“Hangman” Adam Page went from high school teacher to AEW main-eventer.
One of the men in All Elite Wrestling’s inaugural title match is a veritable legend. The other may be unknown to many members of the audience—“Hangman” Adam Page.
Page faces Chris Jericho in the main event at AEW’s “All Out” in a match that will crown the new company’s first champion. Even if he doesn’t win, just participating in the match is a huge step for the 28-year-old’s career.
Page (real name Stevie Woltz) began training to be wrestler in high school and trained in college under Jimmy Valiant in Shawsville, Va. By 2011, he was working with Ring of Honor and was a staple on the mid-card before winning the Six-Man Tag Team Championships while teaming with The Young Bucks in 2017. During the early stages of his career, Page, who needed just two years to graduate from Virginia Tech with a degree in communications, worked full-time as a high school teacher in Virgilina, Va., a small town on the North Carolina border.
A major moment in Page’s career came in August 2016 at ROH’s “Death Before Dishonor XIV” when he defeated Jay Briscoe in an Anything Goes match. It was a rare singles defeat for Briscoe, a two-time ROH World Champion, and signaled the company’s faith in Page as a star in the making.
Page’s big break came in 2016 when he made his New Japan Pro Wrestling debut and began using the “Hangman” name. Though he never held a title, Page challenged for several of NJPW’s championships and participated in the famed G1 Climax tournament. Joining NJPW allowed Page to quit his teaching job and begin focusing on wrestling full-time.
“I found out that I was joining Bullet Club and going to work for New Japan just a few weeks before it happened, and it was something that kind of took me by surprise,” Page told Pittsburgh City Paper in 2018. “I hadn’t anticipated going that direction, but it was a great surprise. It caught me off guard, and one of the things that was suggested to me, since Adam Cole was joining Bullet Club, was that I have some sort of different name. Someone from New Japan suggested the name Hangman Page, and I’d take the gallows from Luke Gallows and fill that role a little bit.”
It was under the Hangman gimmick that Page started to find his stride as a performer. His ROH character had been fairly generic but the vest-wearing, rope-toting Hangman persona gave Page a new edge. The gimmick has undergone a few changes in its short life, most notably replacing the noose Page used to carry with a simple length of rope.
“I had the noose for a while, and I tried to be as sensitive as I could about in every way I possibly could, but I still had people writing me who were kind about it, but who had family members that had committed suicide and it made them uncomfortable, or maybe the racial connotations of me carrying a noose were uncomfortable, and I get that,” Page told City Paper. “I tried to be really sensitive about it, but it was something I wanted to get away from.”
Page’s work at home and abroad made him a hot commodity when he became a free agent last year. He was forced to choose between living out his childhood dream of joining WWE or sticking with his former Bullet Club mates and helping to launch AEW. Signing with the nascent promotion was a no-brainer.
“With All Elite I felt that I had the opportunity to do something huge for my career and just to have fun with my friends,” he told Sirius XM’s Busted Open Radio in July. “It was something we decided to do together. It was an easy decision.”
The decision proved to be a smart one, as AEW threw its full weight behind promoting Page as a top star. When a match against PAC fell through, Page was inserted into the battle royale at AEW’s debut “Double or Nothing” show. He was the last man standing in the 21-man match and earned himself a title match against the legendary Chris Jericho.
Whether or not he wins against Jericho, Page figures to be a big part of AEW’s future.