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JOHN SILVER DISCUSSES FACING BRYAN DANIELSON IN HIS HOMETOWN, THE DARK ORDER, BRODIE LEE, HIS LONGTIME BROMANCE WITH ALEX REYNOLDS, RETURNING HOME FOR AEW'S LONG ISLAND DEBUT AND MORE

By Mike Johnson on 2021-12-07 11:00:00

Long Island's John Silver is home this week, but also in another galaxy.  This Wednesday, Silver will make the short drive from his home to take part in AEW's debut at the new UBS Arena in Belmont, Long Island.  Silver will also step into the ring for one his highest profile matches to date on TNT's AEW Dynamite, facing Bryan Danielson as the Danielson makes his way through members of the Dark Order as part of Danielson's pursuit of AEW Champion Hangman Page.  On a week where the stars and constellations arrive for the native New Yorker, Silver sat down with PWInsider.com to reflect on the moment, his AEW run and more.

Mike Johnson: Would you agree with me that this is the biggest singles match of your career?

John Silver: Yeah, I guess you could argue that my match against Darby Allin because it was for the TNT Title as well, that is right there too. That was a main event, but I think we'll have the most eyes on this match. Definitely.  With no offense to any other guys I went against, but Bryan's definitely got to be the biggest star I've ever wrestled, especially in a singles match. This is going to be a special night.

Mike Johnson:  No pressure, no pressure at all.

John Silver: [Laughs] Yeah. Yeah. Right.

Mike Johnson: So AEW's going to debut in Long Island. You're a Long Island guy, you and Alex Reynolds, Tony Nese who are all with the company now, all started there. What does it mean to you to have AEW coming to Long Island and to have you be such a big part of this debut event in that area of New York for AEW? 

John Silver: I mean, its amazing. Last time we were in New York, I was lucky enough to just be on one of the dark matches and going into that show, I didn't even think I was going to be on the show at all because I wasn't advertised. So, that got me a little nervous. So coming to Long Island, when I heard it was announced, I'm like, 'Damn, I hope I just have something on the card. If I could be on at least Dark, if I could do something, I'll be happy.'  To see I've got a huge match against Bryan Danielson is even better. I mean, it's just awesome. We've been waiting for AEW to come to Long Island for forever and for it to happen.  Now I'm wrestling Bryan Danielson is just unreal almost.

Mike Johnson: So the story that is unfolded on AEW programming is that Bryan is going through The Dark Order en route to Winter Is Coming when he'll challenge Adam Page for the World Heavyweight Championship on the 15th, The Dark Order's been a big part of your identity since coming to AEW, Brodie Lee, unfortunately no longer with us, but what does it mean to you to help carry that banner and help carry on the legacy of Brodie as part of The Dark Order in the company?

John Silver: It's so great.   Anyone that's ever met Brodie only has positive things to say about him.  He's such a great guy and he helped not just my career, but everyone in The Dark Order's career, so much. So it's great to carry that on.  I see his family all the time, Amanda and the kids, I love Brodie and Nolan. So we get to see them all the time. So it's good that we're still in contact, still talk to them all the time. I think it's just The Dark Order's taken over.  It just went from this little thing that it was just Stu and Uno. Then, it was me and Alex there. We had Brodie come and became this big thing and now it's just something that's a little twist on it. It's a little different and it's just great that we're still going. Like the last thing I wanted to do was break up, so I'm glad we're all still together. We're all still get along. We still have a great time together. Not just in front of the camera, but behind the scenes, we're also always having a good time. We're all good friends. So it's really cool that we get to still do The Dark Order, it's great.

Mike Johnson: Being a Long Island guy, you and Alex Reynolds have been teaming for a long time as The Beaver Boys. And then now as part of The Dark Order. How do you think you and Alex have changed over the years? It seems like so long ago, but I remember when we were doing PWInsider TV, we had you guys on very early on your careers and you both evolved and have grown as performers and have now graduated into stars as part of AEW.   Looking back, how do you think you and Alex have changed over the years? And why do you think you and Alex have remained aligned as closely as you have on camera and behind the scenes?

John Silver: So I think we changed more as performers in the ring since when we started than we have as like, I guess you could say our characters or our personalities because especially, like I could tell for myself, what you see out there as my personality really it's not much different from what you see backstage. I'm just being me and there's no acting, there's no putting on a show.  It's just me acting like myself.  I think I've always been like that a little bit, even when I had long spiky hair in Long Island, New York and was screaming around the ring.   I think I learned to adapt to how wrestling styles are and what works for me. That's going to be most important is that once you know your full identity of not just how you are as a character, but who you are in the ring, then it just all comes together and just like meshes very well.  We have little tweaks, not even like big tweaks, just little tiny tweaks that we made that definitely helped our career go in the right direction and finally get to AEW. Alex started about a week or two before me training at NYWC and I was 14 years old. I think Alex was either 18 or 19, I forget, but now I'm 30.   It's been a long road to finally get to where we are, but just like I said, just little tiny tweaks because I've never really changed who I am as a person, because I just do me. I just go out there and act silly, I guess. I don't know, I just do whatever I feel.

