Last night’s pay-per-view is going to go down as a major show in AEW’s history. AEW Full Gear 2020 was the night the Young Bucks and FTR finally wrestled and everyone rejoiced, and the night the Bucks finally took the gold. It was the night Darby Allin got his long awaited big win over Cody to become TNT Champion. And it was the night that Hangman Page and Kenny Omega squared off, a match that itself was a long, long time in the making. Plus, it was the night John Silver battled Orange Cassidy!
That last one probably feels like it doesn’t belong in the same paragraph as the rest. And perhaps not but I do personally think it holds a lot of significance. It was the first-ever PPV main card match for John Silver and I do not expect it to be the last. In fact, I think we’re seeing the beginning of what could be a very special rivalry.
John Silver is the nemesis that Orange Cassidy needs.
This occurred to me during their match last night and now I’m stuck on it. These two are perfect together. It was exactly what I figured it would be in many ways. It starts with the light-hearted, slow paced comedy and lands time and again with an audience that eats it up. Then they hit their second gear and it gets wild. That’s indeed what we saw but it was executed even better than I was expecting.
In that description you can see how these two are similar. Orange Cassidy has become a major part of AEW’s shows with this skillset, and I believe Silver shares a lot of it. Moreover, he’s something that Cassidy was missing, something vital. He’s the hyperactive villainous answer to the lovable lazy man. The Wiley Coyote to his Road Runner.
He’s the mortal enemy that I never knew Orange needed until now. And I hope that’s recognized because there’s no reason these two can’t continue rising together. Orange is already a star and I think Silver is on his way. In an ideal world, they’ll continue facing off for years.
And to think, this never would’ve happened without Being The Elite.
It’s wild to think that up until a few months ago, Silver and his usual partner Alex Reynolds weren’t even officially signed to AEW. They’d been around for a good while already and had already been established as loyal henchmen in the Dark Order. But it wasn’t until the group took off on BTE that they earned their contracts.
In the old days, BTE was famous for this. It made guys like Flip Gordon and even Hangman Page known names. And it was the main avenue through which the Young Bucks originally built their feud with FTR. Plus, it was the main way the Elite built to the historic All-In PPV and is credited as a major part of the Bucks’ famed merch sales records.
Now generally speaking, Being The Elite doesn’t seem to be talked about near as much these days. Since AEW’s emergence, the fans of the Elite have had a weekly television show to keep up with them so the YouTube show is perhaps less significant. Still, even now, it’s clear that BTE remains a powerful tool in establishing characters. And Silver is far and away the biggest success story for the show this year.
To see why, you can check out this Dark Order on Being The Elite compilation:
Indeed, while the video is dedicated to the Dark Order and their beloved bits as a whole, Silver is the guy I have in the thumbnail for that compilation. Not Uno or Grayson or Cabana or even Mr. Brodie Lee himself. It’s Johnny Hungies front and center. That’s no accident, he’s the big breakout star and has really become a cult hit. And slowly but surely, that has bled into AEW.
Tony Khan has even said in interviews that when he saw Silver on Being The Elite, he had to talk to him about why he wasn’t showing that same character on Dynamite. That’s been fixed now and we’re all better off for it.
I do not mean to say that BTE can make someone all by it’s own.
The typical episode gets between 150k-250k views, around that ballpark. Mind you, that’s essentially global, as anyone who can get YouTube can watch it. Don’t get me wrong that is pretty good but certainly a fraction of Dynamite’s global audience. I wouldn’t expect to see someone debut on BTE and then immediately get 20,000 people screaming their name on Dynamite days later, it’s not that immediate.
But when I say BTE is still a star maker, it’s more that it’s a very effective launching pad. It won’t get you the whole way but it’s a helluva start. Enough people in the crowds do watch that otherwise unknown people like Silver and Reynolds can get reactions. If a portion of the crowd is going crazy and chanting for somebody, I think the rest of the crowd takes notice. That’s how a grassroots push begins.
Before long the remainder of the live audience may well catch on and when a whole crowd is screaming for somebody, the TV audience takes notice too. We’ve seen what that’s done for Darby Allin, Jurassic Express and of course Orange Cassidy. It’s harder nowadays but crowds are slowly returning, with Full Gear being the loudest audience AEW has had in a long time. I fully believe John Silver is next.
That’s why when it comes to utilizing the more obscure parts of the roster, BTE cannot be overlooked.
Putting somebody on Being The Elite is fairly low-risk and seemingly low-pressure compared to anything else you could do in AEW. A few bad skits aren’t going to tank this show. If someone doesn’t catch on, oh well. The next one will, or maybe their next bit will fare better.
Because of this, there’s a lot of freedom to allow relative strangers like John Silver and Alex Reynolds to have their own bit and establish their own character. There’s no reason that this can’t be duplicated. Think of all the Dark mainstays we’ve seen have dozens of matches this year, but have never gotten a chance to say a word to us. Their position is identical to where Silver and Reynolds were a year ago. Let Lee Johnson or Ryzin or Serpentico or Shawn Dean or Kilynn King have a go of it, see what they can come up with. Who knows what might happen?
…Not Griff Garrison, though. Honestly, who the fuck is Griff Garrison?