By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
As a young pro wrestling fan growing up on Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair and Bruno Sammartino, the wrasslin’ matches were all about headlocks, body slams, knee drops and good old-fashioned punches to the jaw. In those days, an “aerial move” meant a drop kick or maybe a forearm smash delivered from the top rope.
But that was then. Darby Allin is now.
Allin (real name: Samuel Ratsch) is one of the new breed of professional wrestlers that delights in taking the ring action to new levels. The 28-year-old Seattle native has emerged as a star in All Elite Wrestling (AEW), the second-biggest wrestling company in North America (behind the WWE). Allin isn’t your typical mat performer. He’s on the small side, not very physically imposing and doesn’t scream “I’m gonna crush ya, ya big goofball!” during his interviews.
What Allin does possess is tremendous athleticism, a charismatic personality and the willingness (or even desire) to take extreme risks with his body. He’s a natural daredevil – he’s an avid skateboarder and friends with Tony Hawk – with a highly creative mind (he attended film school before becoming a wrestler).
But mere words don’t give this guy justice. Take a look at this short highlight video to see what we mean. Oh, and that backwards leap from the top turnbuckle? He calls that the coffin drop.”
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