Darby Allin’s AEW debut bucked the trend for debut matches in wrestling – he didn’t win the match, but he also didn’t lose!
The first match in Darby Allin’s AEW career began before the advent of the weekly “AEW Dynamite” TV Show. His debut took place at the free “pay per view” event that took place in the summer of 2019. Not long after Double or Nothing 2019, the event was a free show to showcase some of the new AEW who had signed for the company, giving them some name recognition before the company moved to TV in October 2019.
The event featured multiple big matches for fans to sink their teeth into. At the “Fyre Fest” parody event, huge matches like Jon Moxley vs Joey Janela and The Elite vs The Lucha Bros & Laredo Kid dominated the card. However, it was the debut of a little known independent wrestler that would change AEW forever.
Darby Allin’s first match in AEW was against Cody Rhodes at Fyter Fest 2019. Cody was coming off the back of an incredible debut match in AEW – beating his brother Dustin Rhodes in a match that earned them the coveted five stars from Dave Meltzer. He was on a high as the top star and the face of the company, being the most marketable former WWE name in the company.
They faced off in a singles match with 20 minute time limit – the norm for AEW at the time. While it seemed like an obvious win for Cody, as he was clearly being built for a main event run and Darby Allin was a complete nobody, the opposite was true.
The two men put on a competitive match that made Allin look like an absolute star. He flew around the ring with ease and put his body on the line like he was Jeff Hardy in his prime. With no regard for his own safety, he made a name for himself by withstanding everything Cody Rhodes had for him and giving it back in spades.
The match went the full twenty minutes. Neither man could put the other away in Darby Allin’s debut, and he started his AEW career off with a huge draw against one of the companies top stars. He would go on to have a fantastic career (so far), winning two TNT Championships and teaming regularly with the legendary Sting in some huge tag team matches.
He would eventually get another match with Cody Rhodes, beating the son of the legendary Dusty Rhodes to win his first ever TNT Championship. He won the title by beating Cody at Full Gear 2020, in the biggest match of his career. He previously challenged Chris Jericho for the AEW Championship, but came up short in that bout in the early days of AEW Dynamite.
Darby Allin was also CM Punk’s first opponent back in wrestling after a seven year hiatus – you can read about the match down below.