Deciphering The Dark Order...
Since their initial debut with All Elite Wrestling, The Dark Order has been a malevolent force, inflicting pain on their targets while simultaneously preying upon the more downtrodden individuals on the rosters. The ones in need of allies, the ones with a strong imbalance on the loss side of their win-loss record, the ones looking to find their place on a roster loaded with talent from top to bottom.
Even outside the wrestling ring, if their propaganda vignettes are to be taken as fact, they have reached out into those in the civilian ranks to lure followers into The Dark Order. What the actual number of devotees may be is a guess, speculative, a quantity likely known only to The Exalted One and its public representatives, Stu Grayson and Evil Uno. When The Dark Order has appeared en masse, the numbers fluctuate, and in the earliest days, often took the form of a human throne upon which Uno would sit.
It was an eerie sight, a mass of masked humanity upon which Uno sat, using the bodies as his pulpit from which to deliver the gospel of The Dark Order, while Grayson stood by his side in barely contained fury.
As the weeks passed, the idea of just what The Dark Order truly was began to coalesce into form. Propaganda posters made their way into arenas, videos of that bent began to appear on TV and make their viral way through the internet via programs like Being The Elite, Road To, and others. Recruitment within the locker room began in earnest, and despite The Dark Order being unsuccessful in the World Tag Team Title Tournament, their message began to find a home in the ears of some, particularly John Silver and Alex Reynolds.
Despite successful careers prior to coming to AEW, Silver and Reynolds could not seem to get out of the starting gate here. That frustration proved fertile ground for the seeds Dark Order had been planting, and ultimately led to the two men donning the masks of The Dark Order. But something was different here for Alex and John...
For starters, they were not relegated to the nondescript gear worn by the Creepers who have surrounded Uno & Grayson since day one. Second, the masks they wear also bear unique markings that seem to separate John and Alex from the rest of the pack. And finally, as for the masks, unlike the fodder, Silver and Reynolds are not perpetually concealed behind those masks. They enter the arena with their faces displayed, and only don the coverings when it is time for the fight. Then you have the case of Stu Grayson who wears no mask, rather has something akin to war paint adorning his face.
Clearly there is some sort of hierarchy within The Dark Order, some meaning to the designs on the mask and the fact Grayson has never worn one himself, but answers will not be forthcoming from anyone in that camp. The masks have also led to rampant speculation as to what other, if there are any, members of the All Elite Wrestling locker room have bought into what The Dark Order is selling.
We have seen the likes of CIMA, Michael Nakazawa, and Orange Cassidy, among others, courted to join The Dark Order, on most occasions playing off of disappointing AEW records, and life frustrations, as they did with Silver and Reynolds. We have witnessed Evil Uno sew seeds of distrust and misdirection within SCU, causing Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian to question Christopher Daniels' allegiances, and Daniels to even question himself. Fan even began to speculate that The Fallen Angel was The Exalted One, but Daniels put that all to rest at “Revolution” when he joined SCU and Colt Cabana to fight off The Dark Order.
And that brings this exploration to the figure central to The Dark Order: The Exalted One. In the beginning, it appeared Evil Uno was the driving force behind The Dark Order. The human throne was formed for him, Grayson clearly serving as his violent muscle to enforce the intent of The Dark Order, while the Creepers are merely a weapon to be pointed at a target.
But as time rolled on, as the recruitment videos began to proliferate, it became clear there was more than meets the eye. This was an organization preying on the disenfranchised, in and out of wrestling, and when The Exalted One was first mentioned, it provided an identity behind the whole organization. Or at least the idea of an identity...
Immediately fans began to speculate the identity of The Exalted One with guesses ranging from the aforementioned Christopher Daniels to wrestlers not even on the AEW roster. The clues were sparse, forcing the inner detective in every one into overdrive as fans attempted to decipher the truth. All Uno had to offer was that the Exalted One was always watching, and always close. People even went so far as to try to voice analyze videos in which we were privy to the voice of The Exalted One but not the visual.
Is it someone hiding in plain sight?
The messages from Uno, the eerie images, they have become increasingly frequent on social media, and the spokesman from the recruitment videos has even made his presence known on live television on “Dynamite”. With the amped up social media presence, the Christopher Daniels incident, the recently started investigation by Leva Bates and Peter Avalon, it all felt like something big was just on the horizon for All Elite Wrestling and The Dark Order. It was beginning to seem like The Exalted One had wormed within the fabric of AEW, and only Uno & Grayson knew the end game.
But, as it would be announced on “Dynamite” this past Wednesday, the Exalted One will be revealed this coming Wednesday when we go live on TNT at 8pm EST/7pm CST! It feels like this person has been in our midst for months, and now we will know for certain when “Dynamite” hits the airwaves this week. What will be the repercussions of this reveal for All Elite Wrestling, and will anyone else stand by the side of The Dark Order once this unveiling occurs? Tune in Wednesday night to find out!