Mike Johnson: With the Danielson match this Wednesday, you're walking down the aisle, you're going to be in front of eight, 10, 11,000 fans in Long Island. What do you expect from that match and what can fans expect from that match?  From my perspective, having watched you grow up in pro wrestling, I look at that as a dream match for you because I know what you can bring, but for a lot of fans, this may be be the first chance to see you presented in such a high level circumstance. For you, what are you expecting and hoping for out of this match and what do you think fans can expect out of the match?

John Silver: I think fans, depends on how well they've followed my career. If you only see me in AEW, I don't think some people are aware of what I can do in the ring, especially when I was on the Indy's I was using more of my kickboxing and jujitsu style, which I haven't done as much [in AEW.]  I have done it a little bit here, but I've had a very similar style to Bryan Danielson. I like to kick hard. I like to throw strikes. I like submissions that's because I'm trained in kickboxing and jujitsu and amateur wrestling as well. So I think they're going to get some of that and they're going to be surprised that someone like me I like to have a good time and make people laugh, can do that type of thing.  I feel like in pro wrestling, when you see someone that likes to make people laugh, they usually don't wrestle that style. That's what I'm going to show them, I'm going to show them a hard hitting, badass match and hopefully I can expect everyone chanting Johnny Hungee, or John Silver, or Dark Order or something like that. I've had some really great times. A lot of these places I've wrestled and the entire crowd going nuts. So hopefully Long Island, they go even more crazy. And I want to hear them chanting loud.

Mike Johnson: Given that we're recording this on Monday, the latest edition of Being The Elite came out earlier today. How important do you think being included on that YouTube series was for your rise in AEW and finding your place in the company?

John Silver: I will say it's just about a hundred percent important in my career because it let me be me because before that I wasn't being me. I was trying to, I guess, be a character and I guess it wasn't working.  I was in The Dark Order.   Alex and I were in The Dark Order.  So, I thought that my type of silly personality wouldn't make sense to do anywhere.  So when I finally just kind of let loose and did it on BTE, all the fans were like, 'Whoa, I didn't know John Silver was like this, I'm starting to like this guy, I'm starting to like this guy.'    Then eventually you see a lot of the comments were all about me and the rest of The Dark Order. And then of course Tony Khan saw it.  It's actually a funny story. I was doing it on BTE for a little while and I wouldn't do it out. I guess I didn't really have the opportunity to do too much on TV, but Tony calls me over and someone's like, I forgot who it was, but they're like, "Hey Tony, Tony wants to talk to you."  They said like serious. I'm like, "Oh no, what'd I do, what'd I do now?" So I go up to Tony and he just says, "Where do you get off?" And I'm like, "What?"

Mike Johnson: Oh no.

John Silver: Yeah!  I'm like, "Oh my God, what'd I do, I'm, I'm getting fired." He's like, "You got all this charisma on personality and you're so funny on BTE, but you're not doing it on TV. Where do you get off?"   I'm like, "I, I didn't know I was supposed to. I thought I was supposed to be a spooky cult gimmick," and he's like, "Well, let's start doing it on TV."  Khan watches and if stuff is working he'll put it on TV, he likes to see what the crowd likes and what's getting reactions. And just like when I had that match with Cole, if we didn't do the whole budge thing, that match definitely would've never happened. So it's definitely given me pretty much all my opportunities.

Obviously, we were doing this stuff on BTE with Brodie as well. So one of the ideas was for me and Brodie to be like Raven and Stevie Richards and that's what we were doing for a little bit before he got sick.  That all came out of what we were doing on BTE. So it was just very important, like everything we do on BTE is always just very important. It could take your character, it could take you this way. It could take you to the main event of Rampage or main event of Dynamite. It's very important if you use it the right way. And I think I've been using it the right way, I guess.

Mike Johnson: Do you think it was just part of the learning curve of pro wrestling and just the life experiences of going from wrestling on the independents, where you're presented a certain way but just having the ability to just relax and bringing out that aspect of yourself out when you're on TV. Do you think it was just a process of figuring out what worked for you on television versus what worked for you on the independents since those are two completely different animals?

John Silver: I just think it was just the opportunity of it happening. I mean, me not knowing at first that that's what I should do because I remember just thinking no one told me I can't be on BTE early when I started AEW, but I just thought, "Well, I am in this, you know, serious, angry cult gimmick, I shouldn't be funny." Before I used to do AEW, in Beyond Wrestling, a company in the Massachusetts area, I would do like silly promos and just stuff pretty much be how I am now, there, but once I signed with AEW, I didn't know that's what I should do. So I don't know if it would be necessarily a learning curve. I just didn't know.   I just didn't know I just should let loose, because I was letting loose everywhere else and I was saying what I wanted to say. I was doing what I wanted to do. I thought it would be super strict here, but they want you to be yourself here, which is great, because that's exactly what works for me, is being myself. So just more so actually just doing me until it eventually worked, I guess.

