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Wrestling / Darby Allin

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"People come up to me and they say, 'You should really tone it down, Darby - be safe.' Unfortunately, I don't know if I have that switch. And does that scare me? Yes. But it's all I've ever known."

Darby Allin (real name Samuel Ratsch, born in January 7, 1993) is an American professional wrestler currently working for All Elite Wrestling. He began his career working for independent circuits before making his name in AEW.

A long-time punk rock fan, he derived his ring name from Darby Crash and GG Allin, and he is perhaps best described as not just a punk, but a rebellious, death-defying one. While further aspects of Allin's character include his fondness for skateboarding (occasionally making his way to the ring on one) and his theatrical (and often silent) promos, he is primarily a disturbed individual with a troubled past and a fascination with death and danger that manifests in high-risk, high-flying daredevil theatrics.

The dark past isn't exclusive to his character. When he was five, Ratsch was the passenger in a car crash that resulted from his uncle, who died in the crash, driving while intoxicated. This became one of the reasons for him choosing to live Straight Edge, as well as the inspiration for his distinct half-skull face paint, which he has explained as the result of him being "half-dead" since the crash.

Perhaps as a result of this unique style, Darby Allin was one of the breakout new stars of All Elite Wrestling in 2019 and 2020, eventually becoming TNT Champion in November 2020 at AEW's Full Gear PPV. Champion or not, Darby Allin is (much like the tattoo on the back of his head) relentless.

Tropes to Coffin Drop to:

