“Hangman” Adam Page is the AEW World Champion. He’s carrying that title with pride and the AEW fanbase is proud of him. His first challenger is looming and that man is a multiple-time champion, Bryan Danielson. The last few weeks have created an interesting dynamic between the two performers and as the match draws closer one must wonder if putting Danielson over is the right decision.
All Elite Wrestling has its share of “heels” and “babyfaces” but one of the company’s biggest strengths is how it’s continued to foster a shade of grey amongst members of the roster. Danielson’s arrival in the promotion in September and his transformation of such has been intriguing to watch along the way.
Is Danielson the smiling babyface that immediately confronted The Elite at AEW All Out? Or is he a heel that is looking forward to kicking in the heads of everyone that stands in his way? What if he’s simply a competitor that’s looking to be the best and is “OK” with embarrassing all his opponents standing across the ring? For those that aren’t the best at taking multiple-choice tests, the answer is all the above. And it’s this point that makes Danielson a more intriguing character and perhaps the best individual to hold the title.
That thought is going to raise a lot of ire. AEW would once again put their title on a “former WWE-guy,” cutting into the tenure that many saw coming for the better part of two years. But Danielson truly is the hot hand right now. Even before leaving WWE, there were very few people in the industry that are performing at his level. The shift over to AEW has further magnified the fact that he’s one of the best professional wrestlers, characters, and minds that wrestling has to offer.
AEW has done an excellent job building the prestige of its titles by giving the champions lengthy reigns with multiple defenses along the way. Imagine the story that could be told if Page is the first one to fail to keep that cycle going. Is there a chance it could backfire, and Page’s stock with the fans drops? Sure. But AEW has done a strong job protecting wrestlers and building them up over time or quickly. Look at Miro as an example of such. Is the risk that Page’s long-term value could be hurt? Yes, but the risk is greater than the reward.
Danielson will most likely put over Page when they face off on December 15 at Winter is Coming. But the momentum he’s going to build up along the way will grow a swell of support for him to be the AEW champion. Seeing him defeat Page and walk out of Dallas, Texas with the title would be the right decision, potentially building the buzz for everyone involved.