Match of the Week (22/06-29/06 2018): Darby Allin vs WALTER (EVOLVE 106)

Added by Miguel Camilleri

Over the past year or so, WALTER has built himself up to become one of the biggest stars in all of independent wrestling. A large, bruising man who is deceptively fast and can maim you with one single chop, he offers something that very few (if not nobody) on the independent scene can offer. He has held championships all across the world, including his current reign as PWG World Champion, and it is only a matter of time before the big bucks of Connecticut come calling once again for him. It would be easy to say WALTER is in the prime of his career, but you just know he can get even better than he already is.

Some would say Darby Allin is the polar opposite to WALTER. He doesn’t fit the typical mould of a professional wrestler. With a unique look, and coming in at 5’8” and 180 pounds, he goes into 99% of the matches he’s in as the underdog. What he lacks in size and intimidation factor, however, he makes up for in heart and an inclination to do whatever – and I do mean whatever – it takes to not only win the match, but also leave a lasting image in the viewer’s mind along the way.

Although Darby has won over many fans and peers alike, it has not impressed one man – WALTER. Darby is a joke, and severely harms professional wrestling’s reputation, in WALTER’s eyes. This ill-feeling between the two men was supposed to lead into a match at EVOLVE 103 during WrestleMania weekend. The match did not come to fruition, however, after Darby’s mauling at the hands of Keith Lee the night before at EVOLVE 102. The match was therefore held off until EVOLVE 106, where the simmering rivalry between the two sides of the professional wrestling spectrum would finally come to a head.

Darby immediately took the fight to WALTER, hitting him with a dropkick that sent him to the outside, followed by a tope which WALTER immediately snuffed out, catching Darby out of thin air and driving him into the ringpost. Darby tried to climb back into the ring, but was immediately met with a WALTER big boot whilst he was on the apron. Darby was defiant, however, getting back into the ring and (stupidly) chopping WALTER, inviting a chop battle which he was always going to lose – and lose he did, as WALTER landed a vicious chop that dropped Darby like a sack of potatoes.

WALTER continued the beatdown, launching his opponent into the turnbuckle, followed by a powerbomb. Darby continued to fight, however, and flew into WALTER – only for WALTER to catch him and hit him with a powerslam. The fans knew they were witnessing a mauling, and obliged with a “WALTER’s gonna kill you” chant. It really did look like it was heading that way, as WALTER planted Darby with a number of brutal chops that I probably could have heard from halfway across the world. Darby tried to reply with a dropkick, but WALTER simply swatted him away as if he were a fly buzzing in through the kitchen window, after which he tried to lock in a Boston Crab, which Darby just about managed to get to the ropes from.

Darby, incredibly, proceeded to chop his opponent again. WALTER, unimpressed, begged for more, and Darby duly obliged, after which WALTER once again dropped Darby with a big chop of his own. WALTER once again invited the pressure for Darby, allowing him to get some blows in. WALTER attempted to rush the turnbuckle, but Darby dodged out of the way. This allowed him some brief hope spots, before WALTER once again cut him off to lock in a Gojira Clutch, followed by an incredible German suplex which almost catapulted Darby from one side of the ring all the way to the outside on the other side – only for Darby to kick out at 2. WALTER attempted to finish the match off by hitting another series of stiff chops, but Darby once again kicked out at 2.

WALTER’s frustration was beginning to tell, and implored Darby to just stay down. He then attempted a lariat, which Darby ducked out of the way from, followed by which Darby hit a dropkick and stomp which sent WALTER to the outside. Darby then followed up by somersaulting into his opponent, to the fans’ delight. Despite this, WALTER recovered first, and hit Darby with yet another chop. He then attempted to suplex his opponent back into the ring, but Darby landed on the apron, and promptly stomped on WALTER’s hands in an attempt to neutralise his biggest weapon, after which Darby hopped on his opponent’s back whilst landing forearms to his head. After WALTER slammed his opponent off his back onto the floor, he attempted a kick, but Darby blocked it, and proceeded to swing that leg into the ringpost, which he repeated with WALTER’s injured hand.

Darby then tried to follow up with a top rope shoulder block, but WALTER simply stood firm to send his opponent crashing to the mat. WALTER then followed up with a huge dropkick, after which he went for his rarely used Golden Bomb finisher, which Darby incredibly countered into a Code Red for a shock near fall. Once the dust had settled, the two men began to exchange strikes – obviously with WALTER coming out with the upper hand. He then locked in the Gojira Clutch to transition into a German suplex much like he had done before. Darby had other ideas, however, and used the ropes to roll up WALTER, and immediately hit a corkscrew plancha for another 2 count. He then hit a flying kick to the face of his grounded opponent, after which he transitioned into an armbar whilst simultaneously headbutting his opponent’s injured hand. WALTER, screaming out in pain, just about managed to get to the ropes to break the hold.

Darby quickly proceeded to march towards WALTER, but was met with another stiff chop from his opponent. The damage was done, however, as WALTER gingerly grasped his hurt hand. This allowed Darby to lock in yet another armbar, which he transitioned into a guillotine choke. WALTER managed to get to his feet whilst still being in the choke, and grasped his opponent up to hit another suplex, followed by a lariat which got another 2 count. WALTER was incensed at the fact that his opponent simply would not give up, and dropped Darby with a huge smack. He then proceeded to set up for the Golden Bomb once again, but Darby twisted WALTER’s injured hand to fight out of the powerbomb, and launched WALTER into the ropes.

Darby then hit a moonsault off the ropes onto his opponent, but WALTER once again caught him out of the air, only for Darby to counter a slam attempt into a stunner. He then attempted to hit another move by jumping off the ropes, but WALTER caught him to lock in the Gojira Clutch. Darby seemingly had no escape, but smartly fought out of the hold once again by grasping WALTER’s injured hand. WALTER managed to transition back into the Gojira Clutch, but Darby incredibly used his opponent’s momentum to roll him up and score an amazing pinfall victory. The fans went wild, with a loud, rousing Darby chant ringing around the arena. WALTER, incensed at the fact that he had lost against someone he viewed as vastly inferior, hit a big boot on Darby after the match, but this didn’t stop the young Seattle native from celebrating his huge victory afterwards.

This match is up there with one of the best big man vs little man matches I have ever seen in my life. It is a dynamic which can give us incredible matches when done right, and this was one of the foremost examples of such a match coming off well. WALTER was incredible as his usual bullying self, whilst Darby played the underdog role perfectly, never giving up even when the match seemed dead and buried for him. The events that transpired after the match mean that this rivalry is not over, and I personally am really looking forward to their next encounter. Watch this match if you like this sort of dynamic.