All Elite Wrestling star Adam "Hangman" Page said Wednesday that he considered signing with WWE before joining AEW.
In an interview with Brian Campbell on State of Combat (h/t Ross Kelly of WrestlingInc.com), Page praised WWE's handling of the courtship process, but he added that signing with WWE didn't feel like the right move at the time:
"That was an option for me at one point. It was something for me that I heavily considered, but you know, it didn't feel right for me at that time, and I really couldn't say enough how pleasant everyone was to deal with with the talks and negotiations. It was very professional, and honestly, they were not on the bottom of the list, either.
"They were more after me than most I would say. They put a lot more effort into me and time than others did, so it was a real consideration, but I guess when I was a kid that was [what] you wanted to do—you wanted to grow up and be in the WWE because it's the biggest thing ever—but it just didn't feel right and didn't become a goal for me anymore. It wasn't something that became an interest to me because of the name brand alone. When it came down to it, doing this other thing seems so much more rewarding and fulfilling."
By signing with AEW, Page ensured that he will stay close to Elite stablemates Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks.
Page will also have an opportunity to help build something from the ground up:
"I would say that about 95 percent of it was because of the game-changer they are. At some point, when people start throwing money at you, at some point, they are just numbers. And at some point you realize that you will be all right.
"Knowing that I can be fulfilled creatively and can have a big place at the table and knowing that I can contribute to bettering wrestling, furthering wrestling and creating another option with all the friends I met along the way in wrestling, that was ultimately the biggest thing I can get out of all of this. It was more rewarding than anything else could have been."
Page likely could have made good money in WWE, but creative freedom tends to be fleeting in the company, and his comments suggest that it is of great importance to him.
In AEW, Page will likely have the green light to offer a significant amount of creative input since Cody, Omega and The Young Bucks are all executive vice presidents of the company.
It also already seems clear that Page is being positioned as one of AEW's top stars since he is scheduled to face Pac (former WWE Superstar Neville) at Double or Nothing in Las Vegas on May 25.
Although it can be argued that competing in WWE would have given Page a bigger platform, AEW announced a partnership with WarnerMedia on Wednesday that will see a weekly television show air on TNT later this year, with content also streaming on B/R Live.
AEW is positioned to make a big splash in the wrestling industry, and Page looks to be a significant part of that.
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