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By Mike Johnson on 2023-05-24 12:25:00

AEW will present their 2023 Double or Nothing PPV this Sunday in Las Vegas, headlined by a four way battle for the AEW World Championship featuring four very unique talents who has risen from relative obscurity on the national scene to legitimate main event players for the company.  Chief among them is former TNT Champion Darby Allin, who has absolutely thrilled audiences with his daredevil antics.  Yesterday, Allin sat down with to reflect on how far he's come, what this weekend means to him and how he is after four years of incredible wear and tear on his body through professional wrestling and other exploits, including a plan to scale Mount Everest next year.

Mike Johnson: It is AEW Double or Nothing week this Sunday in Las Vegas. The four pillars will face off at the AEW World Heavyweight Championship on the line. Happy to be on the line right now with Darby Allin, who from the beginning of AEW, has risen to become one of the most popular and one of the most compelling AEW personalitie.  Big week for you. Big week for AEW  How are you doing as we head into Las Vegas?

Darby Allin: I'm more ready than I ever have been in my whole entire career. There was a time when AEW first started that I didn't think I was the right guy to be in the main event and I was always kind of intimidated by the main event spot. But let's just say I'm ready for that main event spot and I'm ready for that championship. I'm ready to be the face of this company. I'm more dialed in than I ever have been.

Mike Johnson: Well, let's talk about that main event. It's yourself, Jungle Boy, Samuel Guevara, and obviously MJF all facing off. The four pillars, as I mentioned earlier, has been promoted by AEW and a terminology that's been created by the fans.  What does it mean to you to be looked upon as one of those four talents who are self-made in a sense that they walked into AEW without any national recognition and have built themselves up to the point where they are compelling pieces of AEW programming, talents who are central to AEW storylines, and for the first time all four of you face off in the same main event on a Pay-per-view. Like what does it mean to you for that evolution over the last couple of years, not just for yourself but for these other talents?

Darby Allin: So I'm going to start off the word pillars. I never really liked that word, never saw myself as a pillar per se. I think anybody who's ride or die with this company is a pillar in my eye. I don't think it gets put down to four guys being categorized as pillars. I think anybody who's loyal to the company is considered a pillar in my eye.  But to be a guy in this company that was able to start from AEW from day one and give him the creative freedom from day one and people can see Darby Allin and what I'm all about without anybody changing anything about me and watching the growth that I've had, that's what I'm most grateful for and to see... And I think out of all the pillars, I run with creative freedom the most out of all the people because my creative freedom goes beyond the ring. It goes with the crazy stuff I do outside of the ring. It goes with the crazy stuff I do in the ring. And creative freedom is all I've ever want in life and I got just that. But to watch everybody else grow, Max, Sammy, Jungle Boy, it's cool. We all started from nothing, absolutely nothing before we had no TV experience whatsoever and it's going to be very special to go out there and kind of show people what we're capable of in that main event spot.

Mike Johnson:  You mentioned the creative freedom because you have put a lot of wear and tear in your body over the years, not just with bumps down concrete steps or bumps you've taken out of the ring to the floor, but also a lot of the stunts that you do. Are you starting to feel it? You've always been someone who's said you love this stuff, but as you get older, do you start to feel the wear and tear? Have you started to mitigate the chances that you put on your body or do you still feel like you're going full-blown at the level you were?

Darby Allin: Full-blown by far. Still full-blown. What people don't see is what I do outside of the ring for rehab of my body and stuff like that. Everyone thinks I am just being reckless and don't think about what I'm doing. Trust me, there is a method to my madness and I take all actions to be as physically well as possible.  I got such a crazy thing at my house, like a setup to fix my body and everything like that. I'm on top of things. Like I go to DDP's house and he teaches me all the latest technology for physical wellness and trust me. I'm on it and I feel great. A lot of people are like, "Yo, you're not going to be able to walk when you're 28," I become 28. "No, now you're not going to walk when you're 29," I become 29. "You're not going to be able to walk when you're 30," I become 30.  I'm like, "What are your guys' excuse now?" I'm taking care of myself. I feel great. And they don't want to hear it because they want to be one of these guys that say, "See it, kid? You shouldn't have done that when you're 18 years old." And then what they don't see is how I take care of myself, so they can all go to hell.

