Stu Grayson and Evil Uno Look Back On Infamous “Phantom Punch” Segment From AEW Dynamite, What Was Originally Supposed To Happen

Posted By James Walsh on 06/16/21


AEW stars Evil Uno and Stu Grayson were the latest guests on Talk Is Jericho to discuss a wide range of topics, most notably the infamous “phantom punches” segment from the last Dynamite in 2019. The Dark Order members reveal what the original idea behind the angle was, and how the local wrestlers who played their minions messed up so bad the angle was later pulled. Highlights are below.

Stu Grayson says that the minions were not honest about how green they were:

Even though we would talk to them over and over, we would ask them ‘are you trained? How long have you been wrestling? Can you throw a punch and a kick? No? Then choke.’ I supposed most of them were not being fully honest because once they were in the ring, it could be stress or anything because you’re on live TV, but what they said they could do, was not for real. When we’d see them punch the floor or walk around and trip, I was like, ‘Jesus Christ, we should have asked if they can walk properly.’ Some of them were too nervous to say they were green because they didn’t want to be cut. I understand that, but you have to honest. If they had said, ‘I’m nervous and green,’ no worries, we’d get them in the back and not have them do much. We’d make it work, but they weren’t completely honest.

Evil Uno adds that their image was severely hurt by the phantom punches video go viral:

Whatever they did is attached directly to us. Dean [Malenko] opened my eyes and said, ‘You need to take care and make sure 100% of everything they do. Whatever they do, it doesn’t matter if it reflects bad on them, they aren’t coming back. You are sticking around.’ The first few months, those mistakes really hurt us as far as image.

Uno reveals that they were nervous because they didn’t realize they were going to be in the main event until that day:

Even on the lead up, we were nervous because that wasn’t the original plan. We didn’t know we were going to end the last Dynamite of the year with a big beatdown on all the faces. When we came in that day, we were told that was the plan. We were nervous because we weren’t really a hot act. We were growing and felt if we were given a couple more weeks to build it up, it could work. We never consider ourselves a main event angle. We had no direction for the top. Our original plan was to have the losers from the show. That’s why got Alex [Reynolds] and John [Silver] because they had lost a minute on the first two shows. If we get them, we have people who know what they’re doing and they can have longer matches. We had no great reveal other than that. We weren’t happy the segment happened to begin with. On top of that, we knew the reaction was flat and as soon as we came to the back, the phone is blowing up and it was picked up on instantly. Most of the local guys didn’t understand that the camera is on at all times. They mistimed a lot of our timing. Some interactions were cut short.

Grayson lays out what was originally supposed to happen:

The main idea was every time a face would come in, they would hit a creeper like it was nothing, then I would come in and get the star down, and the creepers would pile on him. Next one comes in, he pops people around, I put him down, and every single time, they’d just swarm [the face] and were beating the piss out of Kenny and Cody. What are you doing? Why are you hurting the stars?

Uno says the angle with the Elite got pulled and he was afraid they were going to be cut:

We were supposed to have a follow-up on the first show in January and they cut us entirely from the show and cut us the next couple of weeks as well. At that point, it was a moment where it was like, ‘well, we’re done. I don’t think we can come back.’ To Tony’s credit, he thought of the Exalted One and had something to gear towards.

(H/T and transcribed by Fightful)