Darby Allin has come a very long way in two years time. Since being signed by All Elite Wrestling, Allin has stood out by embracing his no-nonsense attitude and “out to hurt you” wrestling style. It’s something that has connected with wrestling fans and has added a fresh stand-out star power that today’s mainstream wrestling product has been so common to miss over the course of the last decade.
Allin took the time to speak with WrestleZone’s Dominic DeAngelo about his trajectory in AEW and what exactly charges him up despite not living in his car like he once had to do to get by. Allin said before that he missed that motivation, but now he’s got other aspects to fuel his fire.
“Being presented in front of national television every week and constantly proving people wrong and constantly being, just trying to be as top spot in that company as I can be. That’s what drives me every week now,” Allin told DeAngelo. “Besides money I have a lot more connections with things that can make me become a better athlete or a star or just worker and stuff like that. Even though I don’t live in my car anymore I bought a wrestling ring and I put it downstairs so I’m always training and just everything I can do to get better.”
Darby later on states that how he always wanted to be on the level of the legends he aims to be at, particularly now that they are his peers. Plenty of today’s younger talent have a hard time making that distinction and taking that leap, thus finding themselves wallowing in satisfaction.
“A lot of people I feel like, all over wrestling, are just happy to be there. That was never the case for me. I never wanted to be just a guy who was just happy to be there. If I’m like doing this for a living I’m just going to give it my all, I don’t want to be a guy who just ‘Oh, just happy to be here look at all the legends I’m hanging out with in the legends in the locker room! Like these are the people I grew up watching this is so cool!’ There comes a time where you have to fuckin’ not be an ass-kisser and do business and have those people you look up to end up being peers that if you don’t ever take that step you’re going to end up being a little bitch in a way.”
One moment that stood out for Darby in which he felt the bond between him and a legacy figure was his interaction with Dr. Tom Prichard.
“I remember sitting in a hotel with him for hours just talking one night. I was at the Harley Race camp (I forgot what year it was), but I remember just talking to him and it was just kind of like, I told him everything that was going on, all my life story kind of and I was just like, ‘How do I present this in wrestling?’
This became a moment of validation for Darby.
“At that time I was just like, okay cool, because I was seeing a lot of people from my wrestling school up in Seattle just be all like starstruck that they’re on some show with some old WWF wrestler and I was like, ‘Guys.if we’re going to remain starstruck like five years from now, like are you still going to be bragging to your friends in the local hometown, ‘Guys I was on a wrestling show with this guy?’ It’s like who cares people need to step up and become those legends that they look up to.”
Darby does have new motivators, but being one of his toughest critics always manages to get him to be at the top of his game.
“I’m like my biggest enemy in many ways, but it’s a love hate relationship obviously. I love it because like I said before I feel like musicians all types of entertainers, if you look back at it when they’re the most mad or sad or pissed off and anger is an energy so I feel like my best work is when I’m backed up in a corner.”
— DARBY ALLIN (@DarbyAllin) April 29, 2020
“There’s always going to be a doubter, there’s always going to be a hill you have to climb and that’s not going anywhere. It always changes over time so my problems now are obviously a lot different from my problems say two years ago. There’s still stuff I need to work towards and to overcome and accomplish.”
DeAngelo mentions how wrestling legends such as Jim Ross, Diamond Dallas Page and Dean Malenko all have praised Darby for his work unprompted. Darby expresses his appreciation for their words, even more that it’s coming from well experienced, well-versed veteran colleague in the wrestling industry.
“Oh definitely that is a big-time motivator because I respect the hell out of those guys and like I said earlier, instead of just looking to them as a fanboy, you look up to them now as an equal, a peer, even though they’re a lot older but like this is the wrestling business I feel. They can respect your work and that means the world and just having those guys, they’ve seen everything, they’ve been around everything and for them to say that and it’s not like they just have to pull something out of their ass and for them to say that about me , it’s just amazing. It’s validation for a lot of hard work and a lot of doubt, but it keeps you going. Who else could you show your passion and your life’s work to and have them love it you know?”
(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)
Plenty more topics get covered in this 20-minute chat as Darby touches upon his skateboarding (and his sweet new coffin board), plus his budding rivalries with Sammy Guevara and Cody Rhodes. You can listen to the entire interview below: