One of the most popular videos on my very new YouTube channel (subscribe, pretty please?) was me talking about a long-time childhood friend (Moiz, shout out to you) and how he’s been sharing a lot of Orange Cassidy videos despite the fact that he’s only consistent exposure to professional wrestling was hearing “You’re Going Down” on Smackdown vs RAW 2010 more times than the premier league team Chelsea with the letter “L”.
Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why, like your friend, do you resonate with Orange Cassidy so much?” It’s obvious, really: the simplicity of his character and how it represents what makes professional wrestling an enjoyable, satisfying medium to watch.
At its best, professional wrestling really – and I mean REALLY – works when the stories told are simple to follow yet engaging enough that it leads to a satisfying conclusion. And that is all thanks to the talent that mastered its communication with the audience.
NXT, in its heyday aka the black and gold era, has utilized that simple storytelling extensively. One such example is their “best friends turned bitter rivals’ trope which has worked for feuds like Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, Dakota Kai and Tegan Nox, Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly, Candace LeRae and Io Sky even though that trope is the equivalent of how many times Sam and Dean Winchester died and came back to life in Supernatural.
Coming back to Orange Cassidy though, the current AEW international champion’s minimalist persona has made him special by one, his in-ring attire, two only speaking when he needs to, and three, letting his actions do the speaking.
The way he hits that Superman punch with such force despite earlier in the match hitting the “lazy kicks” is, in my opinion, TEXTBOOK in-ring psychology that does a great job of building anticipation within a wrestling match. The only person in professional wrestling that has come CLOSE to building intrigue/anticipation in a match is, of course, the Nigerian Giant and the big GOAT, Omos.
As I said earlier, Orange Cassidy is a great representation of the simplicity of pro wrestling but also how we can apply to said simplicity in our daily life.
I’ve always put a LOT of detail and complexity into what I do every day that in the end would burn me the f out and my mental health would suffer like Jesse Pinkman in that mid a** Breaking Bad movie. It took me a VERY long time to realize that I don’t have to make everything so complicated in order to achieve my goals for the day.
Look, sometimes minimalism just f’ing works, and guys like Orange Cassidy prove that life doesn’t have to be so complex. To quote a then-younger Avril Lavigne, “Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?”