Impact's Ethan Page breaks out before contract expires - Sports Illustrated

Impact’s Ethan Page Weighs His Options After Breakout 2020 as Free Agency Looms

Ethan Page will be a free agent at the end of 2020 but he’s not eager to leave Impact Wrestling, where he’s blossomed into one of the promotion’s top stars.
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The work of Ethan Page has been a revelation this year.

Starring for Impact Wrestling, Page spent the first six months of the year alongside Josh Alexander as Impact’s tag-team champions. Teaming together as the North has significantly elevated their standing in wrestling, laying a foundation of compelling content whenever they appear on Impact programming.

The North does not yet have a match for Impact’s Bound for Glory pay-per-view on Oct. 24, but there should be more definition regarding their next program following Tuesday night’s match on Impact! against Ace Austin and Madman Fulton.

“We’ve got a list of tag teams in Impact Wrestling that can say their best matches are with the North, and we look forward to adding another team to that list with Ace and Madman,” Page says. “We’re the best tag team in the world, and we don’t mind giving someone their career highlight.”

Page, 31-year-old Julian Micevski, has completely transformed his look over the past 12 months. He always had charisma on the microphone and in the ring, but now also offers one of the top physiques in wrestling.

“Someone tweeted me recently and said, Ethan Page finally looks like the way he’s always thought about himself,” Page says. “It made me laugh, but that’s totally true. I’ve always thought of myself as a top-level talent. I’ve always carried myself as a top-level talent. There was one hole in my game, so I made sure to eliminate that. Now I truly believe I’m on another level and one of the best professional wrestlers in the world when it comes to every aspect of the game.”

In addition to adding muscle and definition to his body, he also helped bring life to Impact, both on and off camera. He has taken pride in building a new reputation for the promotion, which has developed its strongest identity in years after facing serious financial difficulties in 2017.

“If someone is willing to put my name on a contract and lock me down for a certain amount of it, I am going to represent as positively as I can,” Page says. “Impact started promoting my vlog, and people watching got a glimpse of that locker room camaraderie. It’s more of a family environment backstage now more than ever, especially with the new additions.

“The perception of the company is changing slowly, and if you want to give me a little credit for that, I’ll take it. My goal has been to make Impact a destination and a cool place to perform. And because I know the length of my contract, I want this place to be looked at as somewhere cool, because it’s where I am.”

Page’s current deal expires at the end of the year. If he reaches free agency, he will draw interest from WWE and AEW, but his preference is to extend his run with Impact and continue rebuilding the company into a major player.

“Truthfully, I’ve been getting a lot of flack for posting so many shirtless photos online,” Page says with a laugh. “I’m trying to change the perception of Ethan Page. I’m looking to convince Impact Wrestling to sign me to a new house. I’m tired of stepping on toys in my living room. My kid needs a playroom in a new house, so I’m trying to change my home life through my professional life. I’m trying to convince the world to stop looking at me as the charismatic, handsome, somewhat pudgy Ethan Page, and start looking at me as model-actor–world-renowned-superstar Ethan Page.

“Impact has been amazing. They’re allowing me the opportunity to chat with other companies, and they’re handling this in an extremely professional manner. I’m open to chatting with other people, but my interest is hearing how Impact values me and what they’re willing to offer.”

A backstage presence for the company, Page is a constant advocate for and supporter of his peers. But his greatest value is as an in-ring asset. Page possesses the presence, appeal and skill necessary to lead a company, especially Impact, where a very organic story could be told if he ever shifts to singles and pursues the world title. And he would not necessarily need to go the traditional route of turning on his tag partner. His work with Josh Alexander is some of the best in wrestling, and the pairing fits so well because of the effort they have put into complementing each other’s strengths over the past nine years.

“We made the choice to become a tag team,” explains Page. “We originally thought we were solo acts. I used the PWI 500 to convince Josh to become a tag team. Every year, there are 500 wrestlers all competing to be number one. There are not 500 tag teams. There’s not even 50.

“So I asked him, ‘Why don’t we put our efforts together? I’ll be the loudmouth and you’ll be the ass-kicker, and we’ll become a tag team and start traveling the roads.’ That’s when we started wrestling the Young Bucks, wrestling in PWG and AAW, and traveling all over as a team and eventually becoming the North in Impact.”

Page and Alexander offer vastly different personalities and presentation but connect through a relentless pursuit of excellence and shared mindset.

“I want all the attention, and Josh wants all the action,” Page says. “If Josh Alexander is on a wrestling card, there is never a night where he is not trying to have the best match. If you’re paying him to lace his boots, you’re paying him to steal the show. When it comes to performing, that is his addiction. He is a very physical performer, and he is such an addict to detail and to the very small nuances of pro wrestling. He loves pro wrestling, he’s a world class athlete, and people are finally recognizing that.”

Already the longest-reigning tag champs in Impact history, a return bout with the Motor City Machine Guns, who beat them for the titles in July, would add another component to the upcoming Bound for Glory pay-per-view. But with or without the belts, Page is fully aware of what he and Alexander have created, sustained and continue to enhance with the North.

“There is no tag team that beats the North,” Page says. “We carry ourselves as a team. We barely do solo maneuvers in the ring. We go out of our way to hold the tag rope, tagging in and out to make sure it’s the legal man in the ring. We’ve spent so many hours together on the road that we can link our minds when performing. This is an art form we obsess over, and we’re going to take every opportunity Impact gives us and knock it out of the park.”

Whether his future is next to Alexander or in a solo role, the essence of Page is captured in between the ropes. He has a genuine affinity for wrestling, which extends over two decades, well past his time tape-trading and learning every detail possible about the indie scene. That passion is embedded into every move and promo, adding even more depth to his work. Page also grasps that his stock only rises with each compelling performance, which is why his goal is to make Impact! must-see viewing every time he steps on screen.

“I’m trying to re-create what I felt as a wrestling fan for wrestling fans,” Page says. “That stomach-drop feeling when you’re watching, the catchphrases, my goal is creating memories for wrestling fans. So if you’re looking for the most charismatic, well-spoken man in professional wrestling, you can catch him every Tuesday night on AXS TV.”

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.