John Silver recently appeared on The Wrestling Perspective Podcast and reflected on the history of the Dark Order stable in All Elite Wrestling. From the group’s villainous beginnings to its recent evolution, Silver looked back on this remarkable journey and became the latest member of the stable to confirm that the Dark Order is a group of “good guys” now. During the conversation, Silver also revealed that AEW had already planned for a different dynamic with a heelish Brodie Lee leading the group before his unfortunate passing.
“I mean we were kinda going into a different direction, even before Brodie Lee passed,” said Silver. “So when Brodie was still, before he got sick, it was supposed to be a little Raven and Steve Richards type vibe with us. That’s how Tony wanted it, he’s like, Brodie is the serious, badass ass-kicker, and you’re like his weird goofy cheerleader in a sense, like Stevie was, and you love him and that’s like your best friend.
“And of course, naturally that was gonna make me more likable, and that would still make Brodie more that tough, angry bad guy. But then when we got sick and he wasn’t on TV anymore, we slowly started to get, like if you listen to the reaction from the crowd, we were getting cheered big time. We did that battle royal where I got eliminated and the place went, well super loud boos, and everyone’s like, you guys just gotta the good guys [now] so it wasn’t like we had to change a lot. But it was more so instead of just me, me and Alex [Reynolds] just being the good guys of the group, obviously, we’re all the faces now.”
Of course, when the Dark Order arrived, the group was widely seen as a sinister cult. Several months ago, the faction was particularly buzzworthy when fans eagerly speculated on the identity of the Exalted One. The leader turned out to be Mr. Brodie Lee, but Marty Scurll was a popular pick, among the fans, for the role. John Silver shut down that speculation, as he confirmed that “The Villain” wasn’t in the running.
“Marty Scurll wasn’t supposed to be the Exalted One,” said Silver. “Originally, I remember being in catering at a show, and the way Matt Jackson talks is very like California, like… he’s kinda joking, but sometimes he’s being real. But he’s like, ‘Yeah, I don’t know, I was thinking about the Dark Order, like who’s gonna be the Exalted One, like I don’t think Marty’s gonna be right but I mean it’s an option.’
“The first person we were told it was going to be was Matt Hardy. But it wasn’t set in stone. They said, ‘Well, it could be Brodie [Lee], but at that point, he still wasn’t a definite to come to the company. Matt Hardy was a definite, so I think it was leaning that way and then once we kinda knew Brodie was gonna come, they went with that direction, which I think is the better direction. Matt would have brought us in a different direction, which could have been cool, too.But I think the way Brodie did it was, he played that dickhead-like boss, cult leader perfectly, I think.”
Lee led the group to new heights, and the Dark Order has continued to shine, even after the tragic passing of its leader. There have been plenty of villainous stables in wrestling history, and some fans have compared the Dark Order to Kevin Sullivan’s Dungeon of Doom. John Silver explained that he understands this connection, and he also described how he prepared for his role as a member of a cult. He also admitted how this process may have held him back earlier in his AEW career.
“Now that you mention the Kevin Sullivan thing, I’m like, okay that actually does make a lot of sense,” said Silver. “But that’s not at least where my brain was thinking. I was trying to think, so this was actually I guess this way of thinking hurt me a little bit. But eventually, it worked out. I’m thinking cult, so when we got put in this gimmick, I’m like okay, this is a cult, let me look up stuff on Netflix on cults.
“The reason why that kinda hurt me a little bit is [I’m] thinking, I’m in a cult, I’m thinking I’m [a] brainwashed dude. I always had this stone face, and I’m trying to think, I shouldn’t have this big personality because that’s not what I cult guy would do, unless it’s something very wacky. So that thinking actually hurt me because Tony [Khan] didn’t like that. He thought I had no personality. I heard he said, he’s like, I have no personality, but I never got to show it because I didn’t think that’s how my character should act.
“So I guess the thought was we went full-on cult, documentaries and stuff like that, but now I do see the Kevin Sullivan thing makes a lot of sense.”
The Dark Order seems like it will continue to branch away from the comparisons to the Dungeon of Doom, as the latter never threw a birthday party for a young child and instead tried to end Hulkamania.
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The full video interview with John Silver on the Wrestling Perspective Podcast is available here: