We first heard of Darby a few years ago when he sent us a video he made called Crooked Bitch that was 50% backyard wrestling, 50% rural stunts, and 25% skateboarding, which is our preferred ratio.
A couple of years later we found out he actually made something of himself, and has since become a professional wrestler who somehow was able to mesh his skateboarding upbringing into his persona in the ring.
He’s since deleted the video, but he’s now on TV in face paint, denim short-shorts, and leggings, using his skateboard to stab people with thumbtacks and launch himself into big name wrestlers like Chris Jericho.
We love an oddball skate story, so we decided to talk with Darby and find out about his first skate video and how his life has changed since he made it big on TV. Read on, then go choke slam a friend for old time’s sake.
Why did you decide to mix skateboarding with your wrestling persona?
One of my big goals in wrestling is to intertwine the two worlds, because skaters don’t get wrestlers and wrestlers don’t get skaters, so I figured it’d be nice to try. Seeing a wrestler come out with a skateboard is such a wack concept now. A lot of people would be like, “What the fuck is up with this guy?” But if you actually dig in and see that I skate it’s like, “Oh, okay, that’s cool.”
It’s fun to reach out and get some alternative sports fans back into wrestling because they all fell out of love with it after Stone Cold was around. Now, there are no wrestlers that speak to skaters on a personal level, so they’re like, “Fuck it. I don’t give a shit.”
Wrestling [WWE] got more watered down and soft, right? It’s more for proper television and stuff.
Yeah, but, the company I’m with, AEW, we’re going to be able to have a lot more freedom. It’s not going to be watered down. And you could see that, like when you see someone jumping on someone with thumbtacks and shit.
When you first started, did you bring a skateboard into a meeting and say, “Okay, this is my finisher?”
When I first started, nobody understood it. All they knew about skateboarding was Tony Hawk. So it was tricky at first, but once you show them that there’s a crossover of appeal it got accepted more easily. But AEW wanted it. They totally get it and they want all of it, like, “Better use that skateboard, boy.” [laughs]
What do you think is more taxing on your body wrestling or trying to make it as a pro skater?
Pro skater, by far. I’ve been wrestling for five years, all I’ve done is break my elbow with a shovel. With skateboarding I was breaking my ankle, my foot, my arm like every other month.
But you were also doing crazy skating, like stunt skating.
Yeah, but even before the stunts, when I first started learning I broke my ankle ollieing down a four-stair. That’s why I skipped all the basic stuff. I’m not going ollie a four-stair and get hurt because if I get hurt it’s going to be on the biggest thing there is. That’s why I jumped off sculptures and stuff.
I saw the drop-in on the sculpture, that was wild, you just flew off.
I did that with two broken ankles. I taped them up because I gave a date when I was going to do it and I didn’t want to turn around and not do it because all the film people were there and I didn’t want to be like, “Oh, I can’t do it today.” So I taped my ankles and climbed up there. I saw Jaws tried that recently.
What are the more sketchy wrestling moves you could do?
I’d say piledrivers. There are a lot of people who don’t know how to do the piledriver and they just do it on their friends and they break their necks. If you’re choke slamming all your buddies, it’s fun – you just grab them by the neck and they jump to their back. It might knock the wind out of them but it’s not going to kill them. People get messed up on piledrivers [laughs].
Were you really homeless before you got noticed in wrestling?
Yeah, I chose to be homeless because there are so many people that are like, “All I want to do is wrestling, this is all I’m living for,” and they still had a plan B, or something to fall back on. A lot of people sit on their couch and get used to the comfort of being a couch potato.
When you live in your car, and the hot sun wakes you up, you’re not going to sit in the car all day. You have to get moving. I told myself that I’m going to work hard, live in this car, and if I don’t make something of myself then I deserve to be in this car. Then shit started to work out for me.
How recent was this?
