Darby Allin Recalls Being Groomed For WWE NXT

Prior to joining All Elite Wrestling, Darby Allin worked the independent wrestling scene, spending time in Evolve, AAA, Progress, and other promotions. Now viewed as one of the "four pillars" of AEW along with Jungle Boy, MJF, and Sammy Guevara, Allin has worked for the company since its inception, wrestling incredible matches against the likes of CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, and Jon Moxley. Although Allin felt like a shoo-in for AEW all along, the former TNT Champion revealed that he had another option on the table back in 2019 that he passed on.


During an interview with Diamond Dallas Page and Jake "The Snake" Roberts on their podcast "DDP Snake Pit," Allin spoke about his other option, stating that he didn't want to be "put in a box" if he hadn't gone to AEW.

"At the time, I was being groomed to go to 'NXT,'" Allin said. "And I saw the writing on the wall, this was back when '205 Live' was a thing, and I was like, 'Hell f*cking no I'm not going there to do that.' My money is in wrestling David and Goliath matches.

"I wrestled in Mexico a few times and then I felt like everything that made me special was lost when I was in Mexico because the art of selling goes out the window. All I could think about is there was no way. I wanted to go to AEW and then I can sink or swim on my own merit. I have the opportunity to get over as myself and then fail as myself."


As for what happened next, Allin had heard that there was a new company starting up and heard several people talk about the word "creative freedom" with Tony Khan's company and knew that's where he needed to be. Allin said he spoke to Cody Rhodes about wanting to get out of his contract, took out a loan to pay off the rest of his deal, and was ready to go to AEW upon their inception.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit "DDP Snake Pit" with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.