Prologue: New Foes Have Appeared!
It was April 15th, 2019. The Young Bucks stood next to each other in an unfinished room, scouring the internet for tag teams worthy of joining their upstart promotion. Suddenly their expressions changed; Nick’s enthusiastic grin contrasted by Matt’s concerned frown.
“Come on.” Matt paused. “One of our greatest rivals ever…”
Nick glanced up from his smartphone. “What’s wrong?”
Matt stuttered as he spoke “This is– this is asking too much. We’ve had enou–”
Matt grimaced. His mind flashed back to PWG. Threemendous III. Ladder War. Three way dance. The chaos. The blood. The… the referee. Bringing in anyone else from that match would inevitably lead to another brutal confrontation.
Nick set the cell phone on a nearby chair. “If you still think we’re the best in the world, we would hire guys like that. That’s all I’m sayin’.” Nick turned and walked away.
“Usually I’m with you, but this time… I don’t know.” Matt followed after Nick, the look of concern still on his face.
The camera pulled in on the abandoned phone, showing The Young Bucks on one side of the screen. On the other were Evil Uno and Stupefied, also known as The Super Smash Brothers.
Which begged the question… if they got hired, wouldn’t Nintendo sue AEW for copyright infringement?
Chapter 1: Creeping Towards Failure
The Best Friends were facing off against The Hybrid2 at the inaugural AEW PPV, Double or Nothing. The Best Friends picked up the win after 25 minutes of intense action. The two teams met in the center of the ring in a moment of respect. Jack Evans and Angelico were happy to shake hands and move on, but the Kings of Hug Style weren’t leaving until hugs were had by all. Just as the teams embraced, the lights went out.
The announcers were confused. They guessed the blackout was due to the lack of experience by a fresh tech crew.
The lights came back, revealing a bald warrior and a hulking masked man standing in between The Hybrid2 and The Best Friends. The lights went to full black again.
When the lights came on this time, the ring was surrounded by men in black and green masks. The grunts yanked Chuck and Angelico to the floor, allowing the bald man and his masked associate to beat down Trent? and Jack Evans. A beat down ensued, the Hybrid2 and The Best Friends eating finisher after finisher.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the crowd started to turn, chanting “WHO ARE YOU? WHO ARE YOU?” while Trent? ate a tag team finishing move. Only a smattering of boos were heard as the hulking man sat on a throne formed by his henchmen’s own bodies.
Despite Stu and Uno’s best efforts, the Dark Order was born into confusion and apathy.
The Dark Order floundered from the start. Despite Evil Uno and Stu Greyson’s 13 year history of putting on engaging performances, the fans just weren’t having it. There were no breakout performances, no standout promos, no exciting feuds. The Dark Order felt like a nebulous “evil cult” without any direction or reason. Why were they a cult? What were their goals? Were the Creepers supposed to be wrestlers or, like… monster people? Nobody knew.
The December 18, 2019 episode of Dynamite was supposed to be the breakout moment for The Dark Order. They were getting a shot at The Elite. This was The Order needed; a big time feud with opponents who they knew they meshed with. The former Super Smash Brothers versus The Young Bucks with some heat behind it would lead to another PWG Ladder Match style barnburner. A five star match with the Bucks would solidify Uno and Stu as a top tier tag team in AEW, giving direction to the rudderless Dark Order.
Dynamite ended with the Tag Team Champions SCU getting a win over The Young Bucks. A dozen or so Creepers jumped the rail and surrounded the ring while Uno and Stu appeared on the stage. Uno said that tonight wasn’t a recruitment, it was an initiation. The Creepers jumped in the ring and swarmed SCU and the Bucks. Two Creepers pulled off their masks to reveal the hapless tag team of John Silver and Alex Reynolds. It had been established The Dark Order preyed on the weak and the lost, and nobody had lost more than Silver and Reynolds.
This was it, finally, this was it. With the reveal of some actual named, unmasked recruits and a big beatdown of The Elite on the last Dynamite of 2019, this moment was supposed to be The Dark Order’s hotshot into the main event.
Then everything went wrong.
Quotes from the Talk Is Jericho podcast, “Stu Grayson & Evil Uno Bring the Dark Order To Light”, June 16, 2021
Uno: “We didn’t know we were going to end the last Dynamite of the year with a big beatdown on all the faces… We never consider ourselves a main event angle. We had no direction for the top. Our original plan was to have the losers from the show. That’s why we got Alex and John because they had lost in a minute on the first two shows. If we get them, we have people who know what they’re doing and they can have longer matches. We had no great reveal other than that. We weren’t happy the segment happened to begin with. On top of that, we knew the reaction was flat and as soon as we came to the back, the phone is blowing up and [the bad punches were] picked up on instantly. Most of the local guys didn’t understand that the camera is on at all times. They mistimed a lot of our timing.”
Let’s take a look at “the bad punches.”
Stu: “The main idea was every time a face would come in, they would hit a Creeper like it was nothing, then I would come in and get the star down, and the Creepers would pile on him. Next one comes in, he pops people around, I put him down, and every single time, they’d just swarm [the face] and were beating the piss out of Kenny and Cody. What are you doing? Why are you hurting the stars?”
Uno: “We were supposed to have a follow-up on the first show in January and they cut us entirely from the show and cut us the next couple of weeks as well. At that point, it was a moment where it was like, ‘well, we’re done. I don’t think we can come back.’”
Next Week… Chapter 2: The Exalted One. JOIN US!