The AEW World Championship is currently one of the most prestigious titles within the realm of professional wrestling. Despite its short lineage, the sharp, gold-plated strap has already garnered a great deal of honour due to the quality of its holders.
The first champion was an already established veteran of the sport, a former WWE Champion, and one of the hottest names in pro wrestling at the time, Chris Jericho. ‘Le Champion’ proved to be an appropriate pick for the young promotion as he took AEW to new heights by drawing in viewers and being consistently one of the best things on weekly television.
However, Jon Moxley went even further. He had one of the best World Championship reigns in wrestling in recent memory despite facing the obstacles put forth by COVID-19. Pro Wrestling Illustrated even named Moxley ‘Wrestler of the Year’ for his contributions to the industry during such challenging times.
Moxley’s reign came to an end at the hands of current AEW World Champion Kenny Omega, who has since been an entertaining champion, yet his run so far has been predictable. As I’m here to predict the next three holders of the AEW World Heavyweight Championship, it must be said that there is only one person fans expect to take the title off of The Cleaner, and that person is:
Hangman Adam Page
Page’s arc has been very convoluted and complex. This makes a Page title run even more appealing given how much it mirrors reality. To fully grasp the depth of Hangman’s character, we need to turn the hands of time a few years back to 2016.
On May 9th, 2016, Adam Page joined the Bullet Club. The gaijin faction was famous for wreaking havoc on the roster and winning championships. However, Hangman couldn’t quite fit into the mould. He was the allegorical black sheep of the group: always in the background, never getting a moment in the spotlight. He was always outshone by the other members of The Elite in the Bullet Club which led to him becoming increasingly insecure.
At the New Beginning in Sapporo 2018, Kenny Omega lost the United States Championship to Jay White. Following the match, Hangman finally got his moment to, for once, be the main character in his story. Page snatched the U.S title and lifted it over his head to make a point. His moment was short-lived though as his own Bullet Club partner, Kenny Omega, took the belt from his hands and handed it back to White, leaving Page embarrassed.
That moment exemplified Hangman’s entire journey. He was never going to be in the spotlight as long as he was beside The Elite. He was always going to be in the shadow of the Bullet Club. His self-doubt led to his downfall as he failed to capture the United States Championship despite having a fair opportunity at it.
Not long after, AEW was formed and Hangman was in the first match for the AEW World Championship. Another opportunity had been placed right in front of Page but he couldn’t deliver as Jericho got the best of him. The defeat ate Hangman alive and, instead of facing it, he went on to try his hand in the tag division alongside Omega.
As expected, the two ended up having a successful run but it came with some serious repercussions. Their success formed cracks within the Elite as Hangman’s insecurities soon crept up on him.
A few weeks before All Out 2020, Page cost the Young Bucks a shot at his and Kenny’s tag titles. He was too afraid of losing the titles to the Bucks and turned on his friends. However, Hangman’s actions didn’t change his inevitable fate. Page and Omega lost the tag team titles to FTR instead at All Out, with Hangman taking the pin.
After the dust settled, it became clear who got the short end of the stick. It was of course Hangman. Kenny and The Bucks are champions at the moment while Hangman struggles to even acknowledge his past. Such a redemption story can only be completed once Hangman faces his past in the form of Kenny and defeats him for the AEW World Championship.
Now, when would a title change like this take place? It could be as early as All Out 2021. Hangman is already floating in the top two spots of the single’s rankings in AEW. To add an extra layer, Hangman might not be able to conquer the Cleaner at his first attempt. This would only be delaying the eventual title change.
Once that does happen, it would be time to have another star take the belt off Hangman:
MJF has it all. He is, quite frankly, untouchable on the mic. His in-ring work is underrated (go check out his match against Jungle Boy at Double or Nothing 2020). On top of that, he just has that special ability to make even the smarkiest of fans boo him.
MJF has been booked very carefully so far, with his only singles loss coming against the at-the-time reigning AEW World Champion, Jon Moxley. Only a few have such an outstanding singles record in AEW. He has defeated Chris Jericho, Cody Rhodes, and of course, Hangman Adam Page.
MJF is Page’s Kryptonite. Even at his best, Page wasn’t able to defeat the up-and-coming MJF for the Dynamite Diamond Ring. Page losing to MJF would be the perfect step in the stories of both wrestlers.
Page’s first reign as World Champion coming to an end within three months would be even better. Hangman works best as a sympathetic babyface who fights from below. Him dropping the title to MJF after the shortest World Title reign would only add to his character. It would give him more fuel and reason to fight back and overcome the odds.
MJF would get just the right amount of heat if he beats Hangman for the title. People would be hating him with a passion, since the biggest heel had just defeated the biggest babyface. While at the same time, fans will be intrigued enough to tune in every week to see what follows in the chain of events.
Plus, MJF is already a top star in the promotion, regardless of age. He is leading the four horsemen-Esque faction The Pinnacle in AEW which, at the moment, is one of the best things in wrestling. He just defeated Chris Jericho and metaphorically took his spot at the top. Most importantly, he is getting more and more TV time every week. Things are only going up for MJF and when he wins the title, he isn’t going to drop it for a long, long time.
For many of you, this prediction might come right out of left field. Why would AEW strap their title on a 40-year-old guy who hasn’t held a world championship before in his life? That’s a valid point and it seems a rather odd decision from a business standpoint as well. However, AEW made some decisions in the past that are too bold even for the fans. Yet, they have all worked out.
Take Orange Cassidy as an example. Just three years ago, he was a comedic act on the independent circuit and no one in their wildest imagination would have thought that he would beat one of the greatest wrestlers of all time in Chris Jericho and go on to compete for a World Championship in the marquee event of a top promotion. However, AEW pulled the trigger on OC and he is now one of the most over wrestlers in the world.
Do you know who else the crowd was chanting for on top of their lungs at Double or Nothing? Eddie Kingston; a magician on the mic who has built an unmatched connection with the audience. Imagine him and MJF going back and forth on the stick during their feuds. AEW can create a number of fresh angles around this rivalry alone due to the stark contrast between the personalities of the two wrestlers.
The two characters are exact opposites of each other. MJF is a snob belonging to an upper-class family, and who has more or less got to the top easily in the industry. He would have achieved more in his six-year career than Kingston, who has struggled and thrived his entire life just to win a world championship. His whole life has been a chronicle of misery and sadness, yet despite all that he continues to pull through.
AEW has a good track record when it comes to booking babyfaces. That can gel well with the fact that Kingston has the potential to be one of the hottest babyfaces in wrestling. Having Kingston win the AEW World Championship would be a heartwarming moment with 20+ years of hard work finally paying off.
Obviously, these predictions aren’t set in stone given how unpredictable wrestling in general is. However, the aforementioned three champions are one of several ways AEW can proceed with their main championship from this point on.
What do you think, readers? Who can you see becoming the AEW World Heavyweight Champion in the future? Who would be a logical choice, booking-wise and draw-wise? Let us know in the comments below!