Who Should Lead AEW's Dark Order? Sifting Through Matt Hardy, Raven Rumors, More
All Elite Wrestling has one of the sport's most interesting storylines going thanks to the Dark Order.
While the stable got off to a rough start, the upstart company hasn't thrown up the white flag on it, and it's starting to pay off. The bumpy opening is mostly forgotten, and the members feel like a real threat to even the biggest names like The Young Bucks.
And there's the whole mystery angle too.
Who leads the Dark Order? Rumors and speculation have centered on this topic for months, and AEW has smartly employed it to keep fans invested. Even better, it could be anyone, including some outsiders.
Here are the candidates.
Christopher Daniels seems like the safest bet to be the Dark Order's Exalted One.
The 49-year-old has flirted with the faction in the past before turning them away. He's the odd man out (for the most part) among his SCU buddies, and being a puppetmaster of sorts who doesn't have to hit the ring often suits him at this stage of his career.
Granted, that does make it seem like he's a red herring of sorts, drawing attention away from the upcoming big surprise. However, Daniels has a longstanding history of promo work, he could put to use in this role and put the group over as villainously as possible.
If it isn't Daniels, though, he's far from the only intriguing option.
This is probably one of the most interesting internet theories out there.
After suffering repeated beatdowns, Matt Hardy is clearly on his way out with WWE. And if the booking itself didn't make it obvious enough, his social media actions did.
Coincidence? Maybe. But fans know how big of a deal social media is in wrestling. They also know Hardy's wide range of character iterations in and out of WWE lately have been amazing. He would vibe incredibly well with Dark Order and be a huge addition to the promotion.
There's a name fans probably haven't heard in a long time.
Raven is a storied presence, though an unexpected one when it comes to something like AEW. Yet it did look like he was sitting ringside recently when the Dark Order was delivering a beatdown—and AEW made sure to point it out.
According to Paul Davis of WrestlingNews.co, the 55-year-old is one of the favorites to end up in the spotlight here. It would make perfect sense given his longstanding history with cults in wrestling, with The Flock coming to mind before anything else.
While Raven wouldn't be a stunner of a revelation like a Matt Hardy, he holds just enough nostalgia factor and prominence to make it work wonderfully.
Don't forget about Luke Harper.
The former WWE Superstar with big-time talent never felt like he got the big position he deserved with the bigger promotion.
That could all change with AEW.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter in January (h/t Wrestling Inc's Marc Middleton), the plan is for the ex-Bludgeon Brother to make his AEW debut on March 18 in his hometown, Rochester, New York.
But that's exactly what a promotion trying to swerve its fans would say. Harper appearing before then as the leader of the Dark Order would be momentous. It wouldn't be Jon Moxley-style big, but it would be huge, and he would fit better than most on this list.
It has to be Matt Hardy.
Good as Luke Harper is, Hardy is a bigger name. And if the aforementioned rumor about Harper debuting in his hometown is correct, it would be a little odd for a bad guy leading a group of other bad guys to make such a good-guy-scenario debut.
This is right up Hardy's alley. The witty use of social media, the promotion-to-promotion storylines, it all just vibes. And with how long AEW is dragging out revealing the leader of the group, it would have to be a huge name, probably unveiled at the Revolution pay-per-view on Feb. 29.
Hardy is the biggest name of all. He would actually swing some things in the (supposedly non-existent) competition with WWE. He would generate interest on a massive scale and, best of all, he would give Dark Order the best possible chance to flourish for the long term.
Where more casual viewers might shrug off a Daniels-fronted Dark Order, for example, Hardy's leadership would make for must-see events.
AEW has to know this, which is why he's perfect.