When Kenny Omega won the AEW World Championship on the Dec. 2 episode of Dynamite, he seemingly accomplished the goal that many New Japan Pro-Wrestling fans had set out for him.
In the process, the Canadian officially broke bad and introduced the American audience to an updated version of The Cleaner. Then, he took it a step further when he took his newly acquired title to Impact Wrestling and started his pursuit for industry-wide dominance.
Over the last 230-plus days as champion, The Best Bout Machine has become increasingly divisive as revels in his new megalomaniacal persona. His bid to collect rare championship gold and cartoonishly grandiose posturing makes him so much fun to hate. But he's also living up to his namesake as he produces some truly incredible title defenses for both All Elite Wrestling and Impact.
Love him or hate him, Omega is at the top of his game. This raises the question: Who can possibly dethrone The Collector and take his place at the top of the company?
Heavy is the Head That Wears the Crown
Despite his nefarious tactics, Omega has been an excellent representative for AEW. He has raised the bar in terms of match quality and exposure, and the company's world title feels more prestigious than ever as he has carried it and defended it outside of AEW.
Even more, the 37-year-old has created a Herculean threat that has brought the best out of new contenders and up-and-coming stars.
At Double or Nothing, Orange Cassidy answered the call and proved he is a future mainstay in the main event scene. Similarly, Jungle Boy looked like the star many of us projected he would become when he unsuccessfully challenged for the AEW world title on the June 26 edition of Saturday Night Dynamite.
The Cleaner also lifted Rich Swann to the biggest match of his career in their Winner Take All bout at Impact Wrestling's Rebellion pay-per-view. The sensational high-flyer wasn't able to ward off Omega's quest for immortality, but he showed some real heart and tenacity in defeat.
Omega's greatest strength over the last few months has been his ability to elevate his competition and generate enough vitriol against him that viewers are desperate to see someone take him down. That's the mark of a great villain and a formidable champion. To his credit, that's quite a task because some fans called for him to become a world-beater the second he signed with AEW.
Nevertheless, the job isn't done until the right challenger galvanizes an unquestionable amount of support around their attempt to unseat him. It seems like that time has come as the groundswell of encouragement behind "Hangman" Adam Page has reached a fever pitch.
Page's Road to Redemption
During AEW's inaugural year, Page emerged as an unlikely favorite to become its first world champion. New fans were apathetic at best until he fell short of his dream and transformed into one of the most complex characters on the roster. Now, his journey back to the title picture is the hottest long-term storyline on Dynamite.
Over the last few weeks, the 29-year-old has enjoyed the loudest reaction at live shows. It's unbelievable but it's also a testament to the patience the company has displayed as it crafted his preordained rise to glory.
When the Halifax, Virginia native finally attains his major championship win, it will be rightfully his time.
However, he still has to go through his former tag team partner and friends, The Elite, to do so. In Omega, Page will have to face a man who has won at the highest level and excelled against a caliber of opponents that he hasn't stood among yet.
The Best Bout Machine's four matches with Kazuchika Okada are legendary. But Page hasn't achieved anything that is held in such high regard yet, and that's what makes his underdog story so compelling.
AEW All Out is the site of his greatest failure. In 2019, Chris Jericho bested him to win the vacant AEW World Championship. A year later, he and Omega lost the tag titles to FTR. So, it would be fitting to see him vanquish his demon, as the company returns to the venue where it all started.
Omega's Inevitable Downfall
It's clear that Omega has the right opponent to potentially drop the title to, but is this the right time? It certainly feels like his comeuppance will come swiftly as his list of enemies grows longer and longer and he fights to maintain his position on several fronts.
Life is coming at the triple champion fast, and he's bound to make a mistake. Page could conceivably be his toughest test yet now that he is driven again. The Best Bout Machine is also set to defend his AAA Mega Championship against Andrade El Idolo at Triplemania XXIX on Aug. 14. Additionally, Jay White and Bullet Club have invaded the Impact Zone in search of revenge against their former leader.
Triplemania could start a domino effect as The Collector loses his prized possessions ahead of Bound for Glory in October. The AEW star has held the mega title for over 640 days, but El Idolo could be the one to take the mantle from him, leaving a paranoid and obsessive Omega prone for another big loss in September.
As the adage goes, the only thing harder than getting to the top is staying on top. Many champions have a difficult time retaining one title. So, Omega will have a challenging three months ahead as he tries to maintain his grip on three belts.
As of now, Page seems destined to wrest the AEW World Championship away from him at All Out come September 5.