Posts Tagged ‘Kenny Omega’

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: “Hangman” Adam Page Pt. 3

January 31, 2022

Kenny Omega had defeated Jon Moxley for the title at the Winter is Coming on December 20, 2020. The two had had a long and storied rivalry in both New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Elite Wrestling. Their bloody rivalry had included Mox brutalizing Kenny Omega, causing damage to his confidence and ego. He needed a win and the two had a long and violent match. It ended with Kenny Omega winning with the help of his longtime friend and fellow Canadian Don Callis. Callis and Omega tried to frame the win as an accident at first but it was clear that they had conspired to cheat together so Kenny could be crowned AEW Heavyweight Champion. Callis took over The Elite as their manager s “the invisible hand” who had guided Kenny’s career from the start.

Omega became corrupt under the guidance of Callis and the Elite grew, bringing in old friends Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson. Callis spread through the group like a sickness, making them overconfident and more prone to cheating to win. They faced down anybody remotely good in AEW and remained victorious. Still, they had become a shadow of the dominant faction they had once been. They were the Patriots, hated in tainted victory. They feuded with Mox, the Death Triangle, and Eddie Kingston in some chaotic matches. Omega and Callis started to claim that nobody could beat them.

The Dark Order had become true friends and supporters to “Hangman” Adam Page. Their spokesman, Evil Uno, started to make public challenges. He would say that their friend Page could beat Omega and that the Dark Order would equalize the Elite’s numbers advantage. They were interested in a fair fight for their friend. Hangman would berate his friends telling them that they should not make challenges on his behalf. He was pursuing the Heavyweight Title but anybody could see that he was worthy if he just believed in himself as much as The Dark Order believed in him. Finally, they convinced Hangman to make the challenge himself.

After negotiation with Callis, it was decided that Hangman and the Dark Order would face Omega and The Elite in a five-on-five tag match. If Hangman’s team won, Hangman would get to challenge Omega for the title and Evil Uno and Stu Grayson would challenge The Young Bucks for the tag titles. If they lost, Hangman would be placed at the bottom of the rankings and would have to fight his way back up the ladder again. Hangman and the Dark Order made an entrance and fought a match befitting their heart and fortitude. However, the Elite cheated again and Hangman fell short again. Cheating or no, the opportunity he had fought so hard to believe in had slipped through his fingers.

Hangman told the Dark Order that he wanted to be alone again for a while to think. He did not blame them for the loss but he needed to collect himself. Members of The Dark Order reacted differently to this statement. Eventually, those differences caused a rift and eventual Dark Order civil war as the group’s frustrations boiled over. During this time, a lot of The Dark Order saw a lot of growth in their characters. The strife between factions continued until the anniversary of their leader Brodie’s death. At that point, Brodie’s widow and his oldest son convinced the group to get over their differences and reunite as friends.

Meanwhile, Hangman had disappeared and it was known that he had taken time off to reflect but also for the birth of his first child. He took a good long paternity leave instead of playing into The Elite’s plan of making him fight back through the undercard. His family was more important. However, somebody else decided to believe in “Hangman” Adam Page and this time it was All Elite Wrestling. They awarded him the final spot in a ladder match for an opportunity at the AEW Heavyweight Championship battle. The Hangman that returned was full of love not only for his friends and family but also for himself. He finally fully believed in himself.

Hangman started a campaign of revenge against his old friends in The Elite with the help of his new friends in The Dark Order. During a Halloween episode, the Dark Order pulled off an Ocean’s 11-esque trick which allowed Hangman to sneak attack The Elite, gaining momentum for his upcoming title fight. AEW Full Gear pay per view was the date. This was the perfect event for this match to happen for two reasons. It was the one-year anniversary of the last Full Gear which was the last time that Omega and Page had wrestled one on one where Omega had won. The name of the pay per view was also born from a joke that Hangman had originated on YouTube.

The championship match was not easy. Both competitors and their allies had brought everything they had to the battle but in the end, it was one on one. Page poured all of his heart into the match and refused to lay down for his old friend, Omega. They traded so many blows with Callis trying to cheat at every turn. Page had an answer for everything and he was doing it without The Dark Order. At the end of a long and brutal match, Page had Omega dead to rights with his signature Buckshot Lariat. The Young Bucks jumped up on the apron to interfere but they looked into their old friend’s eyes and decided to let him have it. This left Hangman to call The Dark Order to the ring to celebrate. A feel-good ending to an almost three-year storyline.

