There is nothing more gratifying as a wrestling fan than when a long-term story pays off. Unfortunately, most stories either don’t go long enough to make an emotional connection or something gets in the way of the intended ending. The real reason that fulfilling long-term stories are hard to come by is simple: they’re hard to pull off.
On February 29, 2020, Kenny Omega, Hangman Page, and The Young Bucks made their way to the ring with a mission, a mission that started at Double or Nothing 2019 and wouldn’t be finished until Full Gear 2021: Make Hangman Page.
The Lead Up
At Double or Nothing 2019, Hangman Page won the Casino Battle Royal to earn a spot in the first-ever AEW World Championship match at All Out, the other spot was filled by Chris Jericho after a main event victory over Kenny Omega. At All Out, Page was defeated by Jericho.
This is where Hangman Page’s story truly began. The Elite praised Hangman as the future of professional wrestling, but he came up short. On the first Dynamite, he lost to PAC. After tying the series at Full Gear, Page lost the tiebreaker on another Dynamite. After this loss, the insecurity of being the least successful member of The Elite drove Hangman to leave.
Over the next month, Hangman teamed with Kenny Omega and scored a couple of victories, leading to a number one contender’s match on January 15 against the Best Friends, Santana & Ortiz, and the Young Bucks. Page & Omega were victorious and defeated SCU the next week to become AEW Tag Team Champions. While Kenny & The Bucks celebrated in the ring, Hangman left to grab a beer from the fans. After Hangman took the fall in an eight-man tag team match, the Bucks blamed Hangman and his drinking for the loss. Two weeks later, the Bucks won a battle royal to become the number one contenders, and later that night Page & Omega defeated the Lucha Brothers. The match was set for Revolution: Hangman Page & Kenny Omega vs. the Young Bucks for the AEW Tag Team Championships.
The next two weeks felt more like Hangman versus the Bucks, with Kenny trying to play peacemaker. Hangman provoked the Bucks by showing off the nameplate on his belt, and needled them in interviews about the irony of himself winning the tag belts before the Bucks. Meanwhile, the Bucks took credit for Hangman’s inclusion in The Elite and AEW in general, going as far as to say Page was a jobber in Ring of Honor before the Bucks took him under their wing. The Bucks said they never saw Kenny and Hangman as a tag team, even with the titles to prove it. In their last interview before Revolution, the interviewer asked Omega if he was worried about Hangman at all. This enraged Hangman, who stormed off the set. After trying to convince Hangman to come back and finish the interview, Omega confessed to the interviewer that he was worried about Hangman at Revolution.
The story of the match is perfectly illustrated before the bell even rings. Hangman gets to the ring before Kenny and goes nose-to-nose with Matt Jackson. After Kenny makes his way to the ring, he gets between Hangman and Matt Jackson. When this match starts to get more physical, it’s either Hangman or Matt Jackson that initiates it, and their partner tries to calm tensions before things get out of hand. This begins when Matt Jackson extends his hand for a handshake and Adam Page spits in his face.
The Bucks dig about Kenny and Hangman being singles wrestlers and not a real tag team is borne out in the match. When the Bucks are in control, they do it with their signature tag offense. Though Kenny and Hangman can string together some tag offense in the match, they were strongest on their own, taking down both Bucks single-handedly multiple times.
Matt Jackson becomes more violent as time passes, hitting Hangman with three suplexes on the outside and even ripping the tape off Kenny’s injured shoulder. The match kicks into another gear in the final stretch as Kenny kicks out of a Golden Trigger by the Bucks. Kenny’s injured shoulder prevents him from doing the One Winged Angel, so he tags out. Hangman completes the V Trigger to Matt Jackson, hits a Buckshot to Nick outside the ring, and hits one last Buckshot on Matt for the win.
After the match, Hangman and Kenny get their titles and when Kenny goes to check on the Bucks, Hangman leaves the ring. While Kenny’s back is turned, Hangman seems to prepare to deliver a Buckshot to his tag team partner, but stops once Kenny turns around.
Just months after leaving The Elite to escape their shadow, Hangman Page burned brighter than them all on this night.
After nearly eight months as tag champions, Page & Omega lost their tag championships to FTR at All Out 2020. Two months later at Full Gear, Kenny defeated Hangman to become the number one contender for the AEW championship. Kenny would turn that title shot into gold and hold the belt until Full Gear 2021, when Hangman Page defeated him.
Since All Out 2020, Hangman has yet to reunite with The Elite. He has tried to find success in groups, but his greatest success is still as a singles wrestler. In a promotion littered with groups, Hangman stands out as someone without a group he can consistently rely on. As time passes, one must think that a reunion may be in order.
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