This Saturday night, Chris Jericho and “Hangman” Adam Page will headline AEW’s All Out pay-per-view to crown the promotion’s first World Heavyweight Champion. This is not only a crucial outing for Jericho and AEW; it is the biggest match of Page’s career. There are many storytelling avenues to travel. However, the big questions remains, who should be the first AEW Champion ?
AEW is a new wrestling company who will introduce the world to a new cast of wrestling characters. Some we already know, like Chris Jericho. Others most will meet for the first time, such as Adam Page. AEW is going with a sports-centric presentation for their product. This means the world champion will be their most essential character. Should AEW’s first champion be a rising star or an established superstar?
Adam Page was pegged for success from the moment he made his professional debut in 2011 for Ring of Honor. Page entered New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2016 as a member of the Bullet Club. It was during his time with the popular stable where Page began to find his footing as a top-level performer while adopting the “Hangman” ring-name.
“Hangman” Page is a favorite among diehard fans. However, there will be more casual viewers watching AEW’s television show, debuting October 2nd on TNT. Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks will be introduced to a mainstream audience and will have to get over based on their character and talent. If Adam Page is the champion, his role will have instant credibility to the uninitiated.
From Monday Night Jericho all the way to the man with the infamous clipboard, Chris Jericho has been a wrestling superstar on television for twenty-three years. He’s reinvented himself repeatedly over the course his career and is one of the best to ever do it. At forty-eight years old, the work Jericho’s produced with his current Clock Work Orange inspired persona has been some of the best of his career.
Jericho being the inaugural AEW Champion could be a double-edged sword. If AEW comes off as a major league wrestling product, Jericho is the exalted king of the new hot promotion. However, if AEW comes off as bush league, Jericho would become the big fish in a small pond.
Some would say Jericho vs. Page represents the past colliding with the present to dictate the future. To many, AEW will hopefully be the future of wrestling, and perhaps Page will be its representative. Jericho has been there and done that. However, he’s not a veteran who’s past his prime. Jericho’s career renaissance since leaving WWE has made him more relevant than ever.
While the title could bring credibility to Adam Page, Chris Jericho will bring credibility to the title. Jericho became the first undisputed world champion in 2001, and it’s only fitting he becomes the first AEW World Champion in 2019. All signs point to AEW coming out of the gate with a strong wrestling product. TV shows need popular characters to thrive, and there are none bigger on the roster than Jericho.
The best scenario is to build up Hangman Page for a few months on television following a Jericho title win on pay-per-view. Then, pick a date, hype of the episode, and have Page go over on Jericho for the belt. TNT is going to get more viewers than any AEW pay-per-view will garner. The key to a successful Hangman title reign is to have the largest audience possible withness his journey and capture the gold.
As for August 31st, Chris Jericho is the man who should be champion.