Darby Allin gets to challenge for the AEW World Championship here after the fantastic closing moments of last week’s Dynamite where he skateboards down the ramp to dive onto Jericho. Le Champion asks for the match to be made a Philadelphia Street Fight which only gives him an excuse to bust out the hideous Painmaker gear and shtick.
In effect, this match is really just a Darby Allin mixtape. The entire match is built around highlighting Allin’s best strengths: his speed, his sympathetic selling, and his flashy bumping. It’s a formula that’s hard to mess up and it’s done well enough here. Allin gets an early babyface shine by bamboozling Jericho with his quickness. Jericho cuts him off though and thrashes him around on the outside in one of the better Jericho control segments of the year. All this builds up to Jericho taping up Allin’s hands behind his back so that Allin can showcase his signature hands-tied-up comeback sequence.
While everything Allin does here looks great and does a lot to let him shine, Jericho’s just a stand in here. He has nothing creative or interesting to add to the formula and essentially just goes through the match waiting for Darby to bump for him or onto him. You get a lot of that same fumbling awkwardness when Jericho gets flummoxed by Darby’s speed. Not in the kayfabe sense of Allin outfoxing Jericho but more in the sad sense of an old man being unable to keep up with the younger kids.
As you can imagine the worst segment is Jericho’s control segment back in the ring. After letting Darby bump for him like a maniac on the outside, Jericho decides to follow things up with some of the softest Lance Storm-esque kendo stick strikes I’ve ever seen. Hard to feel sympathetic for Darby when the beating he’s taking isn’t that convincing. Instead, I ended up just feeling sorry for the fact he had to work around Jericho through all this.