Until last November I lived in my car, so like three years technically. This year I’ve been totally fine with everything. Nothing to worry about anymore. I’ve only been wrestling for like five years. There are too many people with too much comfortability and they have so much stuff to fall back on. They don’t live like they want it. I didn’t want to do anything else with my life and I knew being a sponsored skater wasn’t going to be a thing. [laughs]
“I told myself that I’m going to work hard, live in this car, and if I don’t make something of myself then I deserve to be in this car.”
Give me a snapshot of what living in your car was like.
I had an Anytime Fitness membership so I would take a George Foreman Grill and cook stuff in the bathroom at two in the morning. I would wake up, go to the airport, and leave my car somewhere in the parking lot and come back later. I was always on the go.
There are parts of me that miss being homeless because it was fun, everything is so unpredictable every day. On a normal weekday, I would sleep in a parking garage that was connected to a hotel in the visitor parking spot because I didn’t want someone to break into my car or shoot me in the head. I used to park it at the Waffle House and a bunch of crackheads tried to break into it.
So how would you bring home a chick? Would you go back to their house or just do it in the car and call it a day?
I was dating this other wrestler, Priscilla Kelly, and we ended up getting married. Around the time we got married, I ended up getting more successful. When we first started dating, I was homeless and it was like “Hey, do you want to come over to my house?” and she would sleep in the car with me.
That’s when you know you found the one.
It was romantic. A lot of romantic nights in the car [laughs].
When you two have sex do you wear the face paint, or nah?
[laughs] No I don’t wear the face paint.
How often do you skate these days?
I skated last night, so probably like three times a week. But I need to know my limits because I used to just jump off of stuff and break my ankles. I can’t do that anymore [laughs]. It sucks because when I go skating I want to push it because there’s that side of me that’s like, “Oh yeah, I have to skate as hard as I can.” And people are like, “Dude you’re on TV now, you can’t afford to break your ankle.”
What’s up with your parents? Were they supportive or questionable when it came to wrestling?
I have an awesome relationship with them. I didn’t start wrestling until I was 21, but when I was 18 I told my dad that I was going to be a professional wrestler and he was like, “Yeah right, go fuck yourself.” [laughs] So I didn’t get into it then. I went to film school but in film school they weren’t letting me be me. I wanted to film all these crazy documentaries, but the moment I can’t be myself I tune out and disappear.
Then when I was 21 I said I was going to do this wrestling thing and if it doesn’t work out, fine, I’ll quit. It started working out quickly and they were hyped on it, like, “Oh shit, he really did it.” But there’s been a lot of nights in the hospital they weren’t psyched on, but it is what it is, and it’s paid off now.
You ever feel like taking your dad and putting him in a headlock to show him what’s good?
[laughs] I always mess around with him. I don’t put him in headlocks, but I put dog shit on his truck handle and stuff.
You mentioned your film school wouldn’t let you make the movies you wanted to. What weren’t you allowed to do exactly?
I wanted to film a documentary about Craigslist fetishes. There was this guy who used to live in my apartment complex who was Jimmy Kimmel’s cousin but he was the black sheep of the family, like a total crackhead, like seriously. I was going to pay him to do these fetishes with these people and it wasn’t like a sex movie it was a documentary and it’d be funny. I wanted to find these people off Craigslist and then ask them, “At what age did you get into this fetish? Why do you think you have them?”
Like this dude wanted to be put halfway in the oven on low and then have food on him, which Jimmy Kimmel’s cousin was going to eat. A full course meal off of him. If that was on HBO it would be an interesting documentary. I’d watch it because it’s hilarious, and weird, and informative about the human brain and whatever.
We had it all set up and we were about to film it and the school caught wind of what I was doing and they were like, “You can’t do that!” and I was like, “It’s art, don’t fuck with my art.” And they were like, “No it’s crazy, you’re putting people in ovens.”
“This dude wanted to be put halfway in the oven on low and then have food on him, which Jimmy Kimmel’s cousin was going to eat.”
I heard a rumor that you saw someone shit themselves in the ring?
