Right now in AEW, one of the most over and beloved cult wrestlers is John Silver. For whatever shortage he has in stature, he makes up for in heart. Starting as a directionless stooge in the Dark Order, after Brodie Lee’s reveal, he was given the limelight. Even after Lee’s tragic death, he has become even more embraced by fans. Having recently had a singles bout for the TNT championship, he has shown that other than his comedic chops, he is so much more. These heights would likely not been reached had it not been for his immense popularity online.
Silver was initially an enhancement talent for the WWE, having lost to Lars Sullivan on NXT in 2018 and taking on Heavy Machinery under the name Johnny Silver alongside tag partner Alex Keaton (Alex Reynolds). However, his best appearance was on an actual WWE PPV, No Way Out 2012 where he was one of two jobbers who lost to Ryback in less than 2 minutes. In this appearance, he went under the name Rob Grymes.
He also entered into the WWE’s 2015 Tough Enough contest, although not winning, he did show early signs of his future charisma – drawing a child-like image, posing with a mannequin, and sleeping alongside his trophies.
Silver cut his teeth in Chikara Pro, where he started as a member of Gekido where his character was the evil masked ant The Shard. Afterwards, he would join the mega-faction of The Flood. Eventually, he was killed off after losing a match, being murdered by stable leader Deucalion. Silver would make a one-off return to the company in 2018, winning a 14-man tag bout.
Soon after initially leaving Chikara, he debuted in CZW alongside Alex Reynolds in The Beaver Boys. Quickly establishing themselves as a top team, they defeated BLK-OUT for the tag title belts. After this, he forged a solo career but was constantly on the losing side, coming up short against the likes of Maxwell Jacob Friedman and Lio Rush before getting his first solo win in 3 years against David Starr at the Down With The Sickness PPV event.
Shortly afterwards, Reynolds and Silver reunited but promptly broke up again as John went on to bigger things after the feud culminated in Silver beating Reynolds in a ladder match. Silver went on to win a tournament crowning a new champion, pinning Starr to become the new CZW world heavyweight champion. He held on to this strap for a decent 153 days before dropping it. Between runs with CZW, he – as well as Alex Reynolds – found work, winning the tag belts, with Silver’s only solo bout seeing him come up short against Brian Cage.
Arriving in All Elite Wrestling
Silver debuted in AEW alongside long-time tag partner and rival, Alex Reynolds. In their debut, they were defeated by Inner Circle’s Santana and Ortiz. After several further losses, they seemed to evolve into a much more darkly and deeply-rooted group – joining the pack of eerie lost souls known as The Dark Order.
Not much beyond fodder to the bigger stars, soon intrigue was injected into the faction when it was revealed there was a cult-like figurehead leader, only referred to as ‘The Exalted One’. After members Stu Grayson and Evil Uno beat former AEW tag titleholders SoCal Uncensored on the pre-show, Silver was one of many to jump SCU, before being stopped by Christopher Daniels posing as a faux ‘Exalted One’ and a newly-debuted Colt Cabana. On Dynamite, the group lost an 8-man tag bout and were largely absent from the programme – mostly appearing on Dark.
In the aftermath, on the March 18th 2020 edition of Dynamite, ‘The Exalted One’ debuted as Mr Brodie Lee revealed he was the leader. Lee was previously (Luke) Harper in the WWE, now going on a dominant run of matches which briefly added more fire to the group and their motives. This destruction was such, it elevated Lee to the main event scene, challenging Jon Moxley for the world title at Full Gear, but ultimately ending up short, being choked out by Mox. Despite the loss, it gave significantly more credibility to the stable.
In July, Silver and Reynolds alongside stablemate #5 (Alan Angels), the group was successful over enhancement talent on an episode of Dark, thus giving the members their first victory as a part of the faction. He would not get another one until teaming with Alex and new recruit Cabana in August.
