The Dark Order debuted on May 25, 2019, at AEW’s first Double Or Nothing pay per view. The newly formed group consisted of just of Stu Grayson and Uno, who had formally teamed as the Super Smash Brothers in Chikara and PWG. In the beginning, they were on their own, and a bit of an unknown quantity. The real magic started with the introduction of the exalted one, Mr Brodie Lee.

    Fast forward to today, and the stable has grown to more than ten stars, and their leader, Brodie Lee, currently holds the TNT Championship.
    The group has been involved in numerous high profile incidents already, and the sheer number of wrestlers means that they should always be taken seriously. Over the next few paragraphs, we’ll explore why The Dark Order is possibly the most exciting new stable in professional wrestling.

    The Leader

    Mr Brodie Lee is one of the most interesting characters currently in wrestling. The reason for this is simple, the man playing the role is totally invested. Mr Brodie put a huge amount of effort into researching every nuance and detail of the man he plays. On a recent episode of Chris Jericho’s podcast, Talk Is Jericho, Brodie spoke about character ideas he had while working for WWE, showing that he’s been considering the intelligent monster character for a while:

    “I wanted to be a collector of some sort, I’m very much into serial killers, so I wanted to collect something from everyone I would beat. The problem became that I wasn’t beating anyone, so it was hard to collect anything. I also wanted to be a smart monster, like a very intelligent monster, where I could speak like I do, and break my opponents down in a certain way that I wasn’t doing in the Wyatt family,”

    When Brodie joined AEW, the character he has created has been based on real-life cult leaders, from Jim Jones to David Koresh, and even Charles Manson. The mannerisms, speech patterns and structure of the group are all based around some of the most infamous cults in history. Almost everything he does is manipulative. Lee makes use of his intimidating presence perfectly, while continually referring back to the group’s core values.

    Mr Brodie is always impeccably dressed when not competing, normally dressed in a jacket, shirt and tie, and trousers. It is easy to see the links between some of Mr Brodie’s outfits and WWE’s Vince McMahon. Vince is someone who has been suggested as the inspiration for aspects of the character before, something which has been denied.

    So, you people can take it any way you want. And trust me, I hear you. I hear everybody. But nothing was intentional. I have no reason to hate WWE. No reason to hate Vince McMahon, nothing like that. But you take it how you want.”

    The Group Dynamic

    The way the group has behaved most cult-like is the way they’ve set about recruiting new members. Three of the biggest additions to the group are Colt Cabana, Anna Jay, and Tay Conti.

    Conti was recruited as Anna Jay’s best friend, coming straight in and joining instantly. Even playing up the speed in which she joined the group:

    Colt and Anna Jay were both wooed following defeats when they were at their lowest. Anna’s was shocking, laying in the ring following a loss, The Dark Order were led out by Lee on mass. Helping Anna to her feet, she had a moment with Brodie where he took her hand before she was helped to the back.

    The way The Dark Order has wooed Colt has been much more in-depth. When the group helped Cabana, Colt was always shielded from the more vicious side. Colt would be led away by Mr Brodie before the rest of the group attacked someone. The manipulation of Colt was most evident on June 10. Colt was left a beaten man following a loss to Sammy Guevara. This was his third loss in a row. Colt was sat on the ring apron looking totally dejected, again Mr Brodie came out and offered Colt a hand up. Once Colt was on his feet, Brodie left the stage, leaving Colt the choice to leave on his own, or follow The Dark Order. The next week while ringside Colt was given an envelope by Evil Uno bearing The Dark Order symbol. Colt cut a promo later saying that he was worried about losing his job and explaining why he would accept the contract for a single match, tagging with Mr Brodie. Since Colt and Lee won the tag match, Colt has been undefeated and has only competed with The Dark Order.

    The Dark Order hasn’t just confined itself to the weekly AEW shows. Early on the group set up a website where anyone could apply to join The Dark Order. The website was accompanied by a slick recruitment video. The video touched on many classic points, strength in numbers, self-confidence, all playing on people’s common fears.

    All points form the video are echoed on the group’s website. The group posted the following statement under the about section:

    “Are you tired of feeling alone? Unwanted? Disrespected? By joining the Dark Order, you’ll find a new strength in numbers… we will be your friend and biggest supporter. Our simple guidelines and rules will bring a new order into your life, and you will become more powerful than ever before. Join us today, and gain new strength.”

    In the application process, you have to explain why you want to join the group. While this alone is good for fan engagement, Lee and The Dark Order have taken it one step further. Towards the end of April, the group posted a video showing the recruitment of Preston Vance into the group. In the video Lee sits opposite Preston, praising him, and promising him saying that he’s a hard worker, offering power, success, and strength in numbers. At the end of the video, he says to Preston “you are home now, you are Dark Order,”.


    • Mr Brodie Lee (Leader)
    • Evil Uno (1)
    • Stu Grayson (2)
    • Alex Reynolds (3)
    • John Silver (4)
    • Alan Angels (5)
    • Preston Vance (10)
    • Anna Jay (99)
    • Colt Cabana
    • Tay Conti

    The real point is that The Dark Order has more background and nuance than almost any other faction in western professional wrestling currently. Mr Brodie Lee has come in and crafted a beautifully sinister group which has already influenced every division in AEW. The way Lee talks to the group is both unsettling and totally organic, and now with the TNT Championship, it’s unlikely they’ll be going anywhere for a while.