Ethan Page: All Ego Indeed

Even in a promotion of world-class talent and constant surprises, ‘All Ego’ Ethan Page continues to impress. Currently battling with long-time rival Darby Allin, Page is quickly becoming one of AEW’s standout antagonists, cementing himself as a character of note. Since its debut show just over two years ago, the promotion has had many a fresh face, but few have found their feet as swiftly as Page. Though a respected talent and worthy acquisition, that prediction wasn’t particularly common, almost lost within the sea of speculation.

Page arrived at Revolution, the mystery member of a multi-man ladder match. The same night, a hall of fame calibre signing was advertised and eventually delivered, as Christian Cage came onboard. That displaced Page from the headlines, as did an immediately infamous conclusion to the event. All things considered, that was no disaster, as Page was in it for the long haul anyway. This was a signing for tomorrow as well as today, though the latter seemed as though it would have to wait a moment or two first.

An experienced pro, Page certainly had something to offer but with so many moving pieces, didn’t feel like an immediate priority. After all, even established names entered with a necessary delay ahead, simply getting comfortable until a vacancy emerged. Page wasn’t a shocker either, as his debut instead confirmed the widespread assumption. AEW always felt like a natural step up the wrestling ladder for ‘All Ego’ but admittedly, I was somewhat unsure of his ceiling. Valuable? Certainly but a potential gamechanger? I wasn’t so confident.

Part of that was the promotion’s existing depth chart. AEW wasn’t short on villainy, already featuring a loaded line-up of monsters and mouths. As a result, the opening for Page wasn’t immediately apparent, but a very different route would soon be taken. Within weeks of his debut, Page was paired with Scorpio Sky, forming the team that’s now known as The Men of the Year. To Page himself, it was a puzzling choice, putting a newcomer alongside the original tag champs’ potential star.

Stepping away from SCU and eventually turning heel, Sky seemed set to finally explore a sustained singles stint. Instead, he found himself in another tandem, one without an obvious connection or chemistry too. It didn’t make much sense for Page either, who himself was only months removed from an extended tag run. In IMPACT Wrestling, the combination of Page and Josh Alexander were The North, a record-breaking unit that cemented themselves in the promotion’s history books. That’s quite the act to follow, regardless of tag team acumen.

In hindsight though, those initial fears were misguided and more, as major plans were in place. Not only that but almost immediately, this thing just worked, connected by an innate chemistry that shined through in every setting. Seemingly throwaway tag tilts were elevated by their dynamic, compelling in the most standard of showcases. That set the tone and once armed with a direction, The Men of the Year were quickly climbing the card. This wasn’t any old direction either, as Page and Sky targeted Darby Allin and Sting.

Sharing a violent history prior to AEW, Allin was a natural choice for Page, simply exposing their conflict to the wider wrestling world. Allin really brings the bully out of Page, and he doesn’t take much convincing either. Page is a brute opposite Allin, battering the already established top guy with such a raw resentment. That element was even explored on last week’s Dynamite, as Page admitted that he hates how much he inadvertently helped Allin’s career, irate at the pace of his own ascension by comparison.

There was a truth to his frustration too, always and forever framed as a future star. The assumption was that Page would inevitably make his way to international relevance, though that reassurance didn’t stop the wait. It may have been a formality to everyone else, but Page’s decade-plus of patience wasn’t erased. By contrast, Allin skyrocketed to the top while Page continued to crawl, now lashing out with each and every opportunity. That attention to detail is lost on the scouting report, but they are the intangibles that connect.

In many ways, that’s been the main lesson to be learnt from Page’s success thus far. On paper, Page is impressive but when positioned this prominently, he can produce performances that far out-weight his perceived pros and cons. Page has immense instincts, projecting something especially special when left to his own devices. He’s not doing this alone of course, paired with a great partner and two unparalleled rivals but even still, it really feels as though Page is organically making this story his own.

Not in a showy, selfish way either, he’s just incredibly compelling. This version of Page is everything that the ‘All Ego’ persona could ever hope to be, a virtually unmatched villain. Page is obviously arrogant, the obnoxious archetype that his nickname suggests. He’s more than that though, as there’s a very pronounced nastiness to his motivation. This isn’t just another cocksure antagonist, it’s a truly spiteful soul, as bitter as he is brash. Physically, Allin makes that particularly pronounced but it’s present in Page’s every act.

This character lives within him, which allows a certain conviction, a presence that packs a far heavier punch than the performative norm. It’s that rare ingredient that allows Page to so outwardly belong, even when surrounded by excellence. At Double or Nothing, Page stood alongside one of the promotion’s most versatile grapplers, a silky smooth performer that brings a unique sense of danger to his impressive dynamism. Together, they stood opposite a perennial main eventer and future world champion as well as his mentor, ‘The Icon’ Sting. Clearly, that last name speaks for itself.

In less than three months, Page had earned his place in a genuine PPV attraction, shining brighter than ever among a squad of stars. I assumed that Page would be featured in some form or fashion initially, maybe even prominently but at this level? Not now, maybe not ever in truth. With each outing though, Page proves another point, further distancing me from that bizarre prior perception. Ethan Page isn’t just a part of this roster, he’s a major player, set to make a difference for the next decade and more.

‘All Ego’ isn’t another character in AEW’s story but instead, he’s the main character of his own. At the moment though, there are few stories more interesting than that, Page’s sinister pursuit of success. In his mind, it’s revenge for a simple wrong: not just getting out of his way.

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