Mike Johnson:  I think that's part of the culture of AEW too, is that it's very different in that regard.  I know you've worked dark matches for WWE and you've worked for other companies where there's that feeling backstage of be careful where you step, you don't want to break the eggshells, because it's going to be the end of your life if you do that.  In AEW culture is almost like the exact opposite, like, all right, let's break the eggs and make a couple omelets and figure out what tastes best.  It just seems like the atmosphere is [that] they've taken the hourglass and they've flipped it over from the way things run in other companies.

John Silver: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Mike Johnson: You are going to be the last stop for Bryan Danielson in his pursuit of the AEW World Championship.  You were there at Full Gear in Minneapolis when Adam Page won the world championship.  You were in the ring with him afterwards when that pay-per-view went off the air.  Gven everything that's gone on with The Dark Order and the ups and downs and the loss of Brodie and then Adam Page becoming part of that story, finding himself in the relationship with The Dark Order and his whole story.   What was it like watching him ascend to the top of AEW and having the chance to be there and to take in and enjoy that moment?

John Silver: It was awesome because he's such a genuinely nice guy.   Before AEW, I had never met him before. Even at the beginning, when I was there, I really didn't talk to him until we started doing stuff on BTE and then we all became good friends and just seeing how he is such a genuinely nice guy.   He's not the type of guy that's going to go crazy. He wants to get home to his family as quickly as possible. He's a family man. He works hard. He's constantly thinking about what to do for wrestling and what to do here on BTE and what stuff with us.  So, it was just great to see him work. He wasn't given anything, he worked his butt off to get where he was. So it was awesome. I mean, he's such a great guy. So you want to see people like that succeed. And I was very happy for him. We were all very happy for him because I think we all kind of help each other for a little while and he definitely helped The Dark Order, massively as well. So he was able to help us. And so it was good to see him win the biggest title in the world. It was great.

Mike Johnson:   You've been around pro wrestling for a number of years now. I've watched you literally from the beginning of your career to now. I want to ask you this. What do you love the most about pro wrestling at this point in your life?  Has what you loved about pro wrestling changed as you've had more success over the course of your run?

John Silver: I think the main thing you have to love is just the reactions you can get from the crowd. That's why wrestling in the pandemic was such a difficult task. You didn't have that at all, but you still had a lot of fun.   I actually wrestled Hangman during the pandemic for Dynamite. There was a lot of times where I wrestled some of these matches, especially when we had Dark matches in front of nobody where you can't get the adrenaline going.   It's hard to get pumped up, but me and Hangman went out there, we beat each other up, we had a good match and I got that adrenaline. I got that rush of being in the ring and having a good match. So you can get that just from having a great match, but with the crowds back and the roar of the crowds, it feels fantastic.

I mean, like you go somewhere and once you hear 'Join The Dark Order', the music starts, the crowd starts going nuts.  Once we start walking out, it just gets even louder. And then just the 'Johnny Hungee' chant constantly.  When we started AEW, we didn't even think we'd get these reactions like ever, especially in the beginning, we just really were like the backup guys, me and Alex, of The Dark Order, didn't really wrestle. Just kind of at the side, outside the ring, maybe get beat up every once in a while, but now we're getting these massive reactions from the crowd and the crowd is just fantastic. So I got to say, I just love hearing that crowd roar, it's just amazing.

Mike Johnson: What do you think that rush of adrenaline's going to be like this Wednesday at the UBS Arena?

John Silver: Oh, it's going to be massive. It's going to be great. Just thinking about some of the stuff that we've accomplished and now being able to go into one of the big matches, it's about 20 minutes from my house. So my friends and family are going to be there. We'll see how I feel. I'm going to feel amazing, it's going to be great, but I'll tell you when I wrestled my first pay-per-view match, it was me versus Orange Cassidy at Full Gear last year.  When I started to walk out, I started to get slightly emotional. I'm like, "Damn, there's a tear in my eye'  because I was so happy about where we'd come from to being in a pay-per-view match. This isn't pay-per-view, but it's going to be a huge match against a huge star in front of my friends and family. So hopefully I can control the emotions and it's going to feel amazing though. I can't wait.

Mike Johnson: You're not going to be far in terms of mileage, but in terms of galaxies, you're going to be a million miles away from the old days of the NYWC Psycho Circus.  Why should they make sure that they're watching the AEW Dynamite this Wednesday night?

John Silver: Oh, because you're going to see an amazing match. You're going to see emotion. You're going to see some hard hitting action and you're going to see someone that just loves to be in the ring and loves to wrestle and loves to be in front of the crowd. It's going to be great.  AEW shows are always fantastic and the crowd always is fantastic and this is going to be a big arena. This crowd's going to be going nuts. These shows are just so much fun. Like even when I'm not on the show, I like watching, I usually will try to find an area, a box out there to watch because there's just so much fun to watch. This show's going to be an amazing show. I'm going to beat him up. I'm going to kick his head in and I'm going to get the win. So it's going to be even better for me.

AEW Dynamite airs this Wednesday at 8 PM EST on TNT.

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