On Wednesday’s episode of AEW Dynamite, fans finally learned the identity of the mysterious figure known as “The Exalted One” — the greater power behind the Dark Order stable. However, it wasn’t Matt Hardy who was revealed as the faction’s leader, despite the rumors that suggested it would be him, along with the fact he also made his AEW debut on the show. Instead, it was fellow WWE alumnus Brodie Lee (formerly Luke Harper) who was confirmed as The Exalted One when all was said and done.
As recapped by Cultaholic, the reveal started with Dark Order member Evil Uno getting ready to announce The Exalted One’s identity, only for Christopher Daniels to interrupt the promo and question the existence of this figure. This led to a vignette featuring Lee, who wore a hooded costume and said that Daniels was not the “first out-of-touch old man to not believe in him,” adding that he’ll make sure he’s the last. The video then cut back to the ring, where Lee appeared next to Uno and Stu Grayson as all three Dark Order members teamed up to attack Daniels and his SoCal Uncensored stablemate, Frankie Kazarian.
Originally, this week’s Dynamite was supposed to take place in Lee’s hometown of Rochester, New York, though concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic forced AEW to move the taping to Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) March 19, 2020
Months after originally announcing via social media that he had requested to be let go from his WWE contract, Lee was released by the company in December, along with Sin Cara and Ascension members Konnor and Viktor. The former Wyatt Family and Bludgeon Brothers member last competed in a WWE house show in November and had long been rumored to be headed to AEW due to his friendships with many of the promotion’s key personalities.
Although the aforementioned reveal put the kibosh on speculation that Hardy was the higher power behind The Dark Order, AEW still found a way to give the multiple-time former WWE tag team champion a chance to debut for the company — just 17 days after he became a free agent.
According to WrestlingNews.co, Hardy was introduced by Matt and Nick Jackson of The Young Bucks as the latter’s replacement in The Elite’s upcoming match against Chris Jericho and The Inner Circle at Blood and Guts. This special episode of Dynamite is still scheduled to air next week despite how coronavirus concerns recently forced a change in venues, though as Comic Book reported last week, a replacement venue has yet to be announced.