It’s not often you see a high school teacher leave the classroom in favor of taking up the fight inside the squared circle. Then again, not many teachers are as talented or built like “Hangman” Adam Page.
Page is riding a ton of momentum after a singles victory over former ROH champion Jay Briscoe at Death Before Dishonor and hopes to carry that on to Field of Honor in Brooklyn.
As he and his Bullet Club members prepare for an eight-man tag match, “Hangman” sees this as yet another rung in the ladder to climb in order to cement his place as a top-level guy.
Field of Honor
CraveOnline: On Saturday at Field of Honor, you and fellow Bullet Club members The Young Bucks and Yujiro Takahashi face off in an eight-man tag match against Motor City Machine Guns, ACH, and Lio Rush. What are your thoughts going into it?
Hangman Page: It’s going to be great. It’s going to be balls to the wall and fast paced and we’re going to win.
When you work in a match with that many people, does it feel almost chaotic as a performer?
It’s a lot more chaos and although there are rules, you got eight people simultaneously trying to break them. It breaks down at some point and it’s a little more frantic.
There’s a unique set up this time where you’re performing outdoors at MCU Park. Does that add another element to the match?
It’s a really different atmosphere and I kind of love it. I did my first one of those ballgame shows last year. It’s a really cool atmosphere being outside like that and at night and I think that unique atmosphere motivates us a little bit more because it’s not just another show. It’s very different. I think it adds to our energy and we have a lot more room out there too.
You defeated Jay Briscoe last week at Death Before Dishonor. How do you feel about your performance and do you think this has given you a lot of momentum to build off of?
I’ve got a ton of momentum because I’m one of the few people who have actually pinned Jay Briscoe in several years. There aren’t many other than me who have even pinned him in the past few years so for me, it’s huge. It was also a bit of redemption for me because in a no-holds barred match last year, he beat me so I got that one back and proved I’m one of the nastiest and violent people on the roster.
We noticed you got banged up a little bit in the match and there was some blood as well.
Both of those tables in Las Vegas just exploded during the show. I never had a table just explode like that. I think Jay Briscoe’s back got cup up pretty bad by the table and it took a quarter size chunk out of knee too. I’ve got this huge hole in my knee. I’m going to work around that this weekend but it’s a pretty big hole.
Speaking of momentum, you’re now a member of Bullet Club. That’s a very big deal moving up the ladder. How does it feel?
It’s awesome. It’s career changing for me because I’m put in front of way more eyes than ever before. There are a lot more people paying attention to what I’m doing and in my mind; I’ve always been good. It’s just now that I’ve got more people paying attention to it. It’s given me the opportunity to go over to New Japan to work over there. Other than Toronto, I’ve never been out of the country. Now I’m monthly flying across the world to wrestle.
What’s your favorite Bullet Club story now that you’re traveling as a member?
I’ve only been over there twice but I spent the most time with Yujiro [Takahashi]. We would go out after the shows and if Yujiro [laughs] got drunk, which was quite occasionally, we would go into these convenient stores. No matter what I said, he would insist on buying me a Japanese nudie magazine. I couldn’t tell him no. I would tell him ‘no’ a thousand times. ‘I don’t need it. You don’t have to buy me that.’ He would buy me one so I have like 10 of them [laughs]. I left them there. I didn’t even keep them or bring them home. I didn’t want them but yeah, I had a collection of them [laughs].
How did the “Hangman” persona come to be?
Part of the things I started thinking about as soon as I knew I was going to Bullet Club and Adam Cole was as well, was that eventually the Japanese fans would be presented with Adam Cole and Adam Page. Two similar looking guys who both wear trunks, both have long hair and have the same first name. I knew that I had to switch up something and I wanted to do a little bit of a name change but couldn’t just change my name to “Steven Page” or some crap like that.
I wanted some different name and Luke Gallows always had a noose with him and different things like that as a member of Bullet Club. It was just something to build off and turn it up.
When did you find out that Bullet Club was in the works for you?
They gave me a call about three weeks before I joined so I could get new gear and all of that kind of stuff. That same phone call was huge enough with Bullet Club and you’re going to work for New Japan. It was a pretty good phone call that I didn’t see coming [laughs].
