I might be biased — these two guys are utter favorites of mine — but I have to give AEW credit for the slow-burn exposure it’s got going on right now with Darby Allin and Orange Cassidy.
Part of this is based on how both men are singular beings in the industry right now. But as we ride into the end of the year, I think about how my two favorite persons on their roster are quite over, and it’s possibly because of AEW knowing how to not over-expose greatness.
”WE! WANT! ORANGE!”
In the AEW Dark taped last week (watch it here; read cSs’ review here), the AEW faithful shouted their anticipation for a hot tag, with wholesome, honest sincerity... and let’s think about this for a second. In a six-man tag match, which are arguably the least important bout on any card, AEW’s managed to get the crowd extremely excited for a guy who often pretends he doesn’t know what excitement is.
The most electrifying man in professional wrestling, Orange Cassidy.— Orange Cassidy’s Sunglasses (@CassidysGlasses) December 18, 2019
Orange Cassidy, in another promotion, might have been freshly squeezed dry of all his “newness” in under a month. Yet today, nearly 7 months after his AEW debut (May 25 at Double or Nothing), the company has sparingly spritzed his essence into the world, and he’s making crowds go wild.
Seriously, watch everything he does, and that the crowd does, before and after he’s tagged into that match. The stuff he and PAC do, however briefly, is amazing.
From appearing ringside to offer a thumb-kinda-up, to being caught standing in a random bathroom backstage, to going toe-to-shins with that bastard PAC, Orange Cassidy’s time in AEW has felt perfectly done so far, giving me faith that one of my favorites picked the right promotion.
On the other half of the coin here, let’s talk about Darby Allin, a guy who I talk about the way Homer Simpson talked about Poochie from The Simpsons. I’m always wondering “Where’s Darby?” and I’ve even gotten a bit frustrated about the lack of Darby on AEW television.
Not that Darby’s been in absentia from AEW, it’s just that the guy is so talented and appreciated that 4 out of 11 Dynamite episodes and 2 AEW Dark appearances still feel like less than enough appearances for a guy that the crowd loves.
Remember when Darby hit the ring in a skateboard, and rattled Le Champion? It was such a *cool* moment that my brain — trained to expect repetition by years of WWE programming — was surprised when we didn’t get more of the same and quickly.
But last week, when Darby walked right past The Butcher & The Blade to pick Cody off the floor and offer an alliance, the crowd got excited. Little did we know, AEW’s lack of Darby was meant to help keep his path clean. Sure, he’s had big matches here and there, but since he’s aiming high, he’s been waiting for an opportunity — and one that’s visible when Cody needs a tag partner who’s able to offer more than QT Marshall.
So, here’s to learning about patience and valuing what you get when you get it, and thinking about the bigger picture.