“Hangman” Adam Page’s first, and perhaps only, AEW World Championship reign was not perfect in the anxious millennial cowboy’s eyes. Page did defend the AEW World Title successfully six times over his 197-day reign against Bryan Danielson (twice), Lance Archer, Adam Cole, Dante Martin, and Cole again before ultimately losing the championship to CM Punk in the main event of Double or Nothing 2022.

In an exclusive interview with Wrestling Inc.’s Nick Hausman, ahead of his big IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match at AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door, Page opened up about what he learned while holding AEW’s top prize.

“I never realized the pressure of being world champion and that might seem to someone watching, like, ‘Oh, you defended it once every three or four weeks, how hard could that be’?” Page said. “I don’t know that I handled [the pressure] of anyone who’s ever handled it, but it’s my first time. I think it made me, you know, a better person, a better wrestler.”

Page won the AEW World Championship by defeating Kenny Omega back at Full Gear 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota after over 25 minutes of in-ring action. This championship win marked Page’s first singles title win in a major wrestling company, only previously winning the ROH Six-Man Tag Team Championships with the Young Bucks and the AEW World Tag Team Championships alongside Kenny Omega.

“I let [the pressure] get to me more than I thought I would,” Page stated. “I thought I would win the championship and I would be happy, that I would be the perfect version of myself, and I wasn’t, either. It’s not like I didn’t talk to [the Dark Order] every single week, because I did. But you know, maybe sometimes I was too busy or stressed to do those BTE bits every week. I let that pressure, I guess a friendship, a lot of friendships and I guess that’s, you know, the cynic in me wants to say that’s something that maybe comes with being champion, but I think as a personal thing, maybe that’s a bit of a failure or something to work on.”

Page wrestled against the debuting former ROH World TV Champion Silas Young on “AEW: Dynamite” last night, defeating Young after connecting with the Buckshot Lariat. This Sunday, at the AEW x NJPW Pay-Per-View, Forbidden Door, Page will take on Adam Cole, Kazuchika Okada, and IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Jay White for White’s title that he recently won by defeating Okada at NJPW’s Dominion event.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit “Wrestling Inc.” and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription

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