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[2018-06-23-EVOLVE 106] Darby Allin vs WALTER

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Well HOLY FUCKING SHIT. Originally this was supposed to happen at NOLA, but Darby got injured so it didn't happen - I was super bummed out, because it sure was one of the matches I was most looking forward to; in the top-3 alongside Bryan's return & Riddle/Ki (until that got cancelled as well). Happy to report that it certainly lived up to the crazy potential it had on paper & then some more. AND THEN SOME MORE, MY GOODNESS. There's so much to write about, but I honestly can't even. The pace, WALTER's brutal work over Darby, WALTER's baffled reactions when this small face paint having fella refused to die & brought the fight right at him, Darby's madman bumping, Darby's hand targeting - in particular that spot where he punched & goddamn headbutted it - I got some damn Necro Butcher vs. Samoa Joe vibes from it because of how wild it was, the crowd was rockin' & the sense of urgency was through the roof. One of the absolute best matches of 2018. ****3/4

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I loved this one too. I was disappointed when it got cancelled in New Orleans but it worked out for the best because it got to steal the show on this card. WALTER was just a monster and the perfect opponent for an underdog like Darby. I thought it was a great match as I was watching but the finish caught me totally by surprise and kicked it up to something special. I really hope there's a rematch.

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Is there a better underdog in wrestling than Darby Allin? I struggle to think of one. This match told a simple, yet effective story: how much punishment could Darby endure from the juggernaut that is WALTER? Darby tried to get the jump on WALTER early but almost immediately gets pummeled from pillar to post. Darby's bumping and selling was fantastic as always and the hand work on WALTER was brilliant (who ever saw someone headbutt a hand?). Considering the past between Darby and Thatcher and how WALTER beat down Darby before, you were really rooting for Darby and he pulled off an incredibly satisfying victory.

Low-end MOTYC. ****3/4.

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As much of an amazing wrestler WALTER is, it’s nice to be reminded just how incredible of a monster he can be. I have not seen an amazing “David vs Goliath” match like this in years. You have to look back to the Danielson vs Morishima war to see the perfect execution of that type of match, but in all honesty this Allin vs WALTER match came close. This was better than any WALTER vs Ilja or WALTER vs Starr match too. WALTER rag-dolled the FUCK out of Darby, and further iced the cake by just chopping and clubbing the hell out of him as well. I loved Darby using his size and speed to avoid WALTER’s powerful strikes, and even used his brain in weakening that hand of his. One of the best EVOLVE matches I have ever seen, and easily Darby’s best performance to date, ****3/4.

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I am legit surprised I am not hearing more buzz about this outside this little corner of the internet. This was amazing. Walter beating the ever loving hell out of Darby was a lot of fun, but I particularly liked that he was a bit more diverse in his offense. Walter is my favorite active wrestler right now, but he can be a little one note with the chops from time to time. Not here. He was clubbing and slamming and throwing and of course chopping Darby.  He takes the early part of the match of course and just plucks Darby out of the air every time he tries to get anything going. I liked that they sort of subtly played on Walter running out of things to do. There are moments where he is just looking at Darby sort of puzzled. Darby works lots of angles, but keeps going back to the hand. Walter always sells the hand well, but he seemed particularly sharp with his selling here. I popped so hard for Darby bouncing off Walter from the cross body.  Little stuff like that kept me on my toes. Darby also does really well to blend his offense into new and compelling counters for Walter spots. The match  might have peaked when Darby just sat on Walter's arm and punched his hand. This dynamic was easy enough to establish, but they pulled off a very unique version of the big mauler vs the smaller underdog.  By the end its believable that Walter is frustrated, tired, and surprised and gives up the pin to the smaller man. ****3/4

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Darby Allin is one of the best babyfaces around, a bump maniac who is smaller than everyone else and is actually super smooth and athletic when he gets going. This match is less about that last part and more about him taking a beating from arguably the best giver out of beatings in indie wrestling today, and WALTER beating up Darby Allin was such an easy great idea that they could have phoned this in and still had a very good match. Happily they did no such thing. The strikes and bumps are big as hell, and WALTER should get credit for making simple bodyslams actually look overpowering, not just like a regular bodyslam that happens to be performed by a bigger guy. Darby's creativity in finding angles to attack WALTER's hand and throw him off balance are great here, and the finish is outstanding. It's really hard to make an unexpected finish really work in wrestling, there's always the danger that the fans are so not primed for it that it takes them too long to react and it kills the energy completely. They made it work here 100%. I was there live, so that bias is there, but I'd recommend this match to anyone who likes any kind of wrestling at all.

I've been saying this for a long time, but if Evolve doesn't eventually build to a Darby title win (or at least do a steady build to a title shot, not just throwing him a relatively random one here and there), they'll be wasting a big opportunity.

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Actually may be one of the best car crash sprints I've ever seen. This is my first time seeing Allin and he looks like someone out of the WCW/nWo Revenge roster, so exactly my kind of pro wrestler. He clearly understands how to work like his gimmick dictates, looking like a high on meth gutter punk running around clocking neonazis before getting pepper sprayed at a Trump rally. He was fighting WALTER like a mad dog and getting absolutely manhandled. Needless to say WALTER was a juggernaut and Allins ragdolling bumping was perfect. That splat on the floor felt more visceral than anything from the Almas/Gargano match. Agree about the desperation of the handwork. I actually thought Allin was in control a little much toward the end, altough everything was kept believable and his selling was spot on. It just made the crazy bumps earlier feel a little inconsequential, particularily those knees that he ate. I should add that the strike exchanges near the end felt like actual strike exchanges.

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I think people should be talking more about this match. I remember watching it in 2018 and liking it (which by the way it's one of the best in-ring years I recall), but on a rewatch I'm blown away. Allin is carried like a potato sack by Walter and he's bumping like a maniac, seriously, It's one of the best bumping performances that I've ever seen, better than all those 80s "overbumping" guys that I like sometimes (and sometimes I hate). Love all the counters by Allin, his desesperation attacking Walter's hand and his subtle selling. Maybe it's, like we say in political science, the honey moon effect, but WALTER vs Allin > Sting vs Vader.

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Just watched for the first time, and also blown away. The best current monster and the best current insane risk-taker - both of them play their parts absolutely perfectly here. Phenomenal.

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