On August 22nd, a still dominant Brodie Lee accepted Cody Rhodes’s TNT title open challenge, absolutely annihilating the champion in one of the most shocking and one-sided squash matches of recent memory. Akin to Vader versus Inoki in the Tokyo Dome, this match lasted mere minutes with Lee on offence for all of but 10 seconds at the start. Taking inspiration from icon Bruiser Brody, Brodie chaotically brawled, fighting with an unhinged wild aura. Lee then hit multiple powerbombs on the face of AEW before clotheslining him, not hooking the leg and getting a decisive 3 count. The new TNT champion, he alongside the Dark Order joined in an epic group beatdown of the Nightmare family. Destroying and hitting people with everything in sight, the show ended with a brilliant visual of The Dark Order all standing tall over the ‘AEW guys’. This signalled a turning point into a more serious, intent and vicious stable.
After The Dark Order’s dominance, 4 members – including Silver – lost out to the alliance of Scorpio Sky, Matt Cardona and The Natural Nightmares. Silver’s solo debut, he proved successful, getting a win over QT Marshall on Dark. Silver’s PPV solos debut was a loss to the megaly-over Orange Cassidy at Full Gear 2020. Not long afterwards, Silver lost a bout to ‘Hangman’ Adam Page on Dynamite, with The Dark Order offering Page a spot in the group, planting the seeds for the eventual alliance.
Life After Brodie Lee
Saddeningly, after a few months absence from TV, Dark Order leader, ‘The Exalted One’ Mr Brodie Lee passed away. A misdiagnosed lung disease was what took the life of Jon ‘Brodie Lee’ Huber on December 26th. With this scuppering any plans for the coming week’s Dynamite, the show was rescheduled to be a Brodie Lee Tribute Show. In this, all bouts were tag matches, in which various Dark Order members ended up on the winning side. Silver accompanied all members to the ring in their various matches on top of his own bout. John Silver won his own 6-man tag, in which he pinned Ortiz with a Discus Clothesline in homage to Lee. This emotional bout also saw Lee’s son, Brodie Jr., hitting MJF with a kendo stick after he ripped off his mask and a cameo appearance of long-time Huber tag partner Erick Redbeard (aka Eric Rowan) who delivered a heartfelt goodbye.
With this sudden tragedy throwing all Dark Order plans into mayhem, the group now set their sights on recruiting Adam Page. After many weeks of denial, Page eventually joined, as the de facto leader of the stable after they aided him to a big win over ‘Money’ Matt Hardy at AEW Revolution 2021. On that same show to display Silver’s popularity, he lasted to the final few of the event’s tag team battle royal, supported by the audience throughout. In the new era of Dark Order, Silver’s humour has taken even more of a prominent role.
On the March 24th edition of AEW Dynamite, Silver perhaps wrestled the biggest match of his career. Main eventing in a match for the TNT championship, he took on Darby Allin. Silver was offered the open challenge slot as a member of The Dark Order. He took the opportunity and ran with it – nearly prevailing on a few occasions. Any advantage he may have had by his association with the faction was muted when Sting evened the score. A momentary distraction of Silver allowed Allin to hit the Code Red and keep a hold on his title belt. During the bout, John was injured however and had to take multiple weeks off after this match. As of now, the group’s main role is as a heroic force there to fight against injustice.
Being The Elite
A large reason Silver became so popular in 2020 was his appearances on the internet wrestling show Being The Elite. A wrestler with a sweet charm and endearing personality, he let his charisma show.
Already a quite empathetic character due to his small frame, he has managed many memorable moments whether he is shirtless with no context, being thrown at with paper by boss Brodie Lee or his homosexually-charged antics alongside Alex Reynolds towards Wardlow. Silver always seemed to place the victim, but always one with a whole heap of beloved spirit. A jokester and hilarious personality outside of the ring, he is not necessarily a comedy wrestler in the ring but has managed to drag his work on BTE into AEW.
It is hard to say what exactly is so funny about John but he is certainly a comedic act that only comes around occasionally. His popularity amongst fans is similar to that of Otis (Dozovic) around the time he was trying to win the affection of Mandy Rose prior to WrestleMania 36. Silver has great potential in the ring, his brilliantly stupid comedy on Being The Elite only further making John one of the most thoroughly entertaining wrestlers in the world today.