Yeah, I had a tryout match a while ago and a guy crapped his pants halfway through the match. I didn’t even know. There was doody all over the ring, I didn’t see it. Then we had to sit in a chair and got critiqued after the tryout match. This dude sat in the chair and I was supposed to sit in the chair next to him, but there was wet diarrhea and bubbles and stuff on the chair. I was like, I’ll stand, because I didn’t want to tell anybody. So I stood and then the next person in line sat in the shit and everyone had this shit on them and they didn’t know where it came from.
Did he shit because of impact?
Maybe because he had the Pizza Hut buffet the night before [laughs].
When we hit you up to share your video, Crooked Bitch, you said you wanted to edit it first. Is that because there’s some sketchy stuff in there you don’t want people to see?
No there’s just like random stuff. Living in Seattle, we have a lot of free time on our hands, so we do this thing where we collect neighborhood dog shit and we make a ring of dog shit and people would fight in there for money. There’s also clips of people crapping their pants. There was a lot of weird stuff in that video and it was all back from like 2013.
My whole outlook on everything is that I don’t want to be looked at just for being a wrestler, just for being a skater, or a stunt man. I want to be everything, like an entrepreneur kind of. I deleted that video when I first started wrestling because I didn’t want anyone to be like “Oh this guy is a fucking kook.” Now that I get accepted for being a kook, it’s a different story.
I thought you’d have to change who you are as a human being before you get to that level. But I just kept going and kept being this little punk piece of shit [laughs]. I did my thing and it just worked out in the end. It caught me by surprise that’s for sure. I’m on national television as myself, and I could be free and do whatever the hell I want to do, it’s going to be awesome. I made it [laughs].
Did anything really good come of Crooked Bitch? Or do you feel like it was a waste of time because at the end of the day you took it down?
I edited it, filmed it, and put it together and it was my project so I felt like good things came out of the skate thing because I got a lot of people talking. I sent it out to the TM of Toy Machine, [Mike] Sinclair. He got back to me and was like, “Thanks for keeping skating weird” and all that shit. Like I was saying, I was just a kid who wasn’t really into the basic skating. I wasn’t going to do a tre flip, I try to think outside the box. It’s a lot like my wrestling, I don’t wrestle like normal people.
Is there a lot of pressure to play your persona if someone sees you in public?
That’s the thing, my wrestling persona is myself, so I could do whatever the hell I want to do. I don’t play a role like I’m a garbage man or anything like that, so that helps. So when people see me and they’re like, “Darby what’s up?” most of the time I’m skating or I have a skateboard with me, so it’s like, there he is, with his skateboard, chilling. I wear the same clothes out in public that I do in the ring, so I don’t have a wardrobe outfit.
Do you own your character? Can you go to WWE or does the network own it?
I own it. It’s always different for everybody. I know the other places they’ll own your character so you can’t use it if you get fired. Some places let you still use it or whatever. But me personally they were like, “Do whatever the hell you want.”
You skate a Deathwish board in the ring. Have you hit them up to try to get some royalties for giving them such good advertising?
Steve Hernandez sends me shit all the time, like skateboards and stuff. I don’t think they understand, like they don’t get wrestling. I told them that I’m going to be on national television and I could just rock your gear, you know? It would be fun and free advertisement, and I love anything to do with Baker Boys. They’re like, “There’s a wrestler who skateboards? Okay.” That’s why I said earlier, wrestlers don’t get skaters and skaters don’t get wrestlers. I want to be the one who intertwined the two worlds as best as I can.
What’s the attitude like in the locker room after an event?
Everybody is hyped, we’re a big unit in a new company and everybody wants everyone to succeed. There is no ill will placed on each other. We’re all trying to perform because we want to show the world that our company could do it. We’re a family.
A lot of people at the end of the night see me and are like, “How ya walkin’?” [laughs] Like I said, falling on concrete my whole life prepared me for wrestling and it really gives me that advantage over other wrestlers. Other wrestlers are always like, “I gotta take pain pills or drink after a match to cope with the pain,” but I don’t take anything, not even an aspirin. I’m just cool with it. If I asked for this pain, I deserve to live with it.