Adam Page scores big win over Bryan Danielson: What’s next for AEW champ?
Last month’s 60-minute time-limit draw with Bryan Danielson was “Hangman” Adam Page’s coming-out party as the new AEW world champ. The clean pinfall win over Danielson on Wednesday’s “Dynamite” established Page as a made man.
Page, the Aaron’s Creek, Va., native, and Virginia Tech alum, hung the first L on the former WWE champ since Danielson’s AEW debut in September.
Danielson had come into the matchup last night with a 13-0-2 record in his AEW tenure – the draws being former AEW world champ Kenny Omega in September in New York, and Page in the hour Broadway last month at Winter is Coming.
The stipulation for last night’s return match set another 60-minute time limit, with three judges – Paul Wight, Mark Henry and Jerry Lynn – scoring the bout in the event that we’d go to another draw.
The TV announce crew – Hall of Famer Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, an Augusta County native who got his start in broadcasting at Staunton’s WTON, and Excalibur – sold the heck out of this one going the time limit, noting that Danielson had controlled 70 percent of the first matchup, as the cameras panned to the judges, taking notes at ringside.
Danielson and Page did their part to sell the time limit as well, with methodical pacing early on very similar to last month’s draw.
Business, as JR is wont to say, picked up at around the 15-minute mark, with Page taking a headshot on the ring steps, then blading, his hair quickly absorbing the blood, turning the blonde streaks in the brown a shade of crimson.
Danielson would eventually blade as well, foretelling that we in fact weren’t going 60.
Way too much blood flowing way too early for us to go 60 with this one.
I was assuming at this point that there would be a schmozz ending of some sort – a run-in, perhaps, a Dusty finish, with a fall being counted with a foot on the ropes unnoticed by the referee, either way, setting up another installment in what would become a series of matches.
Danielson, at the 25-minute mark, hit his running knee finisher, and Page kicked out at two, which had the feeling of the first step toward the schmozz.
I expected Page to hit his buckshot lariat finish, knock Danielson toward the ropes, ahead of a count with a foot on the rope.
Didn’t happen that way.
Danielson was on his back in the middle of the ring.
Page scored the clean 1-2-3.
You can’t do much more if you’re Tony Khan to put over a young champ than give him a clean win over a Bryan Danielson.
Page is, barring injury, set up now for a long run as the AEW titleholder.
The storyline with the CM Punk-MJF feud has both talking about the ultimate winner there being the next #1 contender for Page, which has to get us thinking, who wins there?
MJF already has a series win over the inaugural AEW champ, Chris Jericho, so it would seem to be a comedown for him to lose to Punk.
But then, if Punk goes over, he is next in line for Page, setting up an interesting, and very bankable, business-wise, storyline for the spring.
Put Page over Punk, have MJF avenge his loss to Punk with a win over Danielson, and both are elevated for a potential blockbuster in the fall.
Work Omega back into the mix once he’s back from injury, maybe throw a dash of IWGP world champ Kazuchika Okada for a dream match or two, and you’ve got yourself some business.
The fantasy booking element to this aside, this is why you pay millions to vets like Punk and Danielson, one, to get mainstream eyeballs on the product, and then two, to ultimately use them to put over your young guys.
I like the general direction that things are going.
Story by Chris Graham