Sting and Darby Allin picked up a big win over the House of Black on AEW Grand Slam, with the help of The Icon’s former tag team partner The Great Muta. However, Sting was once again the star of the show and Darby Allin and afterthought once the match finally ended.
Darby Allin fans will be happy he is associated with legends such as these on a weekly basis in AEW, but should he be in the main event scene and not stuck in a tag team with no chance at the AEW Tag Team Championships?
Darby Allin Should Be In The Main Event
As one of the AEW originals, Darby Allin has spent the last 3 years showcasing his talent against a wide variety of talent. From his beginnings against Cody Rhodes, to his feuds with top stars like MJF and CM Punk and now tagging with WCW Legend Sting, he has an eclectic canon of work for fans to sink their teeth into.
He has shown he can be one of the best workers on the bottom of the card. He has shown he can be be a solid ratings mover in the midcard, as he run as the TNT Champion showed. He main evented multiple AEW shows and helped beat NXT in the ratings war, in what has crudely been named by some fans as “The Wednesday Night War”.
He is one of the most popular wresters in AEW, although he has not been featured as most would have liked. He doesn’t just have “the potential” to be a main eventer anymore. He IS a main event talent, who has showcased it time and time again, who has not yet moved up to the top echelons of AEW alongside the likes of Jon Moxley and Chris Jericho.
There are a number of exciting wrestlers in AEW’s main event that, due to his tag team with Sting, Darby Allin has not had the chance to grapple with. Darby Allin vs Bryan Danielson has the chance to become one of matches of the year and a feud with Jon Moxley over the AEW Championship could create some incredible moments inside and out the ring (both men are different beasts than they were in their 2020 encounter).
I don’t think it’s his talent that’s holding him back. Nothing about Darby Allin is stopping Darby Allin ascending to the main event of WWE. I’m sorry to say that it’s his team with Sting that is holding back his chances of being a main eventer and AEW Champion.
He’s Gone As Far As He Can With Sting
Sting and Darby Allin are one of the most entertaining tag teams in AEW. I don’t think many could deny that. Despite having nearly 40 years difference in their ages, the pair compliment each other perfectly in every aspect.
Ignoring the obvious connection – being their black and white face paint – the pair are polar opposites both in and out of the ring. Allin is the young, brooding and reckless youth who keeps to himself and puts his body on the line, if anything too much.
Meanwhile, the aged Sting is the veteran of the team. Cool and calm, he uses his smarts rather than diving headfirst into his opponent and jumping off really high things. Of course, he sometimes jumps off really high things through tables, but that’s the charm of him – seeing a 63 year old painted man diving through the air in a much safer way than Allin.
However, Darby Allin has gone as far as he can with Sting. The pair will never win the AEW Tag Team championships. Sting is not as mobile as he once was and cannot compete multiple times a month to defend his titles. Their matches have the general idea of being “Allin gets beaten up, Sting gets the hot tag and saves the day”.
It makes for a great match. The fans love it. But if you put them against someone like the Young Bucks or the Lucha Bros, they would be exposed. The team is great for special attraction matches for people who want to see their childhood favourite compete one more time, but I fear time is up for Sting and Darby Allin as a tag team.
Sting vs Darby Allin
When tag teams break up, the inevitable seems to happen. Two best friends, maybe for years at a time, suddenly come to blows because of some arbitrary reason. Usually because the one that the booker doesn’t want to push thinks his partner is “holding him back” or “I hate you for some reason because I’m Tucker and your Otis, oh look I’ve been moved to Smackdown for no reason and oh look, I’ve been released”.
Those are the two most common reasons for tag teams breaking up.
But should this happen to these two pair of misfits? The story so far has not been leading to it. There has been hint of disillusion on Allin’s part, nor Sting’s. Their relationship has been rock solid and the fans love them both together as a team. The story does not call for a break-up.
Would a match between the two even work? Would the fans want to see Darby Allin beat Sting, presumably into retirement in his final match? Allin could play a heel, but his over the top, death defying theatrics have made him a beloved babyface in the eyes of the fans. No-one is going to cheer the man who retired Sting so they would be wasting a top level main event face for nothing.
The question also begs if Sting could even wrestle one last singles match. Based on what we’ve seen so far, I doubt it. He is protected in the tag team matches, with short bursts of energy on the hot tag to take down his opponents with all his signature moves. He has taken some big bumps – jumping off the top rope and being powerbombed through tables to start with – but at 63 years old it seems he would simply lack the energy to work even a 10 minute match singles match with Darby Allin.
Why ruin the image people have of Sting by subjecting him to a match that will showcase all his shortcomings in his old age? The match would either make Sting look bad, or have Allin bumping around the ring all match for him, before winning a match looking like the weaker fighter.
The pair should not wrestle. I don’t even think they should break up. Having Sting as Allin’s manager as he transcends into a main event spot seems the best use for the Icon.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.