Mike Johnson: One thing you got a lot of attention for in the last couple of weeks was a discussion of your aspirations to ascend and climb Mount Everest. Let's talk about that. Where are we in the process with the planning for that and do you have a time period of when you want to go on this excursion?

Darby Allin: Next April and May. There's only two months out of the year you can do it. So I'm going to have to wait until next April and May and I've been on top of things. I met with a coach down here in Atlanta where I'm from right now, and he summited Everest a couple times and knows a good team he's going to put me in touch with. And there's a bunch of options I can pick, but he set me up with the right people and we actually want to make a documentary out of it and do something with it. And yeah, I'm ready to do it. I love the thought of pushing myself to the absolute limits and Mount Everest is something that you kind of have to...

The first thing he told me, he's like, "Are you okay dying?"

And I said, "Absolutely."

And he's like, "All right. Because if you're not, don't even try to climb that mountain."

So I'm working on my will this month and ready to rock and roll. So we'll see what's up. But next April and May, I'm ready. Bring it on.

Mike Johnson: This may be a weird follow-up question given we're talking about are you ready to die and writing a will. Has there been one stunt that's been presented to you or even a stunt that you've seen someone else do and you're like, "Yeah, that's too far for even me." Have you found the limitation of how far you really want to push yourself yet?

Darby Allin: It depends because if I'm passionate about something, there's no limit I won't take. And a good example of that is when I jumped my house with Travis Pastrana last year when we got a 96-foot jump over my house, I jumped it with a Jeep and Travis Pastrana, who's known for crazy X Games Nitro Circus stuff, he even thought that was sketchy. And even guys from Monster Jam like Grave Digger thought that was sketchy. And if those guys think it's sketchy, it's pretty sketchy. And I love that. I love all types of challenges and stuff like that. And there hasn't been one thing to me that I'm like, "Oh man, I can't do that. I can't do that." If I'm passionate about it and I see the risk-reward ratio, I'm doing it. I'm doing it.

Mike Johnson: I want to ask you about Sting. Obviously you've had a good relationship with him over the years. How has that grown since he first came to AEW and was positioned as sort of your partner slash mentor?

Darby Allin: Yeah, man. That's the thing I wish people saw the most of is I saw more of our relationship outside of the ring, because he's a very kind of standoff guy, keeps to himself, which I'm the same way, but he literally took me in. And now he says... When he's there, he's got a private locker room, his locker room's my locker room, and I hang out with him all day, and we just have fun and he's the type of guy that you can go over to his house in Texas and hang out for the day. And it's like nice. It's nice to have that relationship and people don't get to see that. And I would like it, toward the end of his career, people get to see more of our camaraderie outside of the ring and everything that goes into it because he is an amazing person.

Mike Johnson: You obviously got to go to Pro Wrestling NOAH, to team with him as part of the great mood, his final match. What was that experience like for you, because that was the first time you had been in Japan wrestling?

Darby Allin: Yeah, that was my first time I've been in Japan, period. It was an amazing experience. It was one of those things that hit me as soon as the entrances started because we were just like, go, go, go, in Japan, we land it, we had to do all this run around and stuff.

And then when we got to the building, we're still running around and then the entrances started and I was looking and I look over at staying and I'm like, "Yo, thanks for all of this. Thanks for putting my name in for this," because this is special. You got all these guys, Marufuji and everybody, that are part of the opposite team. And then you got Sting and Muta, and then you got me, and all these people that have history with Muta. And then you got me and I felt like the odd man out.

