Before AEW’s first show (AEW Double or Nothing 2019), mainstream wrestling fans had no idea who Orange Cassidy was. He was a completely unknown character to the lapsed WWE fan who Tony Khan was targeting with his big signings, like Jon Moxley and Chris Jericho. His promotion was built on the backs of stars from WWE and NJPW, but it would be the former Chikara star who truly took the AEW fans to his heart.
He made his debut in the Casino Battle Royal. He made an instant impact – walking in late and confronting Tommy Dreamer with his famous “lazy kicks” to the shin. This bemused the ECW legend but the live crowd found it hilarious. He then proceeded to do nothing before being tossed out, but the fans found the gimmick intrugiing.
Wrestling is full of intense, aggressive characters. The screaming, roided up, yelling muscle head has been the standard template for a wrestler over the past 50 years. Cassidy completely flipped the script. He is a smaller wrestler (with a background in Lucha Libre), wrestling in a pair of jeans and sunglasses and with a very nonchalant style in the ring. He is simply lazy and does not want to try.
This makes for some hilarious moments, but also some incredible ones when he bucks the trend actually does put the effort in. This is what made his debut singles match at AEW Revolution against PAC so brilliant. He started off with his hands in the pocket, lazy style but when provoked, showed how he was a fantastic wrestler who pushed the Englishmen to his limit. He did not win the match but the King of Sloth Style was born and Orange Cassidy proved he was a top class wrestler.
He went to have feuds with some of the top wrestlers in the promotion, solidifying himself in the main event scene. He battled the likes of Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes, Brodie Lee, Adam Cole and Will Ospreay in huge wrestling matches that only grew his popularity and made him one of the biggest stars in AEW. He is now the All-Atlantic Champion and regularly defends his championship on AEW Dynamite and Rampage weekly.
But why is Orange Cassidy so popular? For an outsider, it may seem like a puzzling thing, but there is one very obvious reason for his popularity.
Why Is Orange Cassidy So Popular?
The simple fact is that Orange Cassidy is popular because he is different. There are many well-worn tropes in wrestling, yet he managed to craft a gimmick that has never been seen before. Nobody has ever seen anything like Orange Cassidy, a wrestler so lazy that they won’t even try when inside the ring.
Most wrestlers are all about aggression. Professional wrestling is all about big meaty men slapping meat, with an emphasis on aggressive fighting and an intense desire to win. Orange Cassidy is the antithesis of this. I’m sure he does want to win when he wrestles, but as a general rule he simply does not care.
It doesn’t make much sense but it’s true. His gimmick is that he, usually, does not care enough to bother trying. He knows he is so good that he can do the bare minimum, not even taking his hands out of his pockets nor take his sunglasses off his face, and still come out on top. Usually you’d think that this was a heel move, but he’s just so good at what he does you can’t help but love him.
He doesn’t talk down to the fans or hide his intentions. He’s not an MJF type, who will weasel his way out of a fight. Orange Cassidy will take on anyway he is booked against- he just wont be happy about it and will do all he can to finish the match early so he can do as little wrestling as possible.
This makes him an incredibly endearing character. Everyone watching at home can relate to going into work and not being bothered to do anything. While Steve Austin was the everyman of the 1990s, wanting to sink a stunner into his boss before downing a cold beer, Cassidy is this generations representative, for the man who just cannot be bothered to go to work and do anything, simply wanting to just do as little as possible whenever he can.
Another thing to add is that his antics, simply put, are very funny. Watching him slowly roll out of the way of a huge top rope move is something so silly you can’t help but laugh. His lazy kicks buck the conventions of typical wrestling that they make you giggle. But most of all, when he does finally turn on the burners and start to wrestle, you realise just how good he is in the ring – even with his hands in his pockets.
The goal of professional wrestling is to get the biggest reactions by doing the least you can. Well, Orange Cassidy works incredibly hard to do as little work as possible, and that is why he is so popular.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.