wrestling / Columns

The Time Is Right For a Darby Allin Heel Turn In AEW

July 27, 2022 | Posted by Kelly Sullivan
Darby Allin Sting AEW Dynamite Image Credit: AEW

When AEW was formed in 2019, it did so with the hope that it would be able to cultivate some new stars to go along with the likes of Chris Jericho, Cody Rhodes, Jon Moxley, Kenny Omega, and The Young Bucks.

One such competitor that rose through the ranks quickly in both popularity and in the promotion’s trust to handle big spots was Darby Allin. As AEW trusted Allin with more and more big matches, the crowd responded to him in kind.

Allin’s popularity snowballed in AEW for a number of reasons. His in-ring style is very similar to a young Jeff Hardy, in which there is no risk that he is not willing to take to thrill his audience. But even a more significant factor is Allin’s size. At just 175 pounds, he goes into almost every match as the smaller man and takes a significant amount of punishment almost every time out.

In the early days of AEW, that punishment would often times be followed by a heroic comeback that would lead to him pulling out a win, and AEW fans were there for it.

Allin became the face-painted antihero with more heart and fight than anyone else in the promotion and pairing this with some strong booking, that included a run with the TNT Title, he was looked at as a big part of the future of AEW.

Fast forward to the present day, and Darby Allin has lost the majority of direction that he once seemed to have within AEW. The man that was once thought of as one of the pillars of the promotion has found very little success in singles matches and his momentum is currently at an all-time low.

So what has changed over the past year and a half for Allin?

His association with Sting.

Sting mentoring Allin seemed like a no-brainer of an idea. When Sting made his debut in December of 2020 at the Winter is Coming episode of AEW Dynamite, Allin was already the TNT Champion. He had challenged both Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship and while coming up short, he continued to build his star in defeat.

In Sting, Allin would now have an ally and a mentor that could guide him in his continued pursuit of evolution from the future of AEW to the present of the promotion.

For the first year of their partnership, that seemed to be exactly what was happening. Allin stayed relevant and at the top of the card. So much so that he was trusted enough to be selected as the opponent for CM Punk in Punk’s return match and was also given a high-profile feud with MJF.

But as the calendar turned to 2022, Allin started to suffer some questionable losses in singles competition.

Recent losses to Kyle O’Reilly, Jeff Hardy, and Brody King have all hurt Allin’s stock. While none of those losses are embarrassing, they are confusing when considering how over he has been in his AEW career.

The latest of those losses, to Brody King, really emphasized the problem with Allin’s recent booking. He has devolved into the little brother that gets beat up and then needs his big brother to come to rescue him. His program with King was the appetizer for the main course that will later feature Miro, Sting, and Malakai Black.

Instead of Sting being used to help further Allin’s young career, it seems that lately, Allin is the opening act trying to further sixty-two-year-old Sting’s career.

This has to change.

While it is well documented that Sting is in AEW to end his career on his terms, and he, by all means, deserves it, it should not be at the expense of Darby Allin’s progression.

The best way to get Allin back on track without derailing plans for Sting is for Allin to turn on Sting.

A turn on Sting would come off as an easy and natural story. The young star that gets jealous of his mentor’s popularity coupled with his recent lack of success in high-profile singles matches is a very believable reason for Allin to break off his friendship with Sting.

Turning on his mentor would garner instant heat for Allin, as Sting is still universally loved. And the heel turn would not be unbelievable as Allin has long shown traits of a tweener or heel by using his skateboard as a weapon and attacking the eyes and biting opponents during matches, even as a face.

So the turn to heel would be a natural one for Allin.

This could lead to one of the best cinematic matches ever at All Out between the two, with Sting passing the torch to Allin by putting him over and getting Allin’s career back on path as a heel, and one who holds a victory over The Icon.

The easy road is to keep Allin a face, aligned with Sting, and have him continue to put on great matches where he continues to come up short. But AEW was not wrong in their early assessment of Allin as one of the future stars of the promotion.

At some point, the future turns into the present.

And that time should be now for Darby Allin.

article topics :

AEW, Darby Allin, Kelly Sullivan