This past week’s Dynamite featured a bombastic main event with Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin teaming up against Sammy Guevara and Shawn Spears. The match served as a fantastic teaser for what’s to come in the highly anticipated TNT championship tournament. That tournament is slated to include Shawn Spears vs. Cody and Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin, with the winners to face each other in the semi-finals.
The spectacular main event included many story beats, such as Cody accidentally distracting the referee and getting Darby attacked by the heels, and Shawn Spears grabbing the chair as a callback to Cody and Spear’s first AEW encounter. At one point in the match, the daredevil Darby also successfully attempted to climb up and Coffin Drop from a pole. The exhilarating match came to end when Darby got rolled up for a pinfall while trying to save Cody. In the aftermath of the match, a frustrated Darby shrugs off Cody’s attempts at consolation, even going so far as to shove him onto the ring mat before leaving as AEW went off the air.
Immediately after the match, many confused fans came out of the show mistakenly thinking Darby Allin just turned heel. However, that is a complete misinterpretation of what occurred. What Darby did was entirely in line with his character, face or heel. Like Jon Moxley, Darby is a loner who doesn’t trust people easily and would rather feel pain than lose. Much in the same way as when Moxley can remain a face even after using his finisher on a face like Kenny Omega or a referee, Darby hasn’t necessarily turned heel, that’s just who he is.
The wrestling community refers to the character as a “tweener” because they’re between a heel and a face, but that doesn’t even necessary to explain Darby’s actions. AEW has made it clear before that there are no definite heels or faces in their company, only wrestlers and personalities. We can see an example of this in the Hangman/Elite storyline where a lot of shades of grey are utilized.
Darby is a human character that has his own flaws and demons. Cody and Darby’s mutual friendship first started when a defeated Cody offered a hand by Darby Allin after their loss to The Butcher & Blade. Fast forward to last Dynamite, where Darby repeatedly took beatings while Cody couldn’t help in any way. After Darby ended up costing himself the match by attempting to save Cody from a chair shot, it is quite understandable why he would feel frustration towards himself and Cody.
Darby probably doesn’t hate Cody now. What happened after the main event may most likely just be a heat-of-the-moment thing rather than a “turn.” Cody simply made the mistake of consoling a wounded animal, and Darby probably thinks he made the mistake of lending out his trust so easily to Cody. The moment between Darby and Cody may just be planting the seeds for their potential semi-final match more than anything else. Even though there are no definite heels or faces in AEW, the matches still need tension to work. Now that Cody and Darby have friction between them, the road is paved for their showdown to be all the more personal.
After Dynamite's main event tag match, a defeated Darby takes out his frustration on Cody, misleading many fans into thinking he turned heel.