But by the end of the night everyone's like, "Yo, you did amazing. Thank you for coming out and stuff."

And I said, "No, thank you guys." This is a very... It's one of those things where you'd like to stop and smell the roses, but I really was trying to take it in during the entrance. It was an amazing atmosphere. So thank you, Sting, for that. Thank you, Muta, for signing off.

Mike Johnson: AEW made some news last week with the announcement officially of AEW Collision coming in June, live on TNT on Saturday nights. Thoughts on the company expanding and the company having another two hour flagship series?

Darby Allin: I'm excited. I'm really excited because it gives people more chances to be seen and that's all you can ask for, because it's kind of tricky spot when you got two hour television and then one hour on Fridays. But with a whole another two hours and you can really sink your teeth into a whole set of guys and see what they can do and, to me, that's amazing. That's all. I would love that. Just more eyes and more opportunities and more time. Dude, no problem. I'm excited about that.

Mike Johnson: If they say to you they'd like you to work Saturday as opposed to Wednesday and Dynamite, are you opposed to that? Would you want to work both shows if you get tapped to do one or the other, is there a preference at this point?

Darby Allin: No, not at all, dude. I'm down for wherever the wind takes me and I want... If I could work both shows, I would work both shows. We just started with the house shows and I just started doing those and I've been on every one that we've had so far and it's one of those things where, on those house shows, I forgot how much I just love wrestling. Just love wrestling because TVs and stuff, it's like hustle, like, "Blah blah, blah!"  But here, whoa. So the more I can actually be out there performing and the more I can give back to the company, that's all I want. So sign me up for both shows, sign me for house shows, sign me up for whatever shows. I'm down it all.

Mike Johnson: I spoke to one AEW talent who did the last batch of House Rules shows in Kentucky and Virginia and he said that he thought once they hit three months worth of House Shows, talents were going to be fighting to get on them because they were so much fun and the lack of pressure was so evident compared to TV tapings.  He thought in a few months' time, everyone was going to be jockeying to try and get on the House shows going forward. Would you agree with that in terms of just the level of sort of joy and glee it was compared to the pressure of a live broadcast?

Darby Allin: It's hard to say, because I know what I think, but I don't know what other people think and I'm not going to act like I know what they think, because maybe a lot of people just like working the one time a week, I don't know. I have no idea. I just know for me, I want to be out there and I want to be doing some stuff and get more eyes on the company in every aspect we can. But I don't know, I'm so in my own zone, my own world. I don't know if people are lining up telling people like, "Yo, next set of House shows next week, I want to be on those."  I don't know what they want. It'd be cool if they did because a lot of people actually need the experience because when you don't have wrestling every single week. I don't know, I think a lot of the young guys should definitely be lining up to be on these things, for sure.

Mike Johnson: This weekend, Double or Nothing, you're going to be appearing at the fan fest, and then, of course on, Sunday in the main event, what would it mean to you to carry the AEW World Heavyweight Championship? Obviously you've been the TNT champion in the past, but the AEW World Championship is the central piece of everything, all wrestling. What would it mean to you to walk out with that championship?

Darby Allin: Like I said before, AEW saved my life many ways. And to be the face of that company and to be the world champion and to represent what that company means, that's the best way I can give back. And that's all I want to do. So to be a world champion literally means everything to me. And it's not just like a catchphrase like... No other company would let me do what I do, end of story. And no one's going to let me skateboard with Tony Hawk, climb Mount Everest, jump my house with Travis Pastrana, nobody would let me do that. So I want to give back to this company. I want to be the guy. So that means everything to me, so final answer.

AEW Double or Nothing is available on PPV and Bleacher Report here in the United States and FITE.TV Internationally outside of North America this Sunday from Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena.

If you enjoy you can check out the AD-FREE PWInsider Elite section, which features exclusive audio updates, news, our critically acclaimed podcasts, interviews and more by clicking here!

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