AEW’s Darby Allin and Jeff Hardy absolutely destroy each other on Dynamite


Darby Allin falls through a table on AEW dynamite.

darby Allin falls through a table on AEW dynamite.
screenshot: AEW

AEW has launched another Sterling installment of dynamite last night, while sticking to their simple ethos: give people what they want (unless it’s a second women’s game). Don’t overthink it, tell them what they like, or intentionally crash their hopes by doing the exact opposite. Just host great matches for different reasons.

The show began with Dax Harwood and Adam Cole essentially publishing a memoir on the debate that forms the basis of all modern wrestling, Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart. It moved on to CM Punk spending at least one night as a heel, taunting the Long Island crowd with a John Tavares jersey, then angering champ Adam Page with Page’s finisher. There was a brilliant Dark side of the ring parody To welcome the returning MJF for signing his contract with Wardlow, an absolute smash of a match between Toni Storm and Jamie Hayter (Tony, there’s a lot of talent in this division! Use it!), Blackpool Combat Club began building a Blood & Guts fits into the Jericho Appreciation Society along with a few other segments (I have a job that allows me to write a sentence like this, which is still a bit wild).

So the main event had a lot to offer. So they decided to pit Jeff Hardy against his mini-me, Darby Allin. Allin made his name by watching every Hardy match ever and decided that every night he could be putting himself in greater danger. He even paints his face, much like Hardy did in the latter half of his career. We knew this would be one destruction.

And neither the competitor nor the company had any interest in wasting time. Usually when you get a match between two high achievers or daredevils like Hardy and Allin, it’s common practice to have them pretend it’s a normal match for at least three to five minutes. Lockups, Irish whips, a few rest holds, maybe a suplex. And then they can step on the gas.

Allin and Hardy scrapped that before it even got started. As Allin said in his pre-match promo, nobody watches a Hardy Allin match to see lockups. So they declared it no-DQ and then immediately started to lash out at each other. Check out this shit:

What’s not included in this highlight package is Allin’s first dive, which happened about 18 seconds into the game. Nobody dives through the ropes like Allin. Most of the time, if you see a wrestler doing it, you can tell that they’re at least half trying to catch the one they’re falling headfirst into so both can soften the landing. Allin doesn’t care as he blasts his way through the bottom and middle ropes at full speed, tucking his chin and head in at the last second and slamming his deltoids into his opponent’s chest like a crash test dummy at an uncomfortable violence. The landing? take care of that later.

But yeah, the big point was Allin’s Swanton bombshell tribute from a 12-foot ladder to the outside of the ring, making it a full 18-foot fall to Hardy and a couch of steel chairs. It’s just another indication of how Allin has crossed the threshold that we’ve stopped worrying that one day he’ll mutilate himself with a patch. We KNOW he’s going to mutilate himself one day, probably soon, and somehow he convinced us to accept it because he did. He’s a walking “here for a good time, not long” meme.

Of course, you’re not going to drive Jeff Hardy crazy in the style of play he’s brought to the mainstream. He would make his own Swanton on the side of the steel steps because, well, why not I guess. They would leave no surface unturned… or unintentionally. It’s a word now.

Essentially, the match acted like watching a wrestling software update. Hardy was the first to do all of this with WWE on a regular basis, jumping from everything he could imagine and all the things we couldn’t imagine. Ladders, stairs, entrances, whatever. WiHardy we always looked through our fingers and wondered what the spot would be too far. Of course, with Hardy, we’ve also seen the mental toll it’s taken on him over the years. The fact that he’s still around and able to still do all of these things is something of a miracle. He moves quite stiffly, his matches generally look the same, but damn if he can’t still play the hits.

Allin has progressed, jumped and gone through all the things even he can’t imagine without being bound by reason or caution. Remove disbelief from what Hardy used to do and still does, and you get Allin, who has removed all security seals.

The kicker was that Hardy won the match with the only real wrestling move of the match, reversing an all-in coffin that fell into a pin. Because all of this has to be grounded in something, actual wrestling is still the starting point for everything. Hardy knows a few more tricks.

Usually with things like this you want a crescendo so the big dots stand out. But from time to time you can forgo the pretense and structure and just keep pushing the joy button until we go numb. Sometimes you just need the fireworks up front.

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