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John Silver: “I want the world to see how much we care about Brodie”
Tonight’s edition of Dynamite will be a memorial show that celebrates the life and career of Jon Huber, best known in All Elite Wrestling as Brodie Lee.
AEW owner Tony Khan shared the news of the tribute show on social media, even adding that one of the matches on tonight’s card has been booked by Huber’s son Brodie–now known in The Dark Order as -1–pitting Team Taz against Cody Rhodes, Orange Cassidy, and The Dark Order’s 10.
This showing of Dynamite is likely to be extremely emotional, as the performers are still grieving the loss of their friend. Huber died this past Saturday at the age of only 41, and his death has completely rocked the wrestling world to its core. Huber impacted so many throughout the business, and the tributes throughout the past few days further cement his legacy as one of the finest people to ever grace the pro wrestling industry.
Huber long hungered for the chance to be a singles star. He showed glimpses when given that opportunity in WWE, but a limited amount of dialogue as Luke Harper severely limited his opportunity for growth in a business centered around promos. The most compelling presentation of Huber’s career began earlier this year, when he joined AEW and starred as Mr. Brodie Lee.
The decision to add Lee as “The Exalted One” provided a shot of adrenaline to The Dark Order faction. As far back as last December, the group’s future appeared to be doomed. There was the infamous moment on Dynamite where a member of the group threw punches that failed to land, and it appeared that The Dark Order had no real future in AEW. Yet the targets of the punch lines soon became the ones telling the jokes, largely because of the chemistry and presence of the dynamic, intimidating–yet somehow endearing–Mr. Brodie Lee.
After years of working tirelessly to attain a place of his own under the bright glare of the spotlight, Huber immediately shared that opportunity with all of the members of The Dark Order. The expletive-laden Dark Order scenes on Being The Elite offered a long-awaited opportunity for weekly dialogue, a necessary ingredient among the overwhelming majority of wrestling’s stars. And while he was immensely proud to be the group’s centerpiece, Huber was also determined to highlight those around him.
Mr. Brodie Lee had some fantastic scenes with a number of the talents in the Dark Order, including Alex Reynolds and Evil Uno, but there was also a unique, distinct chemistry with John Silver.
Long the object of Lee’s frustration in those tremendous BTE episodes, Silver was grateful for the opportunity to learn from Huber.
“Brodie wanted to share what he knew and he wanted to help,” said Silver. “Right off the bat, if you were one of the best or if you were a rookie wrestler, he treated everyone with respect and found a way to make you better.”
Affectionately referred to as just a kid, the 29-year-old Silver has dedicated the past 14 years of his life to pro wrestling. While he is often overlooked for his lack of height, Silver is explosive in the ring. He possesses a skill level that allows him to work on a platform as elite as AEW, and has sculpted his body into a phenomenal look, one that is significantly enhanced by his personality and creativity. It took time, toil, and tears for Silver to become a commodity in wrestling, and he will be forever grateful to Huber for believing in him.
“We’d first met during The Dark Order steak dinner vignette when I watched him down two steaks, and he was hilarious,” said Silver. “When I left that night, I texted Curt Hawkins and said, ‘You were right, Brodie is the man.’ But we didn’t know each other too well. So I was very surprised when I came backstage one night and Brodie was waiting for me with feedback on what he liked from my match and advice on where I could improve.
“He didn’t have to do that. He just went out of his way to help. I won’t forget that, or what he shared with me. Brodie could have taken The Dark Order in any direction he wanted. But all he wanted to do was help us.”
This past August, Silver and Reynolds teamed up in a match on Dynamite against Rhodes and Matt Cardona. The bigger story centered around Rhodes and Cardona, who won the match, but it was impossible not to come away impressed with the teamwork and selling of the two masked men from The Dark Order.
At that point, Silver and Reynolds were still working in AEW on part-time deals, something that Huber was determined to change.
“A lot of people don’t know this, but after that match, Brodie was the one backstage telling everyone that the match was great and that we needed full-time deals, which we ended up signing,” said Silver. “That’s just one example. There were so many other little ways he constantly went out of his way to help us. Brodie was an amazing person. I can’t picture him not being here.”
The Dark Order has transformed into must-see viewing, especially on BTE, including some fantastic comedic scenes. Silver noted that the group relished those moments with Huber because of his uncanny ability to make them laugh.
“Right away, we knew we had something special,” said Silver. “Originally, the plan was for me and Alex to recruit people for The Dark Order on Being The Elite. But Brodie was so damn funny. Once he pelted Uno in the face with papers, we all lost our sh--. I needed to look at the ground so I wouldn’t laugh, and Brodie got right in my face and tried to get me to break. That’s when he started shouting, ‘Are you crying? Are you crying?’
“That was the hardest part of BTE–not laughing. Then Brodie wanted the whole group involved every week, so that’s what we did."
Huber’s final appearance on BTE aired on October 12. Still showing frustration after dropping the TNT Championship to Rhodes after a bloody Dog Collar Match, Lee berated every Dark Order member in that segment, with the exception of Silver. Further planting the seeds of what was intended to be a detailed story, Silver had finally begun to show his worth to “The Exalted One.”
“Someone tagged me in that video on Twitter, and watching it has just made me cry,” said Silver. “Tony Khan had this idea for us to be like Raven and Stevie Richards. So we had those moments where I’d say he was great and then he’d hit me, or he’d ask me to hold up his belt and then he’d knock me off the apron. Thinking about it just makes me so emotional. I never want there to be another ‘Exalted One.’”
Silver is part of tonight’s tribute show in a six-man tag with Hangman Page and Reynolds against MJF, Santana, and Ortiz. He promises to live up to the standard of excellence set on-screen by Mr. Brodie Lee, as well as the backstage precision and passion of a man that devoted his entire career to making professional wrestling a safer, warmer, and better place.
“Brodie worked hard to show us he was one of the best,” said Silver. “He was a workhorse and he was passionate. This was the opportunity he wanted, and he took it and proved why he was the best. And he remained the nicest, the funniest, the coolest, and the most caring person you could possibly find.
“I want the world to see how much we care about Brodie. And in my match, I’m going to be a workhorse just like he was. I’m so grateful to be on this card for him. From now on, I’m going to lay it all on the line in his honor.”
The (online) week in wrestling
• Wrestling legend Danny Hodge also passed away this past week, making it an even sadder week for the pro wrestling industry. Hodge had many claims to fame throughout his brilliant career in amateur and pro wrestling, one of which included gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated in April of 1957.
• WWE ran a “In Memory Of” photo of Brodie Lee before the start of Monday’s Raw. There was not a 10-bell salute or video package, which was pointed out by Brian Myers (formerly Curt Hawkins in WWE), though many WWE talent–including Drew McIntyre, Xavier Woods, and Alexa Bliss–all honored his memory during the course of the show.
• As Mike Johnson from PWInsider reported, videos were filmed backstage that discussed memories of Lee and the impact he made across the business. While those are likely to air on the WWE Network or perhaps WWE’s YouTube page, it would be very meaningful to see the company air a tribute video during Friday’s SmackDown.
• Another touching tribute to Brodie Lee took place during Raw Talk from Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston.
• As for Raw, the final segment with Alexa Bliss and Randy Orton has drawn considerable interest since it aired to close out the show.
• During his match against Mustafa Ali on Raw, Ricochet hit a springboard tornado DDT off the apron and onto the floor on Retribution’s T-Bar, which was one of the most incredible athletic feats I have ever witnessed in a wrestling match. Ricochet remains one of WWE’s most underutilized talents.
• There were 14 matches on last night’s AEW Dark, and one that particularly stood out was a tag pitting El Cuervo de Puerto Rico and Ariel Levy against Dr. Luther and Serpentico. The match, which begins at the hour-and-thirteen-minute mark, was special because of the presence of El Cuervo de Puerto Rico. He nearly lost his life after being hit by a cement block during a match in November of 2018 against Angel o Demonio. The blow sent Cuervo headfirst to the floor, where he broke his nose and lost teeth. Cuervo took the pin on Dark, but his arrival in AEW stands as a triumph.
• The Christmas night edition of SmackDown was fantastic, led by the Roman Reigns-Kevin Owens steel cage match (which featured a brilliant finish), but another highlight took place when Big E defeated Sami Zayn to win the Intercontinental Championship.
• Once the home to Lucha Underground, El Rey is set to go off the air on December 31.
• Whether it happens is an entirely different topic, but there is no doubt in my mind that Bobby Lashley should be WWE Champion in 2021. And if he wins the title while still carrying the U.S. Championship, it adds even more prestige to that title, too.
• Aubrey Edwards posted wonderful news, sharing that she has been sober for the past year.
Jey Uso on Mark Henry: “He was someone that always had my back”
WWE is holding a “Legends Night” next week on Raw, and among those returning will be Mark Henry.
Henry is a household name to WWE fans, and he has a number of on-screen highlights, including one of the most compelling promos of all-time when he turned on John Cena. But Henry’s legacy goes beyond what took place in the ring, as he helped set a standard in the dressing room that is upheld by today’s veterans.
Jey Uso is eternally grateful for Henry’s influence and advice over the years, and he explained that Henry went out of his way to ensure Uso would succeed in the WWE.
“Mark Henry is a legend, but he’s more than that to me,” said Uso. “In this business, you learn as you go. When I first started, I didn’t even have a credit card. I had bad credit and couldn’t rent a rental car. It was embarrassing to constantly ask the boys, ‘May I jump in the car with you?’ I still remember people who helped, they’re on my list where I’m forever thankful. The ones that said, ‘Hell yeah Uce, ride with me.’”
Uso didn’t have to think long when he was asked for someone that helped shape his career.
“Mark Henry was always there for me,” said Uso. “If I needed a ride, he wouldn’t say no. He was someone that always had my back. He looked out for me from day one. It’s people like him that made WWE what it is today.”
The Miz on the Cleveland Browns: “This is a team that should make the playoffs”
The Cleveland Browns have had a fantastic NFL season, but one that will end in abject disappointment if the team loses this Sunday and fails to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2002 season.
WWE employs a handful of Browns fans on their roster, and one of the most dedicated is Mike “The Miz” Mizanin.
Through a technicality, The Miz regained his Money in the Bank briefcase on Raw, meaning that he still has the chance to cash it in for a title shot on either Universal Champion Roman Reigns or, more likely, WWE Champion Drew McIntyre. Outside of family and work, the most pressing issue right now for Mizanin is this Sunday’s Browns game, where they face off against a longtime rival in the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Browns appeared poised to clinch a playoff spot, but losses in two of their past three games have placed them among the bubble teams in the AFC.
“This is a team that should make the playoffs,” said Mizanin, whose Browns will end their playoff drought if they win against the Steelers. “Losses teach you a lot about yourself, and that is something the team can take away from these past few games. They are getting better and better, and they have a winning mentality. That takes time to build.”
Mizanin used the 47-42 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens from two weeks ago as proof that the Browns have what it takes to make a playoff run.
“The first game they played against the Ravens, they were blown out of the water,” said Mizanin. “The second time, they barely lost. It was a matter of who had the ball at the end.
“These losses will teach them what they need to do to succeed in the playoffs, and how to become a Super Bowl-caliber team, which I think they are.”
Tweet of the Week
There is no better time for a new CM Punk or Mick Foley t-shirt.