It’s been a long few weeks since my last episode in this series, which focused on Kenny Omega and Shinsuke Nakamura. That episode was relatively well-received, so after a brief hiatus, I’m back once again to give their partners the same treatment! If you don’t know what this article is, it’s a purely speculative look at what might happen if two wrestlers from the most prominent wrestling promotions today were to switch places and go to the opposite show. I focus primarily on the tendencies of the bookers and the crowd response. Today’s episode features Hangman Adam Page and Cesaro! How far would Hangman go in WWE? Would Cesaro do the honors for Cody? Let’s find out! As always, we’ll start with the bigger star of the two.
Cesaro gets top billing here, based on the success he’s had with WWE. He’s been a US champion and won multiple tag team titles, but how would he fare in AEW? I’ve covered Roman Reigns, Nakamura, and R-Truth jumping ship so far, but I think Cesaro would have the easiest time with it. Cesaro fits the narrative of being “underused” or “buried” by the WWE creative department, so I’m sure there are fans clamoring for him to jump ship, even though he and Nakamura are currently the tag team champions on Smackdown. Because of this, it doesn’t matter if they try to portray him as either a babyface or heel, the fans will treat him like a hero anyway.
I think signing Cesaro would be a smart decision by AEW, but every decision they make in terms of booking seems to be ill-informed. Because he is one of the most technically sound wrestlers today, every match he wrestles for them can only make the promotion look better. Putting him on the fast track to a title match isn’t the answer though. Much like they did with Brodie Lee and Lance Archer, I think they’ll try to put him straight into a title match, which only devalues their homegrown talent. It’s TNA all over again. Still, Cesaro can beat every single one of those guys in the ring, and it wouldn’t make sense to put him against the common street rabble anyway. His signing will go much the same way as FTR’s did. Lots of fanfare in the beginning and the fans will have a match they’ll want to see right away, but the Young Bucks will eventually get involved and it’ll make no sense.
The verdict on Cesaro to AEW is: After a big debut (and possibly even a win over Cody), he’ll get sucked into the black hole of charisma and talent that is the Elite. After that, he’ll settle into the mid-card where he’s most comfortable. His matches will be the best on the show because there’s nothing he can’t do.
“Hangman” Adam Page
What can I say about Hangman that I haven’t said already? He looks fantastic, he can talk, and he has a ton of promise. I just think it’s being wasted with him as part of the Elite. He doesn’t fit in there at all. Sure, he was a tag team champion forever in AEW, but that entire run was bungled by bad booking. They took somebody with all the natural gifts to be a wrestler and made him an unreliable alcoholic! Personally, I think a move to WWE would be best for Adam Page, but how would he be received? We know the AEW crowd hates everything that doesn’t appeal to their delicate sensibilities, but Hangman appears to be the exception. He looks like he could be a major star in the mainstream. If there was one person Vince McMahon would jump to sign to NXT, I think it would be Hangman. In any event, he’s a natural babyface who likes to drink beer and kick ass. Where have I seen that before? The NXT fans would love him, but I’d say drop the alcoholism and stick with Cowboy Shit.
I can see him being a big star on RAW after a relatively short run in NXT! He’s the most likely AEW wrestler I’ve covered to become a world champion! As much promise as he has in AEW, Hangman knows by now there’s only so far he can go before he hits the glass ceiling, thanks mostly to Kenny and the Young Bucks. If he went to NXT, he’d grow more as a wrestler and there would be nobody on the roster who tries to hold him down. While Cesaro going to AEW would be beneficial to the brand itself, Hangman going to WWE would be beneficial to him as a talent.
The verdict on Hangman to NXT is: After debuting as a heel in NXT, he knocks out whoever the champion is at the time with his flippity flop clothesline. After a well-received rivalry that lasts six to eight months and turns him babyface, Hangman goes to the main roster at a breakneck pace. After he arrives, he interrupts Seth Rollins mid-promo with a beer in hand and says the people have had enough of this. Time to do some COWBOY SHIT! Hangman goes over Seth Rollins three times in succession and becomes the next major star for WWE.