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I just saw Orange Cassidy, one of the last true pro wrestlers, ride off to AEW

A 10-gulp salute to Orange Cassidy, one of the best damn pro wrestlers to ever do the damn thing.

Photo: Henry T. Casey

Pro wrestlers each have their own way to make you care about them. Some are so obnoxious that you lose your voice yelling at them. Brave and valiant underdogs make you nearly shed a tear or two. Orange Cassidy, on the other hand, takes his sunglasses very seriously.

Last night (Thurs., Aug. 15) at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Brooklyn, I (along with many others) got to celebrate O.C. in what may be one of his last truly indie dates. Yes, Outlaw Wrestling booked the acid washed denim-clad king, whose life is about to get a lot more televised.

His match against Alex Reynolds last night was great, and something to find once Outlaw Wrestling posts it to its YouTube. This isn’t really about that match, though, it’s about the man we all know and love, who loves the Fast & Furious movies: “Freshly Squeezed” Orange Cassidy.

If you’re not familiar with Orange Cassidy, I wouldn’t start by reading my last story about him, “An oral history of Orange Cassidy, the hottest enigma in independent wrestling”. It’s as funny as it is confusing, and a story I’m quite proud of to this date.

Instead, start with a singles match on YouTube, but know that you missed an entrance on par with The Undertaker’s. Jefferson Starship’s “Jane” isn’t just a practically perfect song for Cassidy’s entrance — where he walks in with the slow, measured pace that most of us associate with the later stages of a hangover — it’s unstreamable because of licensing costs.

But as Orange Cassidy rolls into and out of the ring, like a tired lil dachshund, you start to see that this guy is an unusually cool cat. Most wrestlers are pushing a ferocious intensity, but this dude here is feeling okay, maybe. Highly relatable and unusual, Orange will start throwing hands, but only softly. The crowd does not care that it looks like Cassidy doesn’t, and a “HOLY SHIT” chant will break out, while his opponent looks like Mugatu thinking he took crazy pills.

I won’t explain a whole O.C. match, but these early-on moments get punctuated with the exclamation mark moments as his sacred objects come into play. Starting with his sunglasses, then his pant pockets and lastly his orange juice, this man cares so much about his stuff that he wins the crowd over and builds them to a fervor.

Those paying attention, with an open mind, will always get the most out of wrestling, and this is never more the case than with Orange Cassidy. He’s a Rorschach test for the moment, with negative responses coming from the hardline traditionalists. Those who know how to take the stick out of their ass and have fun, however, start to notice how he’s one of the last performers who works like a method actor, never breaking character, which is more old school than that off-the-top-rope chop.

Even as most wrestlers are using their real names on social media, there’s barely a trace of his anywhere, outside of one episode of a certain interview show. He never walks around the venue after the match in his street clothes, even after the show is over and most have gone home. He lives the gimmick, even putting a Google Play Store link to Fast Five next to his social media icons on his own site.

Oh and he’s also still got a full paragraph of lorum ipsum text, the standard boilerplate that you’re supposed to modify, on said site.

As I talked to Cassidy at his merch table last night — where I discovered he’d sold out of all his iconic Inception-like tees — I saw a man who is completely ready to stand out in whatever this new AEW TNT show is. If you’ve ever tried to watch New Japan’s gruelingly-long G1 tournament, you know the value of a Toru Yano match, which brings levity and freshens the mood. Orange Cassidy will do that, and more, whenever he finally gets to cable.

I didn’t write this to shame you into loving Orange Cassidy the way I do. Like who you want to like, dislike stuff you don’t. Just try to be open to different kinds of wrestling. And if AEW really is going to give a NJPW-like “true sport” presentation? Jericho and Page, I know you’re fighting for the gold at All Out, but know that the master of the mouse trap, the man with the second longest IWTV Championship reign, is coming for your gold.

Oh, and AEW: don’t try and make a new song for him, just buy “Jane.”

P.S.: Or at least he will be, after he wins BOLA. Shoutout to David Starr: You’re a great wrestler, but you’ve got a freshly squeezed challenge that’s gonna wring all your nicknames out of you.

P.P.S.: Orange can always reach out to NXT’s Malcolm Bivens (fka Stokely Hathaway) for a foot in the door at WWE if he needs one:

P.P.P.S.: You’re still reading? Here’s a gem: Kris Statlander & Orange Cassidy vs Boomer & Solo Darling.

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