Darby Allin’s TNT Championship match at Full Gear is a point of no return for the AEW superstar.
“I am approaching the match with a do or die mentality. I am sick of being overlooked and I am sick of being overshadowed! Whenever a pay-per-view creeps around I am nowhere to be found on the card in a prominent position. When I win this match, it will show that I am the man and I will no longer be overshadowed or overlooked!” he told Slam Wrestling in an exclusive interview.
History isn’t on Allin’s side though. His first match against Cody at 2019’s Fyter Fest ended in a time-limit draw. Cody won their second match in January on Dynamite, and Cody defeated him in the TNT Title tournament semi-final in April.
Allin promises fans will see a different Darby Allin on Saturday.
“Beating Cody means more to me than the championship. When I made my debut in the company nobody thought I would be able to hang with everyone else. In the grand scheme of everything, they thought I was a nobody. I showed them I could hang with Cody but I didn’t win. I didn’t win during our second match or our third match, so now I have to win. I have to ease my mind,” he said almost spitting out the words out, frustration and anger seeming to overtake him for the moment.
Allin hasn’t forgotten about the TNT Championship either. Winning that belt would silence all of the people who have ever doubted him, in and outside of the squared circle.
“The championship also means the world to me because it shows I can be the face of the company as Darby Allin. I didn’t have to change who the hell I was. I came here as me and I will leave here as me,” he said.
The 27-year-old Allin admits that, when he entered the business five years ago, he had a very big chip on his shoulder because of the naysayers in his life. He is grateful to now have such influential, experienced and positive mentors.
“When I first started wrestling, it was like the blind leading the blind. There are these douchebag independent wrestlers who try to critique you to death. It is cool to have people like Cody (Rhodes), Dustin (Rhodes), (Chris) Jericho and (Dean) Malenko to show you what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong,” he said.
Many, including AEW’s own preeminent announcer Jim Ross, have compared Allin to a young Jeff Hardy when it comes to his style and his attitude. Allin, originally from Seattle, Wash., appreciates the comparison but believes he is paving his own road, his way.
“I am only concerned about Darby Allin. I couldn’t care less about anyone else. There is nobody who is doing what I am doing inside and outside of the ring. I am on my own wave length. I live by my own rules,” he said.
Those rules include Allin not putting up his feet when the television tapings or other professional obligations are done. When the television cameras go dark and Daily’s Place empties that is when “the mad, crazy s—t starts happening” in his life.
A former film student, Allin (Samuel Ratsch) has brought his love of the medium to AEW. Allin and his crew are responsible for all of his segments and interviews.
“Every promo you see, I am filming all on my own. It is my crew of people and we edit it together. There aren’t a lot of people who are busting their asses still once the weekly taping ends. A lot of people just sit and wait for things to come to them. I have never been that way. Once you give me the ball you are never going to get it back, period. That is how I feel with these promos. I am able to create my own art and air it on national television. You best believe that I am going to take full advantage of that,” he said.
The one segment that stands out for Allin is the one he cut with skateboarding legend and one of Allin’s idols: Tony Hawk. The shoot almost didn’t happen because Hawk broke his hand and wasn’t sure he would be able to make it. While waiting, Allin continued to shoot footage including him attempting to drop-in on a ladder. In Allin’s words he ended up ‘eating s-t’ time and time again.
Everything changed though once Hawk arrived.
“All of a sudden his manager came in and said Tony Hawk was coming. Then, I landed it first try when Tony was there. I was just hyped that I wasn’t wasting his time by falling on my face,” laughed Allin.
Allin has only been with AEW since June 2019, but in that time he has amassed a dedicated following of fans who dress like him, paint their faces like him and are inspired by him. Allin believes it is all because he isn’t playing a character. He is being real as real can be.
“It means the world to have support from so many people. The fact is I didn’t have to change who I was at all so they are getting 100 percent Darby Allin. I am not anyone else,” he said.