What we learned from: John Silver on Insight with Chris Van Vliet

Image credit: Simplecast

John Silver, AEW wrestler and member of The Dark Order was recently a guest on Insight with Chris Van Vliet. They discussed how he met his long time partner Alex Reynolds, some memories of the late Brodie Lee. Also, John recalls a point where he thought he was going to be fired from All Elite Wrestling. The most notable quotes can be found below:

On jobs he had before AEW:

“When I got hired, I was working at a gym called Lifetime as a trainer. My girlfriend makes fun of me because I’ve had a million jobs. Since I was 18 I’ve worked in multiple pizza places, kickboxing instructor, multiple gyms. Basically anything where I could make money but also get off so I can wrestle. I got lucky because Alex [Reynolds] also worked at Lifetime, but at a different location. I got hired because my boss used to wrestle and loved wrestling. He let me have the days off but I had to show up on the days I wasn’t wrestling.”

On when he realized wrestling would be full time:

“I think it was when they put us in The Dark Order. Every time we went down to AEW, Matt Jackson always came up to us with an idea. But it was always very nonchalant, so I didn’t think it was going to happen. The first time we went down, we lost to Santana and Ortiz in a minute and a half. [before the match] We were pumped because we were hit up, then they said “Hey we wanna book you for AEW.” It wasn’t that we asked or anything, they came to us. When we got there, the board said local talent. We could have been anyone really.”

“We then thought we weren’t hoping to come back But Matt Jackson had this idea. He suggested that we come back every week and always announced as the local talent and lose. I was like whatever you want. It was then 2 weeks off, I thought we weren’t getting called back, but we were called for West Virginia episode of Dynamite. They hit us up, and we had the match with Trent and Chuck. They flew us out and put us up in a hotel. Matt Jackson then said “Oh we might put you in the Dark Order, I don’t know.” I didn’t know if it was going to happen or not.”

“I think it was another week or 2 we were off and eventually it started to progress. We started filming vignettes and all that stuff. Once we got into The Dark Order, we knew this was going to be our job.”

On a plan B:

“I was always trying to think of stuff that I would enjoy in case wrestling didn’t work out. I gave myself until 30. If I didn’t make it by then, maybe I would have moved to Hawaii, or somewhere nice and just work on the resort. I’m not big on a fancy car and lots of money, I just like to enjoy myself and enjoy my life. But it never came to that so we’re good.”

On his time as an extra in WWE and if he thought it would go further:

“No, because just the way that they do stuff. [In WWE] If you’re an extra, that means nothing, unless you are an extra that’s 6 foot 6 and jacked. If you’re not, they don’t care. How many people have been signed because they got squashed and WWE liked that? I knew it wasn’t very likely. Back in the day, they used to have you do matches during the day, and they would see if they liked you then. I’ve done extra work a bunch of times and I’ve had one match during the day against Alex. We had a good match it went 5 minutes, but I’m looking around and I don’t think anyone there is in a position to hire anyone. People said they liked it, but I never thought anything would come from it.”

On wearing masks in The Dark Order:

“It was weird. I feel like there wasn’t really a conversation on the mask situation. They gave us the masks, we thought that we were going to come to the ring with the masks on and take them off when we wrestle. Then they were like no it’s the opposite way. They already know what your face looks like, you come to the ring without the masks but you put them on when you wrestle. I didn’t want to wrestle with a mask on again, I’ve wrestled in Chikara with a mask and it’s not fun. Obviously, I’m just happy to be there.”

“But the mask is tight, it moves around, you can’t see as good as you normally can. They gave us the masks, and they were pretty crappy masks. So we had to buy our own. We had to have a conversation with Christopher Daniels on if we should, because we didn’t know if this was going to be for just a few shows. It ended up being a few months, but I needed to get something that feels good on the beard.”

Chris: When was it decided that the masks should come off?

“When BTE happened and people liked us. Tony watches it and went “Don’t wear your mask. You have all this character show your face, why are you wearing a mask?” I’m lucky he said something eventually. I thought it was funny that he said it as if I want to wear the mask all the time.”

On Being the Elite (BTE) appearances:

“I don’t know if it was Uno’s idea or Matt Jackson’s for us. He mentioned that we should do some recruitment bits for BTE. Uno said it would be good for Johnny and Alex. The first thing we filmed was a reason why we should recruit people. We had us in the room, Brody comes in, throws the papers at Uno and we saw so many comments about that bit. After that we knew we needed to film stuff. We need Brodie, we need the whole group.”

“BTE is 100% our ideas, 100% stuff we say. It’s just us being us, no one is telling us to do anything. It’s cool that people are liking it, because that means they are liking us as people. There’s not much of a character that I’m playing, it’s just us joking around really. It’s crazy how much that affects Dynamite. If you stuff on BTE, people will start chanting it at the Dynamite shows.”

