In many ways, 31-year old John Silver is not known as a household name for pro wrestling fans, though, since joining the Tony Khan owned AEW roster of talent, he has quickly changed that persona as an unknown.
All Elite Wrestling has also changed the complexion of a competitive and popular pro wrestling industry, attributed also to their weekly live programming on the TBS and TNT national networks with “Dynamite” and “Rampage.” AEW also has various platforms of programming on YouTube and other social media outlets.
But Wednesday evening, at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, home of the USTA US Open, Silver will be grappling and not serving tennis balls at AEW “Grand Slam” which has become an annual and popular event seen worldwide as part of “Dynamite” live on TRS.
It’s also a homecoming of sorts for Silver, born and still residing in Wantagh, NY, which is not far from the venue. And for Silver, a champion and member of the known “Dark Order ” this is that elite time in the business and he is performing close to home.
“Awesome,” Silver commented when I asked him about his homecoming. “Love doing home shows. Arthur Ashe is a huge building. Definitely a great venue. My friends and family get to go.”
Silver will be in the ring and hear the chants of “AEW,” a promotion that is accustomed to playing host to a rabid and knowledgeable fan base. “Grand Slam” is highlighted with the AEW world title tournament final that involves Bryan Danielson and former champion Jon Moxley.
But for Silver, now as that established superstar and this after a climb from the independent promotions, “Grand Slam” is a pinnacle. AEW promotes successful and annual pay-per-view events around the country but performing in the Big Apple of New York has become a main market for the company.
“I’ve had so many different random jobs, when I was signed, I was a lifetime personal trainer in Long Island (Garden City),” Silver commented. I worked there as a trainer and paid to do independent shows.”
So, indeed getting the contract to work fulltime with AEW is the ascension, and comparable to the ballplayer finally getting a call from the minors to the big leagues. In a brief period of time, Silver is a member of a faction known as “The Dark Order” and is the current BTE Champion in his second reign.
Wrestling fans have been known to say, and critical to a point, that AEW carries too many championship titles, almost like the alphabet soup organizations that dominate pro boxing. However, AEW with a vast roster and limited weekly event schedule manages to satisfy the audience and talent.
Basically, if you don’t hold a major title in AEW that still has meaning. Silver and others continue to showcase their skills and await their time for an opportunity at the major single and tag team titles which are played out weekly on TBS, TNT, YouTube (Elevation, After Dark) and their annual pay-per-view events.
Tony Khan allows his talent to develop their creativity and that goes a long way which is evident when viewing at home or up close. Others in the wrestling industry do it their way and talent get this sense of frustration of being in a gridlock.
Silver has experienced that gridlock with the independents as he continued to make a name. It has worked for him and a mood in the AEW locker room is that comfort of being yourself, and it will be no different Wednesday night at “Grand Slam.”
“Been having time of my life with a lot of cool and fun people.” Silver says. “Working with people in AEW, with me it’s been great. “Really like I can be my own person here allowing me to do certain things. It’s me being me.”
He says it’s your choice to be yourself and the character of John Silver is more realistic in a business that to others is known as a fictional character that goes with a recurring storyline.
But a characteristic of AEW is different in that there’s always the unexpected. Though, the John Silver character is going with the plan and going week-by-week, there are no evil intentions and fans have generally gravitated towards his style and working.
But this is about AEW, Tony Khan delivering what fans have been looking for. And, of course, this is about John Silver.
“Tony Khan is easy to talk to,” Silver said. “Dedicated to wrestling, he loves the show. He’s passionate about pro wrestling, awesome to work with, He cares about us (talent) we are not objects in the wrestling business.”
And John Silver has quickly become more than an object. Wednesday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium, he will continue that rise to stardom at “Grand Slam.” To him this is not fiction and more of a reality of coming home and performing before family and friends.
As he said, “I love AEW. This is where I want to stay.”
Tickets are still available for AEW “Grand Slam” Watch AEW “Dynamite” Wednesday evening 8PM ET on TBS.
Rich Mancuso:Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com Watch “Sports with Rich” live on Tuesday Nights at 8pm EST on The SLG Network/Youtube with Robert Rizzo Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify under The SLG Network.