That’s Not Wrestling #10: The Luck of The Hangman

Like most people, you probably enjoy wrestling. Maybe you think it’s a great show, or maybe you’ve just never thought much about it. But if you’ve ever watched professional wrestling, you know it’s not a real sport. I’m not talking about the matches themselves, although they are performed under the guise of a “real” sport for entertainment purposes. Instead, I’m referring to the fact that wrestling isn’t a real sport on the basis that it doesn’t require the same athletic prowess as the sports that it is based on.

At first glance, this seems like another wrestling shoot, featuring the usual quick punches to the gut and wild swings to the head. It is. But what it is not is another shoot of somebody getting outsmarted by a gimmicky finish. Instead, the match is between two very experienced wrestlers who are able to put on an entertaining bout.

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This Is Not Wrestling #10: Executioner’s luck


Welcome and thank you for coming! A few years ago, it seemed the planets were aligned for a fantastic change in professional wrestling. Everyone was talking about a shiny new promotion with a TV contract and serious, athletic wrestling. Finally, the life of the modern wrestling fan, who had to eat shit and learn to love the taste, was over. Or is it? We meet here every Thursday to deconstruct the actions of stupid, dangerous and desperate people in the pro….. struggle. At least at AEW.

Executor Adam Page made a big impression in the early days of AEW and immediately caught people’s attention. Many people saw it as something special and with the right promotion, competition and presentation it will undoubtedly reach great heights. Unfortunately for Page, he specifically signed with AEW, and AEW turned out not to be what was advertised. The promise of a serious wrestling product was not long in coming.

Maybe now, after two years, he’s fine, but there’s always a chance that Tony Hahn, the Booker of the Year, will screw up again. To understand Adam Page’s happiness, we must go back to the beginning.

Prior to joining AEW, Adam Page worked for Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Pro-Wrestling Guerrilla, as well as smaller independent organizations. He was in the Bullet Club with the other members of the Elite, but it was clear to everyone that he was there not because of who he knew, but because of what he knew.  He looked like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and even Cowboy James Storm, but he was still himself.

The important thing is that the audience enjoyed it….. Especially since he’s not a WWE veteran. Paige is a pretty boy with an (almost) believable gimmick and fire in her eyes. Oh yeah, and it has a great entrance melody too!

Like I said, it was a good start for Page. He was fighting for his first AEW Championship and faced veteran Chris Jericho in the final round of the tournament. The program was well built for her title fight with Jericho, and they did the right thing by taking Paige to the final level, but without a win yet or…..0. Jericho won the belt, but Paige was so close to it that people will probably support him now that he’s used to redeeming himself. Isn’t that so?

Full of potential and hungry, Paige was undoubtedly bound to dominate until the day she won the next title. But what was there to do in the meantime? Will there be a second title soon? No, American idiot Cody Rhodes made himself the TNT champion. Instead, AEW provided Adam Page with a parasitic teammate in Kenny Omega.

Paige and Omega, the odd duo, won the tag belts with both having a touch of You Don’t Like Me in them, but we’re both friends with The Bucks and work well together. This story went on for far too long and Paige began to seem like the weakest link on the team, often drinking too much and getting involved in fights or slipping unnecessarily during matches. None of their matches as a tag team were worth mentioning. The stupid team rules (or lack thereof) of Matt and Nick, the Hardy Soyes, didn’t really help either.

Eventually Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks turned on Paige and beat him up. Omega was validated for his behavior as a heel, and Executioner was exiled. Page had nothing to do but waddle backstage like a useless drunk for a while. I understand that he spent part of the time letting his injured knee heal, but there are better ways to keep an eye on someone.

When I thought Pazh couldn’t fall any lower, I was wrong when he joined the Black Order. Even though Paige is the supreme leader of the faction, they are still a working group of the company. A beast of misfits and mavericks will certainly have a place on the team, but the man who should be one of the main rising stars has no place as a leader. Every time he stood next to them waving, every time they rushed to the ring to save him, it makes him an inferior star. No more cowboy shit, just good old fashioned shit, and The Dark Order does nothing for Page.

Aside from the fact that she looked weak in the company he kept, Paige had competitive matches with everyone, even those at the bottom of the card. The biggest disappointment for me was his fight with Joey Janela for the big match at the AEW Double or Nothing tournament against Bryan Cage. Thanks to shoddy conditions, Adam Paige was openly beaten up during the match and looked like a wimp who was mistreated by someone’s little brother. I’m not saying he’ll dominate everyone as quickly as Goldberg, but the lower midcard fighters shouldn’t pose much of a threat to Paige. With a man like Janela, he didn’t have to sweat, let alone put his head down.

He beat Brian Cage in Double or Nothing, but Cage didn’t do much of that. Cage had problems in his group, and that took the attention away from the result. It seems to me that Paige is one of the many WWE Superstars who keep working and are happy to be there, even though they know they could be doing so much more. I thought AEW was a solution to that, not a repeat.

Thankfully, viewers have been thinking about Paige lately, and some of the momentum hasn’t been lost. I think it has to do with Paige herself and the relationship she’s built with the fans ….. but also a lot of people think it’s pretty funny to yell cowboy stuff at the top of your lungs during a wrestling show.

Page’s popularity was evident last week during AEW Dynamite when Page’s former tag partner, Kenny Omega, lashed out in the ring while the crowd scanned his portion of cowboy shit. When Paige finally arrived, the fans gave her a standing ovation and everyone had a great time. Hopefully Paige will take the belt from Omega when the time comes.

That said, it could have been better. In my opinion, Paige as champion is a better idea than Omega, but Paige could be much bigger at this point, and that could derail her title if that happens. I also hope the fans don’t give up on him after five minutes of satisfaction at winning the title.

In addition to the knee injury he suffered, Paige was on the verge of serious injury several times when he went out. The energy of the main event returns in the matches without embellishment, and the blood, punches and fights pile up. This is not only a problem for AEW as a whole, but also for Page itself. He knows how much the fans want him, he knows what he can do, he sees the bright lights, and he gives everything he has every time.

I’m not criticizing Page at all; the problem is his booking and the fear of others that he will get more than they can/do.

NEXT WEEK: I’m breaking a little with my format and I’m going to cover something WWE related. Stay informed!

That’s it for this week. Thank you for visiting. Don’t forget to check out Putting It Bluntly: Review of AEW Double or Nothing on my YouTube channel. See you Monday at #AnotherWeekOfWrestling and next Thursday at #ThatsNotWrestling!

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