From the very first announcement of All Elite Wrestling, ‘Hangman’ Adam Page’s importance seemed clear. With The Elite quintet central, AEW had ideal building blocks in place but in truth, their greatest strength came from the variety within that group. In fact, four of those five members seemed almost set in stone when it came to their position. The Young Bucks were destined to anchor a loaded tag team division while in Kenny Omega and Cody, AEW had a dynamic pair of headline figures that stylistically, provided an immediate contrast.
That left the fifth man, the undeniably talented Page that in terms of main event experience, entered as an unknown quantity of sorts. Fans of The Elite were obviously well-educated on Page and they certainly wasn’t alone either but for the casual viewer simply awaiting an alternative, Page was the relative odd man out in AEW’s Elite core. There was a fleeting truth to that perception too as on the promotion’s inaugural event, Page took part in the Casino Battle Royale, a match that kick-started things on the ‘Buy In’ portion.
Elsewhere, The Elite’s other members took center stage, featuring in marquee matches that Double or Nothing’s success was eventually built upon. Nonetheless, Page’s destination remained clear, winning his aforementioned match and swiftly earning a shot at AEW’s vacant World Title. Regardless of his starting point, Page’s place as a main event player was now confirmed, meeting Jericho in a major title match for the upstart promotion. The direction was certainly logical, immediately positioning Page in a role that he’d hope to make his own.
In the grand scheme of things though, Page’s recent momentum wasn’t really befitting that position. Though he’d certainly been featured from the start, Page had yet to receive the star spotlight necessary for such a crucial moment. That’s not to suggest this was a disaster either but opposite Jericho, Page’s search for a true identity was clearer than ever. As a performer, he clearly belonged in the ring that night but as a character, he still seemed without an individuality suited to his general style and look.
Page certainly wasn’t alone in that sense, but Jericho provided a stark contrast to that pursuit, the most familiar face and comfortable character within AEW’s ranks. With all that being said, Page’s physical performance certainly wasn’t an issue, it just felt as though he was lacking a puzzle piece that creatively, had yet to be directed his way. That became a trend of sorts too, carrying over into Page’s initial outings on Dynamite as well. Without the World Title around his waist, Page’s purpose seemed unclear, next entering a series of enthralling affairs with PAC.
At core though, that programme felt focused on establishing Page’s foe and as a result, ‘Hangman’ left the feud as he’d entered, a key figure still awaiting the jolt that’d truly shift his trajectory. From the outside looking in, the solution seemed clear. Now that the promotion was truly underway, Page needed to become his own man, stepping away from his Elite association and committing to a path of his own. In reality though, that perception was only partly accurate. Instead, Page’s prior ties were reiterated, sparking a new story that had organically presented itself.
In regard to perception and position, Dynamite had furthered natural differences which ironically, would provide far more definition to Page’s character. There was an organic resentment available there and Dynamite took things in exactly that direction, re-associating Page with the Elite only to differentiate his character even further. The choice immediately garnered reactions too, as Page finally found a clear path of his own all while also tackling the elephant in the room. Page wasn’t like the other four members and that truth appeared far more meaningful to his character than theirs.
Nonetheless, Page’s natural chemistry with Omega led him to tag team gold in January. The pair have been simply sublime as a tandem, producing multiple in-ring thrillers to a consistently raucous crowd. Now more than ever, Page has found a genuine balance between personality and performance, capturing the audience’s attention before a move is even made. Fans now truly understand who Page is, entering each match with a believable backstory and purpose that in the process, is making his job much easier once the bell rings.
Most importantly though, this story was allowed to develop. With the discontent that had been established, a sudden Page turn wouldn’t have been necessarily shocking. In hindsight though, what an awful waste that would’ve been. Since this direction has been taken, Dynamite has gotten some of its best TV from Page’s character. More than that though, they’ve also allowed the audience to embrace this side of Page’s personality and as a result, he’s emerged as one of their most beloved protagonists. He’s become so popular in fact that it’s become almost impossible to know what conclusion awaits.
Then again, we may find out exactly that at AEW Revolution, as Page and Omega defend their tag team titles against The Young Bucks. The tension within this dynamic has been explored quite brilliantly, simply telling the story without overly accelerating it. Regardless, Page enters Revolution feeling more valuable than ever, even if the next step feels currently unclear. Beyond this weekend and the episodes of Dynamite that’ll follow though, Page’s trajectory is already one of the most encouraging stories of AEW’s 2020 thus far.
At the outset, Page’s position may have felt less clear but in many ways, that speaks to his long-term importance. If and when Page reaches the top of AEW’s totem pole, it’ll be his first time as a singles centerpiece, his first time as World Champion. That’s truly pivotal in the grand scheme of things, as Page isn’t an established star that’s landed in AEW but instead, an established talent that in AEW, can finally become a headline act. It’s easy to forget how new this promotion still is but for true success, it’ll eventually need stars of its own. In Page, they have a leading candidate for exactly that.
Though he may not have been The Elite’s standout on day one, Page’s ceiling could make him its most important member in the end. With Page’s recent direction, AEW has found the creative ingredient to catapult ‘Hangman’ to the position his talent deserves. It’s always felt obvious that eventually, Page was intended to be a genuine AEW superstar, but that route has never appeared smoother than it does right now. In front of our eyes, the path to those heights has suddenly become seamless.
‘Hangman’ Adam Page is a star in the making and perhaps most importantly of all, he’s the kind of star that AEW can be shaped around for years to come.