wrestling / Columns

Enter the Beyond – Orange Cassidy, 2018 Wacky Wrestler of the Year

January 27, 2019 | Posted by Jake Chambers
Orange Cassidy, GCW

Last week I introduced my new obsession for 2019 – Beyond Wrestling – in particular their phenomenal new tradition of holding the first pro-wrestling match of the year right after midnight on New Year’s Eve. For two years in a row they’ve put on these ridiculously violent brawls once the ball drops, and I have made it a bit of a personal mission to try and be there live when they do it again.

Beyond Wrestling is certainly not a conventional pro-wrestling company. They provide a forum for pro-wrestling craft that doesn’t prioritize the creation of monetizable content over fun and thrills, an odd style for sure in a 2019 that seems to be trending deeper into the corporatization of the industry. But to Beyond Wrestling this is actually not an “industry”. Wrestling doesn’t have to be something you NEED to buy just because it’s for sale, but actually can be something you’re willing to pay for because you like it so much. I can’t speak to whether this is the exact business model of Beyond; however, that’s how I like to imagine it, and imagination is what this life is all about, isn’t it?

Back in 2008 I wrote my first regular column at 411mania, Wacky Wrestling Theory, where I presented crazy pro-wrestling ideas and spotlighted some of the wackiest wrestlers around. One annual feature I started was awarding “Wacky Wrestler of the Year”, which I gave to Maryse in December of 2008, Pro-Wrestling NOAH’s Genba Hiriyanagi in 2009, and then dusted off the award in 2016 to give it to the much deserving R-Truth. Well, 2018 was a year that has prompted me to resurrect the Wacky Wrestler of the Year Award once more for a slept-on (and sleepy) performer who unconventionally stepped into the Beyond Wrestling main event spotlight and paradoxically achieved lazy glory: “Freshly Squeezed” Orange Cassidy.

Orange Cassidy has been around for years, probably most famously as part of Chuck Taylor’s Gentleman’s Club faction. If you’re not familiar with Orange Cassidy, well… hmm, he’s a bit ridiculous to explain on paper: he kind of wrestles by pretending he’s not wrestling. The style is a mix of Raven’s early WCW run, with notes of Wacky Wrestling Hall of Famer Goldust, hints of early ECW Mikey Whipwreck and a few drops of Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master. To understand, it’s best to just see for yourself, so here is textbook example of Orange Cassidy’s style in a match against Marko Stunt from Beyond in 2018:

On display there were the two brilliant sides of Cassidy. The lethargic hands-in-his-pockets wrestler avoiding all attempts at energetic or traditional wrestling. On the other hand, you also see the cunning snap to momentary technical brilliance where he can seemingly end the match in a flash, almost by accident. Along the way, you can feel his mood as both a lazy guy who doesn’t care if he wins, and an arrogant savant who thinks he can beat anyone, anytime.

When talking about wacky indie wrestling, there are few better to measure yourself against than Colt Cabana, and here’s a Beyond match from 2018 where Orange Cassidy once again applies his classic lazy strategy while drinking a beer that he proudly tries not to spill.

What truly made 2018 the year of Orange Cassidy specifically in Beyond Wrestling, is because this feels like the only promotion that would give Cassidy a main event level run. If you look for the various Orange Cassidy matches online you’ll find mostly short clips of his antics in tag matches or gimmick matches, however at the end of 2018 he had a match with Beyond Wrestling’s “ace”, the no-nonsense David Starr. At stake in this match was the #1 Contendership for the Independent Wrestling Championship, an inter-promotional title that is sometimes defended in Beyond, and was held by Tracy Williams at the time.

In the beginning, just waiting for Orange Cassidy take his hands out of his pockets feels like a high spot unto itself, and this was followed up by his now signature display of “strikes”. Unsurprisingly unfazed, David unloads with a flurry of traditional strikes, and as pointed out by legit-sounding tough guy Eddie Kingston on commentary, when a wrester is often the victim of such an attack they will usually fight back. Cassidy just takes the beating, looking as mismatched as Spike Dudley was against Mike Awesome in ECW, and one could only assume that this one-note gimmick wrestler is here just as a spectacular rag doll for an explosive offensive display by marquee Beyond “ace” David Starr.

Then around the midpoint of the match, Cassidy unleashes a series of real punches, chops and forearms in direct contrast to the tongue-in-cheek set he softly threw at the start of the match. From there, Cassidy shows the effort of a regular indie wrestler, until this incurs the wrath of a vicious Starr who ran out of patience for mind games and unloads a series of savage attacks on the outside, and some gruesome submissions in the ring, signalling what most would assume is the end of the match. Cassidy endures, showing the wrestling acumen that always lays just beneath the surface, and breaks out a full-speed Canadian destroyer, a Kurt Angle-esque ankle-lock, and a technically precise cradle for the shocking win.

And what happened next? Well, in one of the last matches of 2018, Orange Cassidy put on another fantastically odd epic against the champion he’d earned a shot at, Tracy Williams, and walked out with the Independent title, which he has already defended twice in different promotions this year. No doubt, Orange Cassidy likely plays into the plans of Beyond Wrestling’s 2019, they’d be crazy not to capitalize on a wrestler this wacky as they embark on their upcoming foray into weekly live streaming television in April.

So, I mean, let’s salute 2018’s Wacky Wrestler of the Year in the only way one properly could by not finishing the…