“I love it when a plan comes together.”
– Hannibal Smith, The A-Team
I’ve been watching wrestling since the Attitude Era. I’ve spent a lot of hours watching a lot of wrestling in general. Nothing, and I mean nothing, has me so involved than AEW’s Kenny Omega story. It isn’t a premiere story – it isn’t the Inner Circle, whatever is going on with Cody and his red belt, and it isn’t Orange Cassidy and pushing the envelope of professional wrestling’s fourth wall. It is a story engineered by great timing, proper pacing, and massive repercussions. It has the power to make Kenny Omega something even more otherworldly than he already is.
The fact we are getting a Page and Omega fight for an AEW world title shot is amazing. But it hasn’t been a big, massively pushed issue of the show. It is a b-plot to a overarching program of many different movements. The only time Kenny has truly reached a peak of AEW, it was part of the tag team division with his partner and current opponent at Full Gear, “Hangman” Adam Page. These two were the two guys in “the Elite,” a faction so flimsy it feels completely dead at the moment, even if they did all stand in a ring together at each other’s aid last Wednesday. So, to prove everyone wrong, they got a chance at tag team gold and gained them faster than their mates, the Young Bucks. And everything was supposed to be like it was.
It’s easy to go further back to when all of these guys were stronger friends (read: Bullet Club) and destined for nothing but certain greatness. But now, the Bucks are fighting for their right to obtain and defend the tag team belts in a division that is easily the best in the world. And Page and Omega? They’re about to face off in the final of a tournament that will give each of them another shot at the biggest moment of their AEW careers. Kenny previously lost to Chris Jericho in a bout that could’ve had this fight happen much sooner had Kenny won, since Page had already won the inaugural Casino Battle Royale because PAC had pulled out of the event. And Page has even had a title shot, losing to Jericho, as well.
This has been brewing for quite some time, obviously. Whether you want to mention the tension put in place during their time in NJPW together or simply mention the story of these two as a tag team, the main point of the issue at stake here with these two is… they never really liked each other. Sure, they tolerated one another, but it never clicked. Even when they could show off great chemistry from working together, that’s less them working together and more them showing off they have the talent to pull it off. Multiple times throughout their tag team run, they would often apply finishers and signature moves to each other trying to finish their opponent off – a rare wrinkle in the “tag team that isn’t a tag team” story.
But all of this really culminates in both of their main arcs right now. Kenny Omega has been inching closer and closer to becoming the full blown second version of his very, very popular gimmick, The Cleaner. All while Kenny has changed his entrance from a dramatic, big moment to now a very tongue-in-cheek and ironic twist on the entrance itself. All while Page has just drank more and more whiskey while wearing longer pants. That’s it.
Page has surely had some moments here and there on BTE, including a few great moments with Brandon Cutler, but he is sincerely been painted as the same individual he was when he was in the tag team before. The anxious millennial cowboy. He has had great matches in the tournament with Colt Cabana and Wardlow and kept his record in as good fashion as possible. He has done all you can ask a wrestler to do in this company, yet his opponent is someone who has broken the limits of wrestling even with him as an ally.
There is no right or wrong way for Page to feel about Omega because he never really felt anything for him to begin with. They were in the same group at the same time, and they had tag team title belts, but they were never a team. If Page loses, it could possibly break him in multiple ways, being that close to Pretty Platinum and losing again.
And while Kenny is receding to a past not forgotten, he is doing it in a way never seen before. Knowing he is the world’s greatest wrestler and everyone is behind him is part of the sell for his entrances by Justin Roberts now. He has fully realized how to use his impact on wrestling in a character we all know and want. And this isn’t a knock on what he has done so far. He’s been in all of the best AEW matches, including his unsanctioned match against Jon Moxley, the tag team title defense with Page against the Bucks at Revolution earlier this year (this feels like AGES ago), and the multiple bouts against PAC reign over many if not all bouts in the entire company so far.
Kenny only has one thing left to do, and that’s grab the main belt of the company he put his stock into instead of staying “home” at New Japan. Kenny Omega, the world’s greatest wrestler, is nothing without that belt at this point. And if he loses to Page, it may trigger (heh) something really nasty or a full transformation of the Cleaner comes and he sets his target on Page from the get-go, possibly ruining his chances against Moxley/Kingston/someone else later.