  • Aborted Arc: In the summer of 2022, Darby has been feuding with Kyle O'Reilly, with Sting and Bobby Fish getting involved as well. O'Reilly was supposed to team up with the Bullet Club (Young Bucks and Hikuleo) against Darby, Sting, Los Ingobernables de Japón (Hiromu Takahashi and Shingo Takagi) at Forbidden Door but the match was changed to a six-men tag team match due to several wrestlers, including O'Reilly, being unable to make it.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Has been likened to "a young Sting", although Darby is a much smaller guy than the large, powerful WCW Icon. The "Alternate Company" part was ironically subverted when Sting himself debuted in (and signed with) AEW, saving Darby from a beatdown at the hands of Team Tazz, and then drawing the comparison even more directly by saying on his first interview there that things looked familiar in AEW to his old days… before having a long staredown with Darby, who was hanging out in the rafters not unlike Sting used to do in WCW.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Ricky Starks. Unlike some of Darby's other recurring opponents such as Cody Rhodes and Jon Moxley, the two simply hate each other.
    • He and Ethan Page have been feuding in the indies long before AEW was born. Naturally, this boils over when they both start working in the same promotion.
    • Swerve Strickland is another sworn enemy of his due to their history in Defy. Swerve's attacks on his protegee Nick Wayne and manipulation of his friend AR Fox made it even more personal for Darby.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Darby is eerily calm and soft-spoken in his promos. He is also capable of dishing out and receiving huge amounts of punishment.
  • Breakout Character: Almost indisputably AEW's biggest "home-grown" star, Darby hit the ground running in the company with his debut match against Cody and has never looked back. He eventually defeated Cody to become the third TNT Champion, calling himself "the Face of TNT" and becoming one of the most popular guys in the entire promotion. He not only was paired with Sting as his mentor and tag team partner, but when CM Punk came out of his seven-year retirement to sign with AEW, he singled out Darby as the first young wrestler he wanted to face in his return match at All Out 2021, instantly elevating Darby's public profile to dizzying heights.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Darby's offense is seriously high-risk, and does just about as much damage to himself as he does to his opponents.
  • Combat Pragmatist: After getting jumped one too many times by Team Taz, including right after his shocking win over Cody for the TNT Title, Darby started wearing a jacket with thumbtacks glued on so no one could get the jump on him without getting a few wounds themselves, as we saw on the post-Full Gear Dynamite.
  • Cool Board: He used to be a professional skateboarder, and he often skates down the entrance ramp. He also uses it as a weapon, sometimes with tacks on it.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: From homelessness to surviving a car crash, his tragic real life past is a key part of his gimmick.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Sure, he's got a scary look for him and some of his intro videos may be kind of disturbing, but he's clearly against the Inner Circle (or was before that stable turned face). And if someone is getting bullied, Darby will be there to give aid to the person and to make sure they're okay.
  • David vs. Goliath: Most of the matches he is in pitch him as the plucky underdog. Perhaps the ultimate example of this in his career so far was his bout against Walter at EVOLVE 106, which he won.
  • Death Seeker: Darby claims to be "half-dead already" after surviving a horrible car crash that killed his uncle as a child and thus has very little regard for his own life.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Allin has a fondness for black-and-white color patterns and often does promos in a monochromatic scheme.
  • Dem Bones: He has half his face painted to look like a skull.
  • Determinator: Knocking a man as comparatively small as Darby down is easy for most wrestlers. Keeping him down is almost impossible. He is, in a word, relentless.
    • This trope did get Deconstructed during the bout with Miro which lost him the TNT Championship. Darby already required a medical clearance to enter the match, and upon doing so was met with a brutal assault from Miro before the bell was even rung. Darby's refusal to accept the referee's offer to call off the match may have been the honorable thing to do, but it put him at a severe disadvantage that he couldn't overcome.
  • Early Instalment Weirdness: His persona was pretty fully-formed from the beginning, though he went by "Darby Graves" very early in his career.
  • Elite Four: One of the "Four Pillars" of AEW, along with MJF (who coined the name), Jungle Boy and Sammy Guevara.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His debut in AEW was a singles match against top AEW star Cody Rhodes at Fyter Fest 2019. Despite a modest indie reputation and a series of vignettes by AEW to introduce him, Darby went into the match as an effective unknown, with the crowd massively behind Cody. But in 20 gruelling minutes that included some disgusting bumps (including a missed Coffin Drop directly onto the ring apron), Darby just refused to stay down and held one of AEW's biggest names to a time limit draw, and by the end of the match he was a made man.
  • Expy: His alt image and complete disregard for his own safety in fighting his opponents have earned Allin many comparisons to a young Jeff Hardy.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: His face paint only goes down the left side of his face, and usually is in some way designed to unnerve his opponent. For the street fight at Revolution 2021 where he joined Sting to take on Team Taz, he kept his usual paint on the left side of his face, while painting the right side of his face as well with Sting's Crow-inspired look, while Sting altered his own facepaint to match, with the left side copying Darby's skeletal motif.
  • Finishing Move: "Coffin Drop" (Reverse-facing Diving Senton), "Last Supper" (Modified Figure-Four leglock/bridging pin combination). When teaming up with Sting, he also occasionally uses the Scorpion Death Drop and Scorpion Deathlock.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: While not an actual team, Darby has been a recurring ally to Jon Moxley on many occasions. Together, they had teamed up against the likes of the Inner Circle, Team Taz and 2.0.
  • Foil: He has quite a lot in common with fellow AEW wrestler Jungle Boy. Both of them are relatively young up-and-comers known for their theatrical wrestling gimmicks and their quick and agile wrestling styles, and they're both mentored by older veteran wrestlers (Sting and Christian, respectively). The difference is that Jungle Boy is known for his cheerful public persona and his colorful and kid-friendly ring gimmick, and he's part of a close-knit trio of inseparable partners. By contrast: Darby is known for his chaotic antiheroic persona and his intimidating gothic-tinged gimmick, and he's a natural loner who prefers to fight alone apart from his occasional tag-team matches with Sting.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Has had Face vs. Face feuds with both Cody Rhodes and Jon Moxley. The feuds were similar in that they revolve around Darby as an inexperienced and reckless newcomer going up against hardened industry veterans. In Cody's case, he initially underestimated Darby's determination before slowly coming to see him as a Worthy Opponent, while Moxley saw Darby as somebody who needs to be struck down before he does permanent damage to his own well-being, while admitting that he does really like the kid, who reminds him of himself when he was younger. Later, he would have a similar dynamic as the first chosen opponent for the pro wrestling return of CM Punk, with each man stating the other would've been (in Punk's case to Darby) or was (in Darby's case to Punk) the other's favorite wrestler growing up.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Darby has used his own skateboard as a weapon multiple times, on two occasions (against Joey Janela and Ricky Starks) even gluing thumbtacks onto the underside and then ollie-ing on top of an opponent's back.
  • Informed Loner: For someone who's supposed to be an anti-social freak, he's managed to gain several well seasoned allies that'll throw down with him should he ever need the help.
  • Inkblot Cartoon Style: His second titantron features an old timey cartoon version of himself causing havoc in the streets.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: His name is a homage to both Darby Crash and GG Allin.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Darby is one of the smaller guys in AEW, billed at only 5'8" and 180 lb, but is still one of the top guys in the promotion thanks to his agility, daring, and sheer relentlessness.
  • Pyromaniac: Has a tendency to finish his promos by setting something (including himself) on fire.
  • Red Baron: "The Face of TNT", during his reign as TNT Champion.
  • The Rival: Probably his most persistant and respected adversary is Cody Rhodes. Cody was largely responsible for bringing Darby into the company, and was his first opponent for his debut match at Fyter Fest 2019. The two have clashed repeatedly, with the older, larger and more-experienced Cody usually being visibly the better of the two, but Darby giving as good as he got at every turn, culminating in him finally getting a pivotal upset win over Cody at Full Gear 2020 to win the TNT Championship off him. There have also been times where the two have allied with each other against other opponents such as the Butcher and the Blade, and Team Tazz.
  • Student–Master Team: Has had this dynamic with Sting ever since they partnered up.
  • Token Good Teammate: Out of the Four Pillars, Darby is the only one who hasn't betray any of his allies. Ironically, his mentor, Sting, has a long history of being betrayed, yet Darby never has any conflict with him.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Darby doesn't hit women; when he accidentally hit Brandi from a running move outside of the ring, he checked on her to see if she was okay.


Video Example(s):


Bret Hart vs. the 1-2-3 Kid

The 1994 Raw match between Bret Hart and Sean Waltman became such a legend that CM Punk and Darby Allin did an homage to it nearly 30 years later.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / Homage

Media sources: