Orange Cassidy is putting on a Wrestler of the Year performance


Orange Cassidy continues to stand out as one of the most important pro wrestling stars of the last year.

Orange Cassidy has defended his AEW International title 27 times since winning the belt on October 12, 2022. With seven of those defenses coming before the new year, that leaves an astonishing 20 International Title defenses since the calendar turn. It doesn’t matter whether it is Dynamite, Rampage, Battle of the Belts, Collision, or a pay-per-view there is always a chance ‘Jane’ hits to open up the show with an International Title defense.

The chill attitude of Orange Cassidy has slowly gone by the wayside for a slightly more serious and determined champion as of late. This change has made all the difference in establishing the International Championship as a working man’s belt that can’t be held by just anyone.

Cassidy started his reign being the same hand in pockets, not caring champion as you would expect, but now he is covered in sports tape and possibly has a “broken” hand. A visual representation of his performance as a wrestler this year. Cassidy has been AEW’s ace up their sleeve this year with injuries to numerous other talents. Always a reliable option to open a show to get viewers hooked in the two hours after his match.

Cassidy is consistently elevating his opponents giving them plenty of time on offense, and sneaking by with wins as of late. A match that comes to mind is Orange Cassidy facing Wheeler Yuta in February this year. A hard-hitting war that went a lengthy 17 minutes, and really work to submit Yuta as a star on his way to pinning Kenny Omega at Double or Nothing. Taking a look at this past Wednesday’s title defense against AR Fox, if you were a first-time viewer you would have no idea that he was a dominant 27-win champion with how much he was struggling against Fox.

Matches like these are why Cassidy should definitely be in the wrestler of the year conversation, along with the volume of matches he has had this year. He has been constantly putting over younger and up-and-coming talent all while being a commanding champion, something no one else has done on his level this whole year.

The storytelling of his reign as champion is the cherry on top of his year as a performer so far. Cassidy struggling against opponents and barely squeaking out wins has made a lot of his matches can’t miss recently. Will he slip up against a much lesser opponent and finally end his tenure as champion? You have to watch to find out because we are in the territory that he can fall at anytime now.

Cassidy being on this tear as champion has appealed to a lot of different types of wrestling fans as well. Hardcore wrestling fans, like myself, are satisfied with the champions’ defense, because they are very solid in-ring performances accompanied by helping newer wrestlers rise to stardom. Kids are a fan of Orange because of his cool personality and aura around him. Casual fans can experience his wittiness the first time they see him on their television screen. There is really something for everyone.

Orange Cassidy is putting on some of the best matches of his career at a high work rate elevating every opponent he shares the ring with, such as the four-way match at last month’s Forbidden Door pay-per-view, all while being the same goofy personality we all know and love. That is why he deserves to at least be in the conversation for wrestler of the year, so far in 2023.

Next. Thunder Rosa can be the spark that AEW needs. dark