to suburban Chicago, battling to crown to first AEW World Heavyweight Champion. If you watched Fight for the Fallen, you saw Jericho attack page after a match. First, can we discuss how awful the Judas Effect elbow is? You don’t have to suspend belive, may as well expel it. Page made that atrocious finisher look like a million dollars.
Anyway, on to the match, which shapes up to provide fans with entertainment. On one hand, people believe Jericho going over would give the belt instant credibility. However, why? Yes, Jericho maintains worldwide status as a wrestling legend. Yet, the torch needs passing. AEW could usher in a new age with Page holding the belt, building the main event.
As mentioned, the torch needs passing. In 1983, Harley Race put Ric Flair over. This cemented Flair as the cornerstone of the NWA. Later, Flair did the honors for Sting. Wrestling history dictates that in order to keep the business moving, time waits for no one. Page going over, gives him a signature win and instant elevation. With the entire buzz surrounding AEW, seating a younger champion feels right. Jericho is a champion without the belt.
When AEW hits TNT this fall, millions of eyes will watch, hopefully. With that, another promotional war begins. Unlike the previous ones, All Elite can separate themselves by taking a bold step. While he is not a household name yet, Hangman Page can immediately develop into one.