“Me and Alex thought we were going to get fired. When the pandemic hit, New York was in lockdown, so we couldn’t go to any shows. And they Stu and Uno are from Canada, they couldn’t do any shows. We had Brodie do his debut, then after that we weren’t there so they added 5 and 10. Then we were like OK that’s it, those are our replacements, because they both go to Cody’s school, The Nightmare Factory. We eventually came back, we were in bad spirits, me and Alex. We decided to do the BTE stuff. And that completely changed everything.”

On how he met Alex Reynolds for the first time:

“It was when I started training at 14 years old. I think Alex was 18. He started training about a week or 2 before I did. I started training and Mikey Whipwreck was a trainer. With him you’ve got to do the basics right. We took about 2-3 months before we were allowed in the ring, it was just chain wrestling on the outside. There were 8 new people at that time, so we all stayed together. I think out of all those 8, only me and Alex stayed together. We realized that Alex lives pretty close to me, so I asked him for a ride home. My mum would drive me there and he would drive me home. Multiple car rides of 15 – 20 minutes. Once people started liking us, we started going to Taco Bell and hanging out. So it all kind of came from there.”

On working the Brodie Lee tribute show:

“I’m a pretty emotional guy, so that was difficult, but I thought I was going to be worse. The whole day was difficult, being around people. It was good too, but I’m like I can’t stop thinking about this. The match itself, if you look at the first match [Colt Cabana and The Young Bucks vs Matt Hardy and Private Party] If you look, I wasn’t there for the entrance, I come in late because I went to the back. I went to my room and I was not in a good mood. I forgot Colt was up and I forgot I had to do the entrance. When I heard the music and I thought screw it, I started running. You don’t see me coming out with them, but when Colt eventually does the pose, I’m there.”

“The match itself, I got out there and I have the match on my mind. In a sense it is taking me away from Brodie, but it’s something to think about. It was right after once I hit the [discus] line it kind of all hit me at once. So it was very difficult but it all hit me at once.”

On Brodie Lee as a person:

“He was the man. He was such a happy good guy. There was no negativity, he was always laughing, he would always have this big smile, especially with this big beard he had going on. But he’s just a good guy. He bought the ring jacket I have just because it would help me look more like a star if I had it. He also bought me matching gear that I wore at the Brodie show.
It was just supposed to be for the BTE sketch, and then I asked him he’s like I want to buy you this stuff it’s going to be cool. I’m like that’s so cool what’s the sketch. He’s like I don’t know, we’ll think of something. He didn’t have a real idea in mind, but he thought it would be funny if Silver dresses like me one day. It wasn’t cheap gear, altogether it cost over $1,000 that he spent on me that he didn’t have to, I didn’t ask for it. Just because he thought it would be good for BTE and for me and the skits we do.”

“He’s just super nice, always positive. I don’t think anyone has a bad thing to ever say about him. He was such a good guy, such a genuine guy and so funny too. We’re trying to get through these sketches, and he would purposely try his absolute hardest to make me laugh. If I laugh, we’ve got to do it again. You see so many sketches of him getting right into my face and screaming sh*t at me, and just trying to make me laugh. It always worked, which is why we had to start pretending we were crying because we were always laughing.”

On the Alex Reynolds injury:

“I didn’t know until Billy Gunn realized. I didn’t see it happen, I think I was on the floor. Alex was in the corner, so I go up to Alex and he was fine talking to me. We had to do something coming up in the match. Billy Gunn was like “go check on him now.” I go up to Alex and say “Are you good.” and he’s like “Yeah I’m good.” But he’s just laying there. I’m like OK this is our spot. Then he starts to get up and I realize oh no he isn’t good. But the way he was talking to me was fine. He wasn’t slurring or anything weird. So once he got moving, I could have grabbed him and done everything myself, but at that point he’s up and he’s there. It was so quick. I was going to try and tell Nick [Jackson] hey he’s messed up, but at that point he’s already doing everything. I think I said it as it’s going on, but I don’t know if he heard me. Nick realized pretty quick as it’s going on that Alex is a little messed up there.”

On future goals:

“I want to keep the ball rolling forward. Right now, I really can’t wait until the full force crowds come back, it’s going to be a whole different world. I always want to be on TV and relevant. I don’t want to fall off for a few weeks. Of course, you want to win the belt. This year I want an action figure too.”

On what he is grateful for:

“Where I’m at in life in general, my fans, my family and friends.”

John Silver can be found on Twitter here and Instagram here.

Full podcast audio can be found below:

The video version can be found below:

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