AEW celebrated their one year anniversary on October 2. Hangman Page has made a strong case for AEW’s MVP in the first year of existence.
On October 2, 2019, AEW Dynamite made its debut on TNT. In the last 365 days, there have been many breakout stars and different wrestlers have made huge impacts on the show. One could make compelling cases for Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley and Britt Baker as the company’s MVP. However, one man has taken AEW by storm and came out of nowhere to become one of its biggest starts: Hangman Adam Page.
When Dynamite launched, Hangman Page was a member of The Elite. He was well-known to fans of Bullet Club, but didn’t have much of the mainstream fanfare like the Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, or Cody. His star started rising in Ring of Honor and he really started coming into his own after a very good showing in NJPW’s G1 Climax tournament.
Page won AEW’s Casino Battle Royale and earned a match against Chris Jericho to become the inaugural AEW World Champion. This is when Hangman was on his “cowboy s–t” and the fans ate it up. They began chanting it whenever he was in the ring. They wrote it on signs and wore their official “cowboy s–t” shirts.
He fell short and that’s when his spiral started. He felt overshadowed by his Elite brethren. On an episode of Being The Elite, he informed the Young Bucks that he needed a break from being a part of the esteemed faction.
The rise of the “Anxious Millennial Cowboy”
Page was still reeling from his loss as was Omega, who lost a high profile match to PAC. The duo came together as an unlikely tag team. This wasn’t your typical forced tag team that hate each other and sometimes win the gold. While they had their differences, this pairing felt different. They quickly gelled their separate in-ring work to become a fluid, dominant tag team.
Way back in January, Page and Omega faced SCU on the Rock N Wrestling Rager for the tag team titles. Scorpio Sky & Frankie Kazarian had held the titles for 83 days at that point. In somewhat of a surprising move, Omega & Hangman became AEW’s second tag team champions.
With the gold, Page began to experience imposter syndrome. He shunned the Bucks and at times, his own partner. He began drinking on the way to the ring and in the ring. In pre-COVID times, he would drink beers from fans. Fans were endeared to the “Anxious Millennial Cowboy” with each passing week.
Page became someone millennials could identify with, especially during these strange times. He was always doing his best, but sometimes that didn’t feel like enough. He never felt like he was on Omega’s level. Hangman was just doing his best to get by.
Except, his best was really freaking good. Page is one of the most solid in-ring performers today. He is a tremendous athlete. On its own, his Buckshot Lariat is fantastic. Combined with Omega’s patented V-Trigger, the Last Call combo is one of the smoothest finishers in wrestling.
Hangman, the lone wolf
Even with all of their success and his growing popularity, there was underlying tension between the duo as their championship reign went on. It was widely assumed that Page would be the one to turn on his partner. Way back when Blood and Guts was supposed to happen, I predicted that Page would turn the Elite.
Obvious seeds have been planted for months that there would be an AEW version of the Four Horsemen. FTR became friends with Page and the assumption by many was that he would turn on Omega to join them and form the new Four Horsemen. While it’s still very likely to happen, in the meantime FTR used their friendship to throw Page off of his game. Page & Omega lost their titles after 228 days.
After the loss, Omega contemplated attacking Page. Prior to their title match with FTR, Page cost the Bucks a chance at the tag titles. Due to this terrible deed, he was kicked out of the Elite. In the weeks since their loss, Omega has said that he still has Page’s back. Even so, Page has been driven further into solitude of his own making. Where does he go from here?
Page has become one of AEW’s most in depth characters over the last year. We have seen his triumphs and his lows. We have rooted for him and celebrated with him. His chyron has become a must see every week He adds these subtle character details that make him endearing and relatable.
Hangman Page is one of the best parts of AEW. We’re only a year in and this is what he has given us. The sky is the limit for him and within the next three years, I predict that Page will be the face of AEW and will be as popular his former Elite cohorts. This company is in very good hands with someone like Hangman Page. He just needs to get his cowboy s–t together.