Did you see that photo? The one connected to these scribbles with MJF screaming at the top of his overbearing lungs in front of a stoic Darby Allin? Everything you need to know about both men and this feud is right there. Since I’m told by smart people that a picture is worth at least 1000 words, consider that the end of this preview. Goodnight, everybody!
Yeah, in a perfect world, that would do the job. But I’m told part of my actual job is to explain things about people who fight in tights. A picture might be worth that many words on the street but not here at the Cageside offices. That said, that photo encapsulates the differences between Maxwell and Darby and what brought them both to Full Gear.
MJF isn’t shy about how he sees himself or his position in the larger pro wrestling picture. The man believes he is a cornerstone of AEW and one of its four pillars. The other three? Sammy Guevara, Jungle Boy, and one Darby Allin. MJF’s insecurity caused him to poke and prod Darby for no real reason other than to prove he deserves more love and attention than the former TNT Champion. This is also his chance to jump ahead to prime pillar pole position (try saying that three times fast).
Darby Allin did all he could to not get into this fight. He did what we’re all told to do as kids and showed no weakness in front of the bully. Even when MJF made it extra personal the second he uttered a word about a tragic car accident that set Darby on the path he’s on today, he fought back against the urge to pummel the Long Islander into the next century. Darby refused to give Max the emotional reaction he craved and obsessed over, and tried to be the better man.
But there’s only so much of a beating we can take. And even Darby Allin has his breaking point.
After weeks of taunting and a merciless beatdown at the hands of The Pinnacle—wearing masks as if we didn’t know it was them—Darby finally gave in. It is pro wrestling after all, and sometimes being the better man is overrated. Since challenging MJF to a match at Full Gear, Darby’s engineered a few mind games of his own.
They’ve been fun, sure, but every angle of this story leads to us wanting one thing: Darby punishing MJF for existing. But will he? I’m not sure who needs a W more here. MJF got the short of the stick during his beef with Chris Jericho, and Darby last major L was to a returning CM Punk. Both of those losses are easy to bounce back from, but this one feels different. This is billed as two guys representing the future of AEW and professional wrestling going blow for blow. Winning and moving on to something bigger and better makes sense. Losing? Well, losing effectively says one of these men is better than the other, and we’d all know it.
Who needs it more? Who can’t afford to lose? And what happens post match? The result is more intriguing than the match itself as the ramifications are, to quote a famous president, a big f’n deal.
Who is the future of AEW (at least as evidenced by who wins at Full Gear)?
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