Nick Gage vs Darby Allin
Game Changer World, Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States
(reviewed 12/15/2017) YEAH NICKY BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF DARBY MDK. Sadly there’s not a lot of that here. Well, I guess there is, but it’s not nearly so violent or intense or exciting as you’d imagine it to be. There’s something Tremont mentioned in his post-match promo at NGI II that stuck with me and it was the idea that Nicky wants guys to bring their best when they came at him. Gage thrives on energy and while he can certainly carry a match on his own personality, it’s the passion of his opponents that make or break the match. Darby simply ain’t the most passionate guy around. He’s the sort of wrestler who needs to get beat down for most of the match before making a comeback with an assortment of wacky dives and trashy white boy lucha, which is what we get here. Some of that’s fun, like a particularly nutty dive Darby does off the balcony in Game Changer World that is a good 30 feet in the air, but because Darby’s bringing nothing to the table outside of these occasional highflying moments this match is a drag. Nicky’s only so much fun to watch in a non-deathmatch setting where he’s not allowed to just break someone in half. He’s excelled in non-deathmatch settings recently, but it was with a strong heel opposite him who was scrambling to contain the monster who was Nick Gage, not a Nick Gage who was trying to pull something out of an aimless opponent. Almost as if to punctuate that, they recycle spots from Darby’s famous EVOLVE 79 match against Ethan Page, which seems to be a thing Darby does fairly regularly these days. So with nothing new and nothing exciting, this is easily my least favorite Nick Gage match of 2017. Most of that I’d put squarely on Darby’s shoulders for being a one-trick pony, but if he’s not able to adapt to a one-trick pony who works outside of his comfort zone, maybe Nicky is one too.