Was that the moment you were waiting for?
Yeah, it really was because it was good news for wrestling but also kind of changed my life. For five years I’ve been a high school teacher and at this point, I was still teaching school because I wasn’t wrestling enough to make a living off of it. I realized I couldn’t tour Japan and keep teaching so I knew that was something I was going to be giving up. Now I’m only a pro wrestler and that’s what I do now for a living so it changed my life in that regard.
Teaching and small town life
I cannot think of two more opposite careers to juggle. You’re grading papers during the day and wrestling at night and people didn’t bother you about this all the time?
With students, they all knew the first day of class. I would just be up front about it and tell them what I did and tell them a few stories and answer any questions and get it out of the way so I could just be their teacher. A lot of the stuff I was doing was kind of questionable for a public school teacher to be doing on television. At the time, beating up little kid Colby Corino on television and now I’m walking around with a noose hanging people. It was questionable things for a teacher to be doing. Thankfully, because I didn’t push it a lot locally, I didn’t have any problems of parents complaining. I kept those two worlds separate for a while at least.
I thought I was from a small town but you’re from a town of less than 200 people.
I’m billed from Aaron’s Creek, Virginia, which isn’t an actual town. It’s just a community. I’m actually from Virgilina, Virginia. There aren’t many people that live there. There’s a stop sign. That’s about all that is there [laughs]. I loved it but I didn’t really know anything different.
My dad was a tobacco farmer and raises cattle too. I did really well in school. My mom was a schoolteacher so she pushed me there and when I was off in the summers, my dad would throw me in the field and I would work all summer. My mom taught me how to chase after a good education and my dad taught me the importance of hard work.
You also graduated college at 19-years old, correct?
Yeah. I got my associates degree from high school. I did two years undergrad from Virginia Tech.
You finished college and head into a career when most kids are still prepping for their second year of college. That must have been a huge disconnect with you and your friends?
Huge disconnect there because I’m kind of an anti-social person. I’m a bit of a loner and in college, every weekend I was gone wrestling anyways so in college I didn’t get to party a lot. I didn’t have a normal college experience and because I was having classes with people who were older than me. I feel like I almost didn’t go to college.
Training and paying his dues
What was it like for you when you were first started out in wrestling?
When I was a kid, I was the kind of kid who liked to try and do stuff instead of watching it. Here I am at 9-years-old trying backyard wrestling on a trampoline and in my mind as a kid, I was a wrestler from the first time I got on a trampoline. When I started training at 15 years old, you know, some things in wrestling you teach to people and you need to learn things. But a lot of things, your body either understands it or doesn’t understand it. I was fortunate because my body understood how to hit the ropes or run the ropes or how to bump so the first time I got in the ring, my body knew how to do these things.
But the first time I trained, I remember bumping and bumping and bumping. For the next week, if I would lay down on my back in bed, I couldn’t pick my head up at all. I had to reach back and move my head. It just reeked havoc on my body but over time your body gets conditioned to it.
Mrs. Hangman and hobbies
What do you do for fun besides wrestling?
I like kayaking. I’m an outdoors kind of person. I’m actually getting ready to go kayaking. I’m getting married in a few weeks. I wouldn’t say it’s a hobby but that’s how I have been spending a lot of my time with just trying to get that stuff together.
“I feel it’s my time now”
What do you want out of this big push and with all of this momentum? It seems like you’re right on the brink of being the next “big guy.”
That’s what I want. I feel like I’m a top-level talent guy. I’ve been around three years now. I feel it’s my time now to not be the guy at the bottom of the card but to move up. You know I haven’t had a singles title shot in Ring of Honor since 2013? Not even a chance. That’s the very first thing on my list. I want to keep having fun. I think that’s the most important and keep going over to Japan because that’s an awesome experience. Basically, just keep moving up.
Joshua Caudill is a writer for CraveOnline, a hockey fanatic, a pro wrestling connoisseur and an expert on all things Patrick Swayze. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshuaCaudill85 or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.
Photos by Lee South
RING OF HONOR WRESTLING PRESENTS:
FIELD OF HONOR ’16
SATURDAY, AUGUST 27TH, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. EDT
1904 SURF AVENUE
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK