SB Nation calls him “the most popular wrestler” in All Elite Wrestling. ESPN Katie Nolan has called him, “my new king.” Comedian Chris D’Elia said, “I will now follow this man to the ends of the earth.” T-shirts depicting his likeness are consistent top sellers.
Yes, pro wrestling has a new star, and his name is Orange Cassidy.
For Cassidy – real name: James Clipperly – it took a decade to become an overnight success. For years, the New Jersey native toiled in small independent wrestling promotions, gradually gaining a cult following, before landing an All Elite Wrestling contract last summer.
In a fantasy world where characters mean everything, Cassidy’s gimmick is certainly unique: He is a slacker. A loafer. He is, as one AEW commentator likes to call him, “the king of Sloth Style.”
Sometimes, you’re tempted to check if he has a pulse. He’s so lazy that even his trademark “thumb’s up” gesture is half-hearted.
Cassidy has his critics, of course. Pro wrestling “purists” deride his in-ring demeanor and call him a joke. “He’s making a mockery of the industry,” they fume.
Remember, pro wrestling is the same entertainment arena that has given us an Undertaker, a Repo Man, a “Ho-Train”-leading pimp, and Doink the Clown.
Live audiences have fallen in love with Orange Cassidy. They scream every time he unleashes a devastating kick (or is it love tap?) to his opponent’s shin. They cheer every time he chops (love taps) an opponent’s chest.
He wrestles with his hands in his pockets.
Recognizing that a little goes a long way, AEW was smart enough to showcase Cassidy in bite-sized pieces. They gave fans just a taste of Orange, leaving them wanting more.
It all came to a head a couple of weeks ago, when it was announced that Cassidy would have his first one-on-one match in AEW, and it would be against the surly, no-nonsense bully from Newcastle, England: Pac.
The week before the match, Cassidy’s friend and training partner, Chuck Taylor, declared, “Pac, you think [Cassidy is] a joke? Well, the joke’s on you, buddy, because this time he’s going to tryyyyy!”
The crowd erupted.
The match was held last Saturday at AEW’s PPV, “Revolution.” The sold-out crowd in Chicago witnessed the coming out party of Orange Cassidy.
Yes, he’s a slacker.
Yeah, he’s sort of goofy.
But when he wants to, this guy can really go. Check it his match with Pac:
What’s next for Orange Cassidy, pro wrestling’s newest and unlikeliest star?
Who knows? But one thing’s for sure: Orange Cassidy’s story is no pulp fiction.
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