Jon Moxley brought The Hangman out of Adam Page
At All Elite Wrestling’s Revolution pay per view on March 5, 2023 we witnessed Adam Page finally become The Hangman in the eyes of AEW fans when he defeated Jon Moxley by submission in the Texas Death match.
On May 9th, 2016 for Ring of Honor in Dearborn, Michigan, in front of Chris Sabin’s friends and family, Adam Page officially joined Adam Cole, The Young Bucks, and other members of Bullet Club and noosed Sabin from the top of the ropes. It was a part of his heel turn and initiation into the Bullet Club. His time in Bullet Club led to The Elite, which would lead him to AEW three years later where he brought the name with him.
Hangman Page’s career arc in All Elite Wrestling is one of the best stories in professional wrestling. He started as the young upstart trying to become the first AEW World Champion and ultimately losing to Chris Jericho. His depression led him to leaving the Elite, despite being in a tag team with Kenny Omega that was successful enough to win the AEW World Tag Team Championship. He proved himself capable in the team by Buckshot Lariating both Nick and Matt Jackson of The Young Bucks at the 2020 Revolution pay per view to help retain the Tag Championship. He would then lose that tag championship to FTR due to his doubts and insecurities getting the better of him, and Kenny Omega getting tired of feeling like he has to carry other people’s burdens.
Kenny Omega would go on to become AEW World Champion, in part by defeating Hangman Page at Full Gear in 2020. Hangman would begin his journey towards the AEW World Championship, stumbling once against Brian Cage and again in a 10 man elimination tag where Hangman Page and The Dark Order lost to The Elite, costing him his shot at Kenny Omega and the title. Hangman would leave AEW (he was originally planned to beat Kenny Omega at All Out in 2021 but took time off for the birth of his child) only to return and win his shot back in the Casino ladder match on AEW Dynamite on October 6, 2021. Hangman Page would ultimately defeat Kenny Omega to become AEW World Champion.
Despite being AEW World Champion, Hangman Page still fought with himself as much as he did with his opponents. From Bryan Danielson to Lance Archer to Adam Cole, Page held the weight of the world as a new champion, carrying AEW into 2022 as the company was hotter than ever. With the debuts of major former WWE stars like Bryan Danielson, Adam Cole, and CM Punk, Adam Page sat at the top as a star developed from within. However, the insecurities got the best of him when faced against CM Punk at Double or Nothing. Hangman immediately didn’t like Punk and (in storyline) worked himself up in needing to take down CM Punk, who mostly smiled and laughed at everything he said. Well, except that one thing.
The loss to CM Punk meant Hangman Page was out of the AEW World Championship picture but he did try to re-enter the World Championship picture of New Japan Pro Wrestling. Page would fail in a four way including Cole, current IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, and former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Jay White. White, currently a free agent, had a great feud with Hangman Page over the United States Championship which was a precursor to Hangman’s story in AEW, with Jay playing on Hangman’s insecurities as the young boy of the Bullet Club.
Hangman drifted a bit, moving into the Trios Championship tournament due to an opening by injury, leading him face to face with The Elite again, who won the final against Hangman and Dark Order at All Out to become the first Trios Champions. With the AEW World Championship vacated interim, Hangman Page entered a tournament to try to win it again only to lose to Bryan Danielson for the first time. The man who eventually won had just recently been AEW World Champion:
Enter Jon Moxley.
Moxley and Page had clashed twice before, once on the third episode of AEW Dynamite and on the previously mentioned October Dynamite Casino ladder match. Jon Moxley had also called out Hangman Page in some promos, saying he couldn’t get over his playground antics with The Elite to ever be focused in becoming the top guy. It was believed by many that Hangman Page and Jon Moxley were supposed to feud early in Hangman Page’s World Championship reign before Moxley had to enter rehab.
One year almost to the day of the Dynamite casino ladder match, Adam Page would get his chance at Jon Moxley and a chance to become AEW World Champion for the second time. In their first one on one encounter, Jon Moxley would throw a King Kong lariat that knocked Hangman Page unconscious, leading to a referee decision to end the match. It would take a few months before Page returned, where he didn’t hesitate to go back in the ring with Moxley. This time it was Adam Page knocking Jon Moxley out, and this time there was no title on the line as Moxley had dropped the Championship to Maxwell Jacob Friedman.
At this point, Moxley and Page were 1-1 for knockout victories. Page proved not only could he return from a violent concussion but he could return the favour to Moxley on it as well. Moxley, unhappy with the outcome, ensured a third match between the men. This rubber match in Ohio was dominated in the end by Hangman Page, only for him to be caught by a flash pin by Moxley. The ol’ ball in chain. It was a match that felt like it should have ended on a draw. Both men reacted that way as well, with it being clear this wouldn’t be the final encounter.
At Dynamite on February 15, 2023, Moxley would confront Adam Page after his win against Kip Sabian with the Blackpool Combat Club in tow to tell Hangman he didn’t fear him and knew him inside and out. Moxley said he had Page’s number and he needed to let it go. Page responded that things needed to end with two men entering a cold dark alley and only one gets to come out. Page issued the challenge for Revolution. Moxley responded that’s what he wanted. “Cowboy. Revolution. Texas Death!”
