Why “Hangman” Won
Adam Page was ear-marked as a future world champion from the very start of AEW for two reasons.
First, Page is an extremely skilled professional wrestler in the ring. He showed a lot of promise during his Bullet Club days in Ring of Honor, and even more promise when matched up with the next-level talent of mid-2010’s New Japan Pro Wrestling. What the AEW executives saw in Page was no secret; he needed a bit more polish in the ring, and he needed to hone his skills on the microphone, but the potential was staring everyone in the face.
But the second reason is perhaps the more important of the two for this story. Page is someone that, in one way or another, most people have been able to relate to. Before he packed up his things and decided to become a professional wrestler, he was a school teacher in Virginia living a completely normal life. This everyman persona shone through heavily during the odyssey of a story told by AEW between January 2019 and November 2021.
Page won because everyone wanted to see it. Full Gear 2021 did so many pay-per-view buys not because the card was stellar throughout (although it was pretty good), but because they were desperate to see the Hangman crowned as a champion, where everyone felt he belonged. It was the culmination of three years of events, failures, and rebuildings, how could anyone not be thrilled to see him dethrone Kenny Omega for the title? It all made, and still does make, perfect sense. So why have so many people called out Page’s reign for being a flop?