Darby Allin’s Partnership With Sting Has Been Good, But It’s Time For It To End
On December 2, 2020, “The Icon” Sting made his All Elite Wrestling debut and appeared on TNT for the first time since he defeated Ric Flair in the final episode of WCW Monday Nitro on March 26, 2001. Immediately after debuting, the company revealed that they had signed the legendary wrestler to a multi-year contract.
The All Elite Icon
Almost immediately, Sting was teamed up with up-and-comer Darby Allin. Aside from the fact that they both wear black and white face paint, the two men had little in common, and the pairing seemed arbitrary. Thankfully, Sting and Darby Allin are both wonderful performers who were able to make it work. Darby Allin obviously benefitted hugely from Sting’s mentorship, but after a lengthy absence from the world of wresting, Sting was ready to learn a thing or two himself.
“When I started in AEW, I remember getting asked if I planned on being a mentor or teaching,” Sting said in a recent interview with Sport Illustrated. “And of course I do, but after five or six years of not being involved on a heavy level, wrestling can pass you by. The wrestling industry has changed a lot. Most of the guys, these young guys, they’re teaching me. I’m learning a lot about the wrestling business, how it has evolved, and how the way to tell a story has evolved. Even the moves, everything is completely different. I really appreciate it for what it is now, and I’m still trying to figure out how to plug myself in, taking the old school and mixing it with the new school. So far, it’s been a good balance.”
Sting’s performance at Double Or Nothing was absolutely thrilling. He hadn’t worked a match for six years, but showed no sign of ring rust. The match was booked perfectly and simultaneously highlighted Allin’s strength’s while hiding Sting’s weaknesses. It didn’t take very long for a “you’ve still got it” chant to ring out around Daily’s Place, and rarely has such a chant been more warranted. The crowd was hot from the moment the match began, and if the venue had a roof, it would have come off when Sting hit the Scorpion Death Drop on Scorpio Sky and covered him for the win. It was a fitting end to the feud and the perfect climax of the Sting-Darby Allin partnership.
It’s Time For Darby Allin To Go His Own Way
Darby Allin is one of the most exciting young wrestlers on the planet. Everything about him is unorthodox, and he was well on his way to becoming on of AEW’s biggest stars before Sting showed up. Sting’s presence unquestionably expedited Allin’s rise to the top, but the partnership has now run its course. It’s time for Sting and Darby Allin to go their separate ways.
There could be a few booking headaches in AEW’s immediate future as they now have multiple popular singles stars but only two singles titles. Darby Allin will no doubt want an opportunity to reclaim his TNT Championship from Miro, but there will be others eyeing the same prize. It’s probably too soon for a world title run, and it seems unlikely that Kenny Omega’s reign will end anytime soon, but there’s no doubt that Darby is a worthy challenger who could get the best out of the current AEW World Heavyweight Champion.
Sting: AEWs Special Attraction
At Double Or Nothing, Sting cemented his status as a special attraction. AEW should continue to treat him like one. A few weeks or even months off television would be hugely beneficial to Sting’s allure, and it’s likely that he’ll need some time to recuperate. But when he eventually does return, a singles feud that culminates in a gimmick match in which Sting’s weaknesses can be hidden could be the way to go. And unlike his WWE counterpart and former WCW colleague Goldberg, Sting knows how to lay out a match.
Sting is without a doubt one of the most recognizable faces in the history of the business, but at 61, his best years were long gone. After a career spanning four decades, it seemed like there was nothing left for him to realistically accomplish. Naturally when Sting officially announced his retirement during his 2016 WWE Hall Of Fame induction speech, most fans assumed that his in-ring career was over.
Even after his AEW signing was announced, very few people expected to see Sting get back in the ring and work a match. Clearly, Sting had other ideas.