Hangman Adam Page is one of the few young and established wrestlers who’ll carry the industry forward and is an integral part of one of the most engaging storylines in professional wrestling right now which is playing off of years of storytelling. Hangman officially became a part of The Elite in 2018 but he had been a part of the Bullet Club since 2016 and over the two years, he competed countless times along with the members of The Elite, even forming a trio with The Young Bucks in Ring Of Honor named “The Hung Bucks” who held the ROH World Six-man tag championship. However, as time progressed things only got worse from there with regards to his relationship with the rest of The Elite so I’ll take this opportunity to step in the world of kayfabe and recap the story of The Elite and Hangman and give you everything you need to know about the narrative that AEW is trying to present.
The character of Hangman Page is quite realistic and has great depth to it. It all started when he joined the Bullet Club turning heel in the process and got his signature Hangman name. Back then Hangman was only eight years into his career which meant that he had a lot less experience than his fellow club members, however, he was only elevated by siding with the Bullet Club and he even went on to win the ROH tag titles. However, even then the Young Bucks and the rest of the Bullet Club used to save him and helped him get major victories. Adam Page was heavily relying on the Bullet Club and in matches where the odds were even, he would lose but regardless of that he still had big wins against the likes of Jay Briscoe who was one of the more protected members of the Ring of Honour roster at the time. Hangman was a good wrestler, but he still fell back upon his partners when he needed them. During his run in Ring of Honour, Hangman failed to win a singles championship and instead saw his fellow Bullet Club member Marty Scrull win the R.O.H World Television Championship.
The story of Hangman Adam Page continued on the other side of the world in New Japan Pro Wrestling with the Elite and the rest of the Bullet Club. At that point, all of the Elite was sorted and they knew their places apart from Hangman Adam Page which is a theme that is carried throughout his journey. Cody was the mentor-Esque, experienced figure of The Elite with great ambitions in mind, Marty Scrull was also progressing through the ranks with a few feathers in his cap already, Kenny Omega was the leader of the Bullet Club and a very successful and well-established singles competitor who had even won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, The Young Bucks were one of the best tag teams in the world and Hangman, well Hangman was just there, not sure what is shtick was feeling lost, sometimes competing as a tag competitor and sometimes as a singles wrestler and Hangman Adam Page is the only member of the Elite to not have won a title in New Japan Pro Wrestling which very likely would have indicated to him, if not others that he was the weak link of The Elite and his insecurities and jealousy towards the Elite grew even rapidly. It was summed up perfectly by Jay White in a conference when he said to Hangman, “You haven’t had any singles matches recently and why is that? Because you’re constantly in the Bullet Club’s shadow. More specifically the Young Bucks’ shadow”
Page would then take some time off from his partners to go to PWG and challenge Keith Lee, the PWG World Champion, in search of gold but would come up a bit short because this time he didn’t have The Elite or The Bullet Club to fall back upon. However, the only way from there was up. Page made his debut in AEW and won the Casino Battle Royale and despite his losing effort against Jericho, he found gold as he tagged with his Elite buddy, Kenny Omega to win the AEW tag team championship. Everything had started to sort itself out. Hangman finally got gold after a while. They were at the top but when you’re at the top, the only way from there is down.
The problems started when Omega and Page were scheduled to face the Young Bucks at AEW: Revolution 2020 which started dissension amongst the Elite as all the insecurities and jealousy from the previous years, Hangman had in the back of his head, had come back, running wild in his mind. The match went back and forth and Hangman didn’t hesitate to express himself and his negative feelings towards the Young Bucks during the match and even after he and Kenny were successful in defending when Kenny went to embrace the Young Bucks after the match, Hangman just left the ring. The scene said it all, Hangman standing on the apron prepping for the Buckshot Lariat and his own tag partner and the Young Bucks ready to Superkick their fellow Elite member’s head off but that didn’t happen as both parties realized that it’s best for everyone if the Elite stayed intact.
The disputes amongst the Elite were slowly going away as they feuded with the Inner Circle but they suddenly kicked into full gear with the arrival of FTR in AEW.
Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood are different from the Elite. They’re laid back guys who like to drink beer, quite like hangman, but they were dead set on getting the AEW World Tag Team Championships and, unfortunately for Hangman, one half of it was around his waist. Hangman fell right into the trap of FTR as they slowly but surely sowed seeds of frailty and jealousy into the mind of Adam Page and used him as a tool, a catalyst to make their journey easier.
On the August 27 episode of Dynamite, Adam Page just couldn’t hold in all those years of pent up rage, insecurities, jealousy and resentment towards the Young Bucks and straight-up cost them a shot at his title and ended up getting kicked from the Elite later that night suddenly realizing that he had been used.
Fueled by beer and anger, Hangman headed into the match against FTR at All Out alongside Kenny Omega who himself had been having some issues with Hangman. The match presented a tragic story. We had seen before that no matter how many times these two had been on opposite poles, they still managed to sneak out a victory but not this time. Hangman was the weak link, after all, he was pinned despite his best efforts. What followed was even more dispiriting as a frustrated Kenny picked up a table ready to strike a worn-out Hangman but he didn’t. He did something even worse. He just left him there exhibiting that Hangman wasn’t even worth being beaten up. He just didn’t matter anymore to him. The last image we saw was tragic as Hangman just lay there drained, having lost the things that mattered the most to him; his friends and that belt, and he had no one to blame but himself.
The most intriguing thing about this story is that usually there is a big pay off or a match like most were expecting here between Omega and Page, but there wasn’t. Four years of build to end up in a very sad ending for everyone involved isn’t something that we usually see in professional wrestling and that is what makes it so captivating. Many might think that there is still more to come with this story and AEW very likely will do something with Hangman in reference to all of this, but it would be totally fine if this was the conclusion to the story of Hangman and the Elite because this was one of the rare cases in wrestling where first art imitates life, and then life imitates art.