AEW: Darby Allin and Sting, Friends or Foes?

AEW, Sting Mandatory Credit: Scott Barbour/ALLSPORT
AEW, Sting Mandatory Credit: Scott Barbour/ALLSPORT /

What exactly is the relationship between Darby Allin and Sting in AEW?  Should they trust each other?

It was one of those moments that wrestling fans won’t soon forget.  The Winter is Coming episode of AEW Dynamite was moving right along.  Darby Allin and Cody Rhodes had just earned a hard-fought win over Powerhouse Hobbs and Ricky Starks of Team Tazz.  The predictable post-match beatdown at the hands of the rest of Team Tazz was underway and it was very apparent that Darby and Cody were going to pay dearly for the victory that they had just secured.

Then Daily’s Place went dark and a snowy scene started playing on the jumbo screen behind the ring.  It was clear that help for Darby and Cody was on the way, but no one could have predicted who was about to come through the tunnel.

As snow fell and a figure started to emerge from the tunnel, the shape of a scorpion started to fill the screen.  Just moments later, Tony Schiavone’s iconic “It’s Stiiiiiiiiiiiiing!” call rang through households everywhere.  And with that, Sting was back and the wrestling world was buzzing.

Since his jaw-dropping return Sting has spoken on a couple of occasions but actually has said very little in regard to his plans in AEW.   There are a couple of things that we do know.  One, Sting is not in AEW for Cody, at least not right now.  And two, Darby Allin seems to have piqued the Stinger’s interest.

Thus far the interactions between Darby Allin and Sting have been nothing more than side-eye glances and an intense staredown.  But a progression in their relationship, whatever that relationship may be, is bound to happen soon.

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

Currently, there seems to be an uneasy alliance between Darby Allin and Sting.  Both have saved the other from an impending or continuing beatdown at the hands of Team Tazz.

On the surface it seems like pairing Darby and Sting up would be an easy call.  Both superstars are wildly popular and extremely over with most fans of professional wrestling.  It gets harder and harder to remember as we continue to surge forward in the Covid era, but when the arenas were at capacity with screaming fans there were not many wrestlers who received louder reactions than Darby Allin.  And one only has to rewatch Sting’s first appearance in AEW to see how crazy the fans went when he emerged from the tunnel.

Even before Sting’s return to wrestling, many were comparing Darby’s character to the “Crow” version of Sting.   Hanging out up in the rafters, painted face, skateboard replacing a baseball bat, a man of few words.  It was hard to ignore the obvious similarities between the two.  But is that enough of a bond to get two loners to work as a team?

With AEW’s penchant for teaming its legends with its stars, it isn’t impossible that when Sting does make his intentions towards Darby known that it leads directly to mentorship and instant respect.  It would be a seamless transition as they have seemed to have each other’s backs in recent weeks.  But where’s the fun in that?

There Can Only Be One

While both Allin and Sting seem to be willing to save each other from the attacks of others, there is something below the surface that makes each of them wary of the other.

Maybe it is the fact that neither man seems to play well with others.   Both Sting and Darby Allin have spent the majority of their careers being unpredictable loners.  The kind of people that are far more comfortable fighting a group alone than being part of a group.

Sting’s arrival in AEW may also have a lot to do with Darby Allin’s character being just a little too similar to Sting’s for his liking.  Speaking to Cody Rhodes in his first comments back Sting said, “There is something really familiar about it (this place), I mean something really, really familiar about this place.” while pointing up to where Darby Allin was sitting.

Of course, that comment doesn’t mean that Sting is planning an attack on Darby, but it doesn’t mean he isn’t either.  As Sting so succinctly put it on an episode of Dynamite, “The only thing for sure about Sting is that nothing’s for sure.”

The Verdict

Somewhere in between friend and foe, at least at first.  Sting and Darby will continue to be linked together as they have a common enemy in the dangerous faction that is Team Tazz.  Eventually, Sting will give us the answers that we all seek.

At some point, Sting will tell Darby that he has been watching him from afar and has been impressed with what he has seen.  However, he wants to find out for himself just what Darby is made of.  This will lead to a cinematic match at Revolution between the two that will steal the show.

This match will lead to mutual respect between Darby and Sting and set up a mentorship that will greatly benefit Allin.  This relationship will be the final thing that Darby needs to win the AEW World Championship at some point in the next two years, transitioning himself from the future of AEW to the present.

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Sting and Darby’s relationship will have a lot of layers before it is all said and done.  Pairing the excellent storytelling of AEW with the creativity of Darby Allin and the aura of Sting will ensure this relationship will be one of the highlights of Dynamite for a long time to come.