AEW Rumors: 'SmackDown' Star Is 'Leading Speculated Name' For Dark Order Leader, Per Dave Meltzer

Amid rampant rumors that Matt Hardy is planning to leave WWE upon the expiry of his contract in March, a new report has added to the speculation that the erstwhile Friday Night SmackDown superstar might eventually be revealed as the leader of rival promotion AEW's Dark Order faction.

As quoted by, Dave Meltzer wrote on this week's edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Hardy is, at the moment, the "leading speculated name" to be confirmed as the greater power behind The Dark Order. The veteran wrestling journalist explained that this is because the mysterious stable had just started hinting at the presence of such a character, as well as the fact that Hardy recently kicked off his "Free the Delete" video series on YouTube.

The rumors regarding the WWE veteran's involvement in the Dark Order storyline first started swirling last week, thanks to a vignette that featured an altered voice saying the word "wonderful" and proceeding to give orders to group member Evil Uno. noted that Hardy has been known to use that word as one of his "Broken" persona's catchphrases, adding that if AEW continues building up the angle slowly until the end of February, it would make sense if he is indeed revealed as the stable's leader in March.

Matt Hardy performs the 'delete' gesture on an episode of Monday Night Raw.

Furthermore, the publication explained that Matt and Jeff Hardy had once considered doing a "year-long storyline" with another pair of brothers -- Matt and Nick Jackson of The Young Bucks -- early in 2017, back when both tag teams were working for Ring of Honor. These long-term plans, however, did not come to fruition because The Hardy Boyz soon received an offer to rejoin WWE and made their big return to the company at WrestleMania 33.

Aside from Hardy, longtime wrestling personality Jim Cornette has also been rumored to be The Dark Order's leader, as the growing faction's most recent video featured the former WWE manager's signature tennis racquet in the background. However, opined that Cornette may be too much of a long shot for the big reveal, considering how he had made several disdainful comments in the past about AEW and its talents.

Although it's still uncertain whether Hardy will leave WWE in March as rumored, The Inquisitr reported on Friday that he has been dropping some hints about his future plans on his "Free the Delete" videos. The most recent clip in the series mentioned how the 45-year-old wrestler's zenith will "cease to exist past 3220" -- a possible reference to March 2, 2020, or what could be his first day as a free agent.