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Understanding Darby Allin

Neville Triplett profiles one of AEW’s most enigmatic characters, Darby Allin.

If you watched AEW’s Fyter Fest, you witnessed Darby Allin face Cody Rhodes in a match, which culminated in a time limit draw.

For much of the match, Rhodes physically dominated the much smaller Allin, which generated a lot of sympathy for the relative newcomer.

He certainly looks the part with half his face painted like a skull and the other half makeup-free. He insists he paints his face because 50% of him is “dead inside”. For him, this is no gimmick but is a reflection of how he feels. This feeling of being dead inside is the result of a horrific car accident that he endured when he was just five years old. He states that his one burning desire is to be “accepted for me”.

For the casual fan, FyterFest may have been your first introduction to the enigmatic Darby Allin. For the more die-hard and experienced fans, you were likely familiar with Allin from his time in EVOLVE, Lucha Libre AAA, and Full Impact Pro among other promotions. Allin’s inaugural match in AEW did not do justice to his in-ring skills, nor did it allow the fans to truly appreciate the intriguing character he has worked so hard to create aside from his unwillingness to lose a match. I am confident that at All Out on August 31st we will see a very different side of Darby Allin.

To say that Darby Allin’s early life was challenging is a massive understatement. The 22-year-old hardcore specialist from Seattle, Washington has lived through his fair share of adversity and then some. He has experienced homelessness was a passenger in a vehicle driven by his intoxicated uncle in a traffic collision. This tragically took his uncle’s life while it miraculously spared the life of Darby Allin. The former semi-pro skateboarder and current AEW wrestler channelled that pain, which has manifested itself into extreme risk-taking, both on his skateboard and in the ring.

Ironically, the name Darby Allin is a combination of GG Allin and Darby Crash both were known for their outrageous lifestyles and both of whom died of drug overdoses. Darby Allin, unlike his idols and namesakes, is straight edge – ie doesn’t take any drugs, legal or otherwise. To that end, Allin has a tattoo reading “Drug-Free” across his knuckles and more ink which boldly proclaims “nothings over til you’re underground”. He appears to wear these tattoos as a testament to his pain. It should be obvious that the incredibly difficult circumstances which Allin endured in his life have shaped his in-ring persona as well as his wrestling style.

On an episode of VICELAND’s The Wrestlers Allin describes what he is trying to convey to spectators “I like to show people pain because that’s like a daily thing people experience.” Allin appears intent on controlling the narrative of his character and further asserts that “I take the real-life situations and put it in that square circle. That’s what pro wrestling is to me.” The fact that Allin has such an existential view of his craft should not be surprising given his difficult past. Perhaps it is because of his experiences that he has achieved as much as he has in such a short time frame.

Allin’s journey through professional wrestling, like his life, has been anything but typical. The first major break in his career began in an open try out with the wrestling promotion EVOLVE. Two years later he was on the fast track through the organization. His fierce style and penchant for bloody hardcore matches have made him a fan favourite throughout the wrestling universe. This style, while taxing on the body, has the potential to catch the eye of promoters throughout the industry. This is likely how Allin ended up signing with All Elite Wrestling (AEW) the hottest promotion in professional wrestling today.

That he has been wrestling for only four years and has already advanced through the indie circuit and signed with AEW is nothing short of remarkable. Some wrestlers wait for their entire career and are never able to sign with a major promotion. During his, albeit brief tenure in professional wrestling Allin has faced big-time names such as Ethan Page, The Velveteen Dream and teamed with the likes of Sami Callihan, Dave Crist, and AR Fox. Perhaps the biggest name he has faced to date is Jon Moxley. That match, which occurred at the Brass City Brawl, ended in a loss but was a typically strong showing for him.

His signature moves are aligned with his in-ring persona and are spectacular to watch. Chief amongst his moves is the Coffin Drop, which he attempted on Cody, only for Cody to move and Darby to fall straight onto the ring apron – one of the harder parts of the ring. He has quickly established himself as one of the most exciting young wrestlers in the industry today. His high-risk style and his willingness to sacrifice his body have endeared him to fans throughout the wrestling world. At EVOLVE 82 Allin was wrestling Ethan Page in a “Last Man Standing Match” when a gruesome accident occurred. Page delivered a blow to Allin’s elbow with a shovel which resulted in a fractured elbow and his skin was torn to the muscle. The fact that an accident occurred is not uncommon, what is remarkable is that Allin continued to wrestle and finished the match with the injury.

Only time will tell what the future holds for Darby Allin. His particular style of wrestling certainly takes a toll on the body, that much we know. Another known is the fact that Allin is part of a mega match on August 31st at All Out. Allin will face Joey Janela and Jimmy Havoc in what is sure to be an extremely violent hardcore triple threat match, stopping just short of legalised murder.

You can see from the footage below that the stage was set for this match following their loss Fight for the Fallen.

At All Out things could get out of hand as all three of these competitors have shown a willingness to inflict pain on their opponents in cruel and unusual ways and none of the competitors are scared to risk their own safety for a chance at victory. The only expectation I have for this match is that the unexpected can and will occur. This match has the potential to be the mother of hardcore extreme matches. The fact that Allin is involved in this match shows the respect he has garnered from the brass at AEW and the fact that he has been able to accomplish all he has in his career in such a short time frame is nothing short of remarkable.

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