Darby Allin vs Ethan Page
La Boom, New York City, New York, United States
(reviewed 12/09/2017) Watched this after their bigger Anything Goes bout at EVOLVE 80 because I’m a big doofus, but I’m sort of glad I did because I don’t like this match nearly so much and I think I wouldn’t have liked that match so much if I’d seen this one first. It starts well with a good use of space from both men that sees Darby hit a fairly nutty cannonball senton off the corner post with very little room and Page cut him off shortly after that with a shove into the stage and a press slam off said stage and into another corner post. After that Page introduces a pair of handcuffs and traps Darby’s hands behind his back before hitting all sorts of moves that you imagine would be snapping Darby’s wrists in half (lots of slams or other assorted moves that require a flat back bump). Before long Darby makes a spirited comeback while still trapped in the cuffs, connecting with a few boots, running headbutts, and a beauty of a rana. A lot of it’s really impressive stuff merely on an execution level (I’m especially a fan of the way he rights his balance at one point by sticking his head against a turnbuckle pad and pushing off of it), but I think it’s too convoluted to hit me the way it’s supposed to. Like, you can’t do months of “wow, this guy wears face paint and has bad tattoos and doesn’t shower and lives in his car and listens to Demented Are Go and doesn’t care about his own wellbeing, isn’t he craaAAaaAAzy??!?” storytelling and then expect me to be shocked or amazed when he does an athletic and dangerous thing. Maybe that’s just me. Lots of people loved this match and I can certainly see why. There’s some cool shit in here. I just think that the little details of this match as well as the Darby character in general make it less appealing to me.