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Deserves has everything to do with it

AEW’s YouTube

World championship match

A story AEW’s been telling since before the company started should pay off in Minneapolis on Nov. 13.

The Road to Full Gear

I’ve written a lot about how much I love Hangman Page, his character arc, and his program with Kenny Omega. Others have done a better job of it, in things ranging from Twitter threads to YouTube videos. The preview the company put together for their Countdown to Full Gear special is pretty great. This late entry might be my favorite one, though...

We’ve also seen a full-on media blitz for this match, and the moment we should get at its conclusion. Men’s Health had a great interview with Page. Sports Illustrated had one with the reigning champion. Vice called the Anxious Millenial Cowboy the hero the world needs.

The Ballad of Hangman is deserving of all that hype. Both because it one of the best examples of a hero’s journey wrestling’s ever produced, and because it’s exactly the kind of long-term storytelling with attention to detail many fans have been clamoring for for decades. For example, Page’s apology & warning to The Young Bucks last night on Rampage was awesome storytelling in its own right, but did you notice Hangman’s wearing the same shirt he wore when they kicked him out of The Elite? And that in that scene he was relying on drinking to dull his pain, while this version of the cowboy - with his hard-earned and friend-supported confidence - doesn’t need one?

One crucial element of this that hasn’t had quite as much praise heaped on it is Omega’s performance. Kenny has an even longer arc as a talented wrestler who manages his insecurity in ways that aren’t always good for him, and his year long AEW World title reign’s been another great layer in that career-long story. He capped it on Wednesday night by dropping his usual affectations and most of his bluster for a contract signing segment where both men showed more vulnerability than we’re used to while still delivering a traditional pro wrestling scene.

This one’s been special, scripted fight fans. Nothing left to do but sit back and soak it all in, as Page does some cowboy shit at the PPV named for a Being The Elite angle.

What to watch for

Children cursing? Adults crying?

I plan on leaning in to my television and saying, “Good job, Hanger. I’m proud of you.” And I won’t be lying.

Poll

Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 87%
    Hangman Page
    (303 votes)
  • 12%
    Kenny Omega
    (45 votes)
348 votes total Vote Now