Following Orange Cassidy’s victory over Rey Fenix for the AEW International Championship on Dynamite, a brief debate took place in Cageside Seats’ “Daily Open Thread” over whether booking Cassidy for the match and title win was the right decision by Tony Khan. During these talks, a reader defended the move, telling me:
“Orange Cassidy is healthy and has shown himself to be a workhorse for AEW.”
What I’m going to say next is going to surprise a lot of people, so before we get there, let’s all take a deep breath.
Okay, y’all ready? Here it is.
AEW made a mistake putting the International title back on Orange Cassidy. Instead, AEW boss Tony Khan should be working to elevate Cassidy to the position he truly belongs in.
Orange Cassidy should be AEW’s next World Champion.
Before I go any further, let me clarify why that statement might surprise regular readers of my work here. I am not a fan of the Orange Cassidy gimmick, nor have I grown fond of it. As a fan of a particular style of wrestling, Cassidy does not resonate with me. Yet I recognize what Cassidy means to the AEW audience, and I believe that putting the title on him, even for a brief time, à la WWE with Mick Foley in 1998 and 1999, would be a popular decision and is the right thing to do, but it all comes down to execution.
With the proper storyline and a slight departure from his slacker persona, Cassidy going after the world championship and expressing an extreme desire to win the gold would likely register strong support from AEW fans, especially those who see him as being a workhorse for AEW. To see him ascend to the mountain top might produce the best feel-good moment ever for All Elite.
And what would really drive it home and send fans off a cliff would be to have a rotten heel take the title off him not long after in the most despicable manner possible. If said heel were Christian Cage, arguably AEW’s hottest act, it would be even better because, as history has shown, bad guys equal big business.
Though Cage is approaching 50, he is in the midst of an all-time run, with reactions to his segments being some of the best on AEW television. On a reduced schedule that has Cage wrestle or defend the AEW crown five or six times in a 12-month span, Tony Khan would have time to develop a new star that could challenge Cage in what would hopefully lead to a box office blowout while simultaneously protecting his veteran superstar.
It’s an avenue worth exploring, and again, if AEW gets it right with the presentation, an Orange Cassidy title win and short reign — coupled with a slimy win by a dirty heel — could a move that helps the promotion’s ratings and gives a much needed boost to ticket sales.