PAC and Orange Cassidy are the best rivalry in pro wrestling right now

Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. Steve Austin and The Rock. John Cena and Randy Orton. Vince McMahon and basic human decency. Pro wrestling as a medium thrives on building big money rivalries, the kind of titanic clash between opposing forces where you simply have to buy pay-per-view to see who emerges victorious. Amidst all the pro wrestling going on today, amidst all the white-hot feuds at all the major wrestling companies, one couple has stood out in recent years: AEW’s ongoing rivalry between the slacker and the slacker. Orange Cassidy and the brooding brutal PAC. From their iconic clash at Revolution 2020, to their AEW World Championship triple threat match against Kenny Omega, to their Grand Slam All-Atlantic Championship match earlier this week, these two have proven in no time to be chocolate. and- peanut butter pairing.

First, we have the so-called King of Lazy Style, Orange Cassidy. Dressed in faded jeans and a faded jean jacket, with a pair of aviator sunglasses covering his eyes, Orange Cassidy is an oddity at first glance: a professional wrestler who doesn’t seem to care about professional wrestling. It’s not that he hates his job: Orange Cassidy doesn’t seem to mind at all. He is listed as coming from “Wherever” and weighing “whatever”. His theme song used to be “Where Is My Mind” by the Pixies, highlighting his too-cool-for-school and exaggerated attitude. Now, he steps into the ring to Jefferson Starship’s “Jane,” also known as the Wet Hot American Summer song. His signature pose is a half thumbs up. On the indies, Orange Cassidy’s sunglasses were worn to indicate that he was struggling with a hangover and trying to keep his cool. Over time, this hack went from being squeezy to being lazier in general.

In the ring, Cassidy is lazy as a fox: his minimal-effort appearance and disrespectful pose, hands shoved defiantly into his pockets, lull opponents into a false sense of security, as is his signature move of delivering a flurry of small, slow blows. , silly kicks to the shins of his foe (which the crowd, of course, treats as if witnessing a live execution). Cassidy, more than any other fighter working today, builds his moveset on counters. While other fighters open up hard and focus on maintaining control in matches, Cassidy plays possum and waits for his opponents to be exposed. Cassidy wins with his reactions, quick dodges, and nimble redirections of his enemies’ offense. For Orange Cassidy, the way to win is to let your enemies do all the hard work and beat them up when they make mistakes.

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Source: AEW

PAC, on the other hand, is everybody assault. The former Neville left WWE on bad terms, after feeling disrespected as Cruiserweight Champion. When he showed up again in the indies and eventually in AEW, the renamed PAC was billed as “Bastard” and he went to great lengths to convince us that he earned this nickname. His violence and his disdain for his competitors was a sight to behold: PAC didn’t want to win his matches, he wanted to finish off his competitors.

He beat Kenny Omega at All Out in 2019, a shocking turn of events for someone who appeared to be the young promotion’s favorite son at the time. PAC was on a mission in AEW, and that mission was one of brutality and pain. He joined fellow fliers Fenix ​​and Pentagon Jr. to form Death Triangle, and although he had to disappear from television for a while due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PAC’s comeback continued to drive him and his clear desire not only to be respected. but feared.

In the introduction to this article I called PAC a tryhard, that’s not an insult. He’s not as flashy as to bend credulity like some other fighters who might be called Will Ospreay, but everything PAC does in the ring is dripping. effort. His somersaults have gravity, as if you could see every muscle straining to propel him forward. His submission grab, the Brutalizer, lives up to its name, and PAC’s perpetual frown also helps sell the damage being dealt. PAC is a commitment to how everything he does, he does with maximum effort, not to brag, but to get the job done.

Source: AEW

PAC and Orange Cassidy’s first matchup in AEW was at Revolution 2020, with no titles at stake. PAC was simply offended by the antics of Orange Cassidy and those of his teammates Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta (called best friends, because they are best friends). In the build up to the match, Chuck triumphantly brags about how badly PAC has misstep by challenging Orange Cassidy. Chuck states that “this time…[Orange Cassidy] going to try!” It’s an off the cuff line that says a lot about Orange Cassidy as a character: It’s not that he can’t go leather-crazy like his competitors, it’s just that he doesn’t want to. If he can be successful and win matches with his current level investment, why bother doing more?

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In the match itself, the emerging story becomes a relentless PAC offensive pushing Orange Cassidy to dig in and really try, while at the same time Cassidy’s unrelenting focus and unpredictable pace grows ever deeper. under PAC’s skin. As the match progresses, Orange Cassidy pummels PAC with several quality counters and while PAC eventually gets the pin, the crowd reaction and vocal support for Cassidy makes it clear that there were no real losers in this match.

Not long after Revolution, the pandemic began. While PAC is stuck crossing the ocean, Orange Cassidy fights Chris Jericho and emerges victorious, his star is undoubtedly on the rise within AEW. The next time the two men meet in a ring, they won’t be alone: ​​Both will challenge AEW World Champion Kenny Omega, now an evil villain himself who deploys the Young Bucks and Don Callis as his minions whenever he has a chance. the opportunity.

The fight feels like a foregone conclusion at the time, it’s too soon for final boss Kenny Omega to lose his title, but still, from bell to bell, the three men make it look like anything could happen. Cassidy’s opportunistic style excels in a triple threat, where he can capitalize on the other two men’s offense and minimize his own risk. He and PAC have brief moments of synergy, working together against Omega before inevitably turning against each other. While Omega lives to fight another day as champion, both PAC and Cassidy leave this match having proven to the world that while they are not yet world champions, both men easily have the guts and guts to hold the big belt one day.

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This brings us to this week’s Dynamite, where Orange Cassidy challenged PAC for the All-Atlantic Championship. PAC is the inaugural holder of this championship, while also currently being one of the Trio Tag Champions with his friends in Death Triangle. 2022 has been kind to the bastard. Once again they collide, and once again PAC emerges victorious, but there is definitely something different about this fight. The familiarity between these two men means they know each other’s tricks – the result is the shortest match of the three listed here, and the one in which both men rely the most to counter each other. PAC still can’t accept every time Cassidy gets hit, and Orange still struggles to survive the endless brute force hitting him. For now, PAC remains victorious, but multiple close calls remind him of the danger of underestimating his opponent. The next time they meet, Cassidy might finally have PAC’s number.

Despite having met in the ring only a handful of times, PAC and Orange Cassidy clearly have the secret to an all-time rivalry. The enmity between them goes beyond mutual antipathy, beyond scathing promotions and verbal confrontations. These two men are diametrically opposed in every fabric of their being: their in-ring attire, their in-ring style, even the attitudes they have with their allies (Best Friends vs. Death Triangle, the analysis isn’t hard to parse). .

Orange Cassidy represents both a smarter, not harder, work mentality, as well as a modern frustration with having to push yourself day in and day out. Who among us has not wanted to wear sunglasses and take a nap in broad daylight in our daily jobs? PAC, on the other hand, is the untamed power of the human will, a crazed animal that refuses to be tamed. Cunning rebellion versus overt hostility. Every time they met in the ring, they worked magic and hopefully will keep the fire burning for each other for years to come.

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