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Virginia native Adam Page shines in best TV wrestling match since Flair-Steamboat

adam page bryan danielson
Adam Page presses the advantage on Bryan Danielson at AEW Winter is Coming. Photo courtesy All Elite Wrestling.

It started becoming apparent a couple of minutes in that the Adam Page-Bryan Danielson AEW world title match on Wednesday’s “Dynamite” was booked to be a one-hour Broadway.

That doesn’t stop it from being the best TV wrestling match since Ric Flair-Ricky Steamboat in 1989.

And the booking was done such that, OK, we know this is going an hour, but what if they pull an Omega-Okada I and give us a fall at the 45-minute mark?

There were enough near-falls and believable submission efforts in the last 20 minutes to keep us bought in.

You’d expect this out of Danielson, a former ROH and WWE champ who came to AEW as a face, and has seamlessly made the transition to the promotion’s top heel for this feud.

For Page, though, native of Aarons Creek, Va., down near South Boston, in Halifax County, graduate of Boogie’s Wrestling Camp, down in Shawsville, between Roanoke and Blacksburg, this was his coming-out party.

And that’s saying something for a guy who just won the AEW title in the main event of “Full Gear” a month ago with a win over Kenny Omega.

Omega, we learned later, was damaged goods going into “Full Gear,” with shoulder injuries that would necessitate some time off, so it was possible that Page, 30, was being used as an interstitial champion, to get us from Omega to Danielson, ahead of a possible Danielson-CM Punk dream match in the months ahead.

That is clearly and emphatically not the case now after Wednesday’s classic.

There’s really no better way to establish a young champion than an hour Broadway on national TV with someone the caliber of Danielson.

I mean, sure, you could have put Page over, but, no, it’s too early for that, for Danielson to do a job, a clean job, anyway, and it would need to be a clean job, with Page as the face champ.

No, a draw with Danielson, with Page just having hit his Buckshot Lariat finisher as the final seconds counted down, is an ideal way to elevate the young champ.

Because it makes us want a rematch, maybe eventually without a time limit, reminiscent of the booking of the Omega-Okada series, which culminated in a winner-take-all no-time-limit match at the 2018 Wrestle Kingdom, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves there.

There’s also an adjacent storyline playing out between Punk and MJF, with Punk suggesting in a recent promo that the winner of that feud would be set up to be in line for the winner of the Page-Danielson feud.

We can see these dance partners switching back and forth for the next year.

To logically get there, we needed Page to be legitimized, oddly enough, even though he’s the current champ.

Danielson and Punk already have bona fides, and MJF, by virtue of his 3-1 series win over inaugural AEW champ Chris Jericho, is a made man in his own right.

This week’s draw now gives us an interesting main-event-level quartet to work around for the foreseeable future.

And, we got it for free, which is pretty smart on the part of booker Tony Khan.

This is what long-term booking looks like, huh?

I kinda like it.

Story by Chris Graham

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