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Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Internet Presence

September 16, 2019

WILPW

Obviously, the world of professional wrestling preceded the Internet and existed without it for a long time. In fact, the way pro-wrestling used to work was because there was no Internet and the communication within the community was really slow. Promotions could run the same exact matches in every town without worrying about spoilers. Everybody was shrouded in mystery because it was hard to trade notes on rumors and scraps of information that people could get. Everything was divided into territories and you had to constantly reintroduce characters from across the country to people. With the advent of the Internet, the business had to change and evolve. They struggled with it at first with particularly embarrassing segments seen in old WCW and WWF pay per views.

Nowadays, things have advanced to a whole new level. Companies like WWE use services like YouTube to put out extra content that occurs during commercials or after events are over to further storylines or highlight characters. However, what I am interested in here is how individual performers can use the Internet to further their own presence and improve their careers. The first example of it happening that I can think of is Zack Ryder who created his own online show called Long Island Iced Z where he produced his own content and was allowed to be goofy. It forced WWE to briefly accept his Internet popularity and use him more on the actual television shows. Stars like The New Day (through Austin Creed) have used YouTube to get their brand out better when they felt ignored by the WWE.

However, what really sparked this post is that I recently started binging the YouTube show Being the Elite. BTE was created by Matt and Nick Jackson who are collectively known in the business as The Young Bucks. The two brothers had joined a group called The Bullet Club (thankfully they have abandoned this name) and created a subgroup along with Kenny Omega called The Elite. They created their show on YouTube at first as a travelogue as they traveled back and forth from Japan and across the United States. It allowed fans to see a filtered version of who they were in real life and it often included their friends as well. They started showing segments of them goofing off in their hotel rooms, backstage, or going out on the town. They also used the show to get their catchphrases and character quirks out into the world better.

 

At one point, the Bucks had gathered together a group of good friends that included Kenny Omega, Adam Page, Cody Rhodes, Marty Scurll, and Adam Cole. This is the point where they first started to further major storylines in the show. The Bucks and their friends were working across several separate promotions between New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor, and others. They used their YouTube show to knit together and flesh out their storylines between their various appearances. Their first major storyline was the infighting between Adam Cole and Kenny Omega who was the leader of the Bullet Club. It ended with them murdering Adam Cole which gave an in-universe explanation for his disappearance since Cole had signed with the WWE in real life. At that point, the show really took off as a travelogue, a sketch comedy show, and a platform for the furthering of storylines.

As time went by, new regular castmembers joined the show as they would regularly send footage to the Bucks to edit into the show. They added Brandi Rhodes, Scorpio Sky, Frankie Kazarian, Christopher Daniels, actor Stephen Amell, Joey Ryan, and Flip Gordon. At some point, they even made a celebrity out of their translator/gopher in Japan who is named Masa. Flip Gordon, in particular, benefited from the show as he was new to the business and it allowed him to get his brand out there better. The show evolved further and they were able to solidify a lot of regular bits and running gags. I think my all-time favorite regular bit involves the members of So Cal Uncensored (Scorpio Sky, Frankie Kazarian, and Christopher Daniels) who regularly talk about every town they visit is the worst town they’ve ever been to and how much they want to get back to Southern California.

More recently, the show was used to launch the largest independent wrestling show in history called All In which included a lot of storylines started on Being the Elite. They rode that momentum and left Ring of Honor and New Japan to start their own promotion called All Elite Wrestling. Backed by billionaire Tony Khan and TNT, they are poised to create a huge splash in the business. Sadly, this meant that they had to leave behind their friends Marty and Flip who are still signed to Ring of Honor and Joey Ryan who decided to stick with independent wrestling. The prevailing thought is that Marty and Flip will join them once their contracts are up. In the meantime, Being the Elite has been flooded with the future stars of AEW like Sammy Guevara, MJF, Britt Baker, The Librarians, Chris Jericho, and so many more. Television for AEW stars up on TNT in October and the Bucks still don’t know whether or not they will continue BTE. They and their friends are executives in the new company along with their on-screen performer duties so the show might have to end out of necessity.

Until then, it is exciting to see where the show goes and I continue to binge past episodes. I also need to watch some of the spin-off show The Nightmare Family (starring Cody and Brandi). If the show continues to stick around, it will continue to innovate and entertain. It has done wonders for the careers of its cast and introduced future stars to people who may have never heard their names. It is a positive movement on a medium that can be very negative.


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