To be a great orator, one must have charisma in boundless measures and the ultimate gift of gab. You’ve got to seize the attention and get people to believe in you as much you believe in yourself. Many a man has used it as a weapon and as a tool.
Darius Lockhart is one such speaker. There’s such grandiose confidence to him that can speak to anyone and grab their heart, open it, and pour so much hope into it. There’s a power in his voice that can move mountains.
There’s an enthralling cadence in the way he speaks, and it speaks volumes. It can be the way he gets his point across. It can be how he repeats himself, not to be repetitive or annoying, but to drive his message home, almost like his speech is as persistent and confident as he is. It can be in the way he speaks like a poet, performing for an audience as his vocal chords drip with culture.
The vignettes he films are overflowing with a unique style, borne of the civil rights, of artists and hip-hop stars, poets and filmmakers, drenched in something meaningful and relevant which belongs to people who live differently from people like me, yet his work will always speak to anybody who is willing to listen. The film grain, black and white color and the music is but a background for the portrait of his making, as he reaches through and touches your soul.
Selfishly, I want to see this man signed to a major promotion, to capture the attention of everyone all around.
I’d like to say I discovered Lockhart by happenstance, watching a wrestling show and seeing him do his thing. Instead, it was his promo delivered on NWA Hard Times 2, which he had shared on his Twitter. Immediately, I gravitated toward him.
Next time Darius was placed on my radar, it was during another promo, this time in black and white, as he set his sights on a legend in a historic wrestling building, and swore that the “land is gonna change hands”.
Near the end of December 2021, Lockhart would be booked on AEW Dark: Elevation against fellow North Carolina native Matt Hardy in the Greensboro Coliseum, something I’m sure thrilled the 26 year old. Lockhart also faced off against another member of the AEW roster in Ricky Starks. Both occasions, Darius pushed these men to the point they had to push harder.
But, we’ve got to go back. Autumn 2021, there’s a match featuring the Honorable Brother Lockhart that is a must if you were to be introduced to him, especially if you are not into promos – for wrestling’s best storytelling is often spoken through body language.
Lee Moriarty, purveyor of Taiga Style. Someone who’s on the same road as Lockhart, but in a different lane entirely. Same path, separate directions. A hot new prospect in AEW, one who himself is set for greatness as well, but for tonight he is scheduled to face the Intergalactic Soul Lockhart at Enjoy Wrestling’s Night Moves, 10th October 2021.
Going into this match, Moriarty walks in with a chip on his shoulder, that he’s on a another level, and Darius isn’t there. His opponent disagrees, for the time has come for the land to change hands, the time has come to prove he’s just as good, to prove he’s better than Lee, and he’s ready to match Taiga Style with Panther Style. This isn’t about a title or making a statement. This is about proving oneself, that the place they want to occupy is their place, the place they’re meant to be in.
The match starts with a friendly gesture, an arm outstretched for a fist-bump by Moriarty. Darius rejects this and raises his fist high in the air, and Lee follows suit. The fists connect in a quiet moment gesturing a bond and connection only these men will know.
The time for action commences, and neither man gives a single quarter. For almost thirty minutes each man pounces and strikes and grapples in unrelenting manner, even through exhaustion. Lee pushes through with dominance, but Darius refuses to drown in these waters, holding his own, delivering a nasty clothesline that flattens Lee.
Time passes and the men appear evenly matched. This can easily result in a panic betwixt wrestlers, and it was the case here, with many reversal pins until Moriarty found himself able to trap Darius in a pin that sealed the win, a match commentator Veda Scott declares “one of the matches you show somebody if you want to get them to love pro-wrestling!” (Also, someone sign her up too, she’s amazing in the commentary booth.).
The dust settles, the tiger smiles while the panther laments. In a show of sportsmanship, Darius reaches out for a fist-bump, but this time it is Lee who holds his fist to the heavens, and like before, the gesture is reciprocated.
Darius didn’t win the match, but he won Lee’s respect, and in doing so, he’s proven on this October evening that he is just as golden as any other wrestler.
There’s a spot for Darius Lockhart at the top of any card, as there is for Lee Moriarty, Carmelo Hayes, Trick Williams and Willow Nightingale. The Rock proved that. Kofi proved that. Let them shine with their magic and see what happens.
I see Darius as the man who wants everyone to succeed and to be in control of their destinies, from the marginalized to the downtrodden. The Intergalactic Soul is still young, and there is so much time to grow, and this fan knows in his soul that the Honorable Brother is going to show us all what it means to be free and seize the future that is ours, by any means necessary.
The land is going to change hands, and it will do so at the palms of someone who is assuredly revolutionary.