Five days prior to Revolution, Jon Moxley, drenched in blood in a corridor, shouted at the camera, “Who do you think is gonna come out?” of the cold dark alley. Moxley called him a great wrestler and a great man, but that he isn’t the same animal as Jon Moxley. “There is only room for one of these animals in AEW.” Page would respond with his own video explaining that he isn’t afraid to lose the match because he has nothing left to lose. He lost the AEW World Title. Moxley beat him for his second shot. Moxley beat Evil Uno within an inch of his life. He’s lost his memory, feeling in his finger tips, everything. His plan is at Revolution to take everything from Moxley.
What’s he taking from Jon Moxley? Just what Moxley said. He’s an animal and there’s only room for one. He’s at the top of the food chain. Hangman Page plans to take that all away. He wants to take away his pride as the most vicious, sadistic monster in the company. Moxley fashions himself as a beast, but how is he going to feel when someone goes that much further than him? Hangman made it clear that his only glimmer of hope was in beating Jon Moxley.
Rehabilitating The Hangman
Before I get to the match itself, it’s important to establish that beyond this feud, this program is all about rehabilitating Hangman Adam Page since his title loss to CM Punk at Double or Nothing 2022. Hangman Page was pushed right out of the top programs due to that “one thing” he said to Punk, and according to some reporters, had been written out of plans in AEW for the rest of the year. And then CM Punk, after being crowned World Champion in his hometown of Chicago, beating Jon Moxley in the main event of All Out, was still unhappy about one thing said about him by Hangman Page and turned into 1996 Hulk Hogan saying, “OBSERVE THIS BROTHER!” and burning a copy of the Pro Wrestling Torch over unverified wrestling rumours. Only instead of a copy of the Torch, he’s now setting All Elite Wrestling on fire. Punk in a press conference after All Out said Hangman Page, former AEW World Champion, accomplished nothing in this business.
With Punk suspended due to his actions at All Out (more about the fight he had with Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks and not so much what he said about Hangman Page), it was time for someone to step up and take leadership of the locker room. The three to step up were Chris Jericho, Bryan Danielson, and Jon Moxley. Jericho would step up by taking the heat of CM Punk fans by saying he was no longer welcome, becoming public enemy number one over Punk not being around. Danielson would eventually work a program with MJF as World Champion, being his first major title defence on pay per view. Jon Moxley, after dropping said World Championship to MJF, contributed by doing this feud with Hangman Page.
Moxley’s personal goal was to rehabilitate Hangman Page into the top guy he once was before all of the events of the summer of 2022. And the way to do that was to allow Adam Page to take everything away from him in a final victory in a Texas Death Match at Revolution. While they are technically 2-2 for singles matches, Hangman Page did everything he set to do. He took everything from Moxley, the undisputed King of Giallo in AEW. The two men entered a cold dark alley and only one walked out.
Texas Death Leads to Rebirth
In the Texas Death Match, Hangman Page started hot but showed he didn’t have much understanding in what to do with barbed wire, trying to wrap it around his leg and body. Moxley capitalized by setting up several traps and taking the advantage, making it look like this match wouldn’t last long. Hangman, however, was able to throw Moxley into most of the traps he laid for himself, showing he’s the smarter of the two men. But Moxley is a maelstrom of bloodlust, stabbing at Page’s forehead with a fork, biting him open, tossing him off the ring into a barbed wire table set up on chairs, and sandwiching Page’s hand between a brick and flattening it. But for everything Moxley threw at Page, Page wouldn’t quit.
After choking Page out, Moxley shouted at Page to stay down. Hangman Page then uses a tug of war with the chain to clothesline Moxley and attempt to Deadeye him onto bricks. it was then when Moxley hit a low blow to get out of a choke attempt, only to eat a brick to the head for his efforts. The two men would stare down each other as Hangman Page set up for a Buckshot Lariat. Moxley, out of options, shot two middle fingers, wrapped up in a chain goading Hangman to hit him. Hangman Page hit the Buckshot, only for Moxley to get right back up. Hangman Page didn’t stand around in shock. He hit Moxley with a second lariat, and grabbed control of the chain. Moxley went over the ropes on the second lariat and that chain Page controlled was now around his neck.
With the chain wrapped around Moxley’s neck, there was nowhere left to go. Moxley would end up tapping out for the first time in over a decade in his pro wrestling career (the last time in WWE against The Undertaker as Dean Ambrose in The Shield) to give Hangman Page the victory by a submission hanging. It’s not just that he tapped out. He entered a cold dark alley and wasn’t the last man standing. No matter how much of an animal Jon Moxley was, no matter how many he beat to get to the top of the food chain, it was Hangman Page who proved he could be just as brutal. Just as dark. Just as vicious. It is with this the rehabilitation of Adam Page is complete. He’s no longer a former champion lost in the shuffle. He’s as high on the card as one can go without being the AEW World Champion.
Jon Moxley will likely have to take some time to think about the fact he lost by hanging at the hands of the man he didn’t think was an animal enough to go that far. Jon Moxley bet on victory by thinking Adam Page couldn’t become him. And he was correct.
Adam Page didn’t defeat Jon Moxley by becoming Jon Moxley. He defeated him by being The Hangman.