Since launching in January 2019, All Elite Wrestling (AEW) has become one of the best wrestling promotions worldwide and Orange Cassidy has become one of AEW’s shining stars.
Known for his lackadaisical demeanor, Cassidy has repeatedly stolen the show with an underdog spirit and comedic timing. More importantly, he’s become a fan favorite, often getting the biggest response in any arena he steps into. But who is the man behind the RayBan shades? Well here are the essential Orange Cassidy facts.
His Real Name is James Cipperly
It may come as no surprise that Orange Cassidy isn’t his real name. He was born James Cipperly and grew up in Stewartsville, New Jersey. He attended Phillipsburg High School, where he graduated from in 2002.
He’s not the only wrestling alumni from Phillipsburg High School. Retired wrestler, Don Clyde “DC” Drake, also studied there.
While actress, screenwriter, and producer, Jen Ponton graduated in the same year as Cipperly. She would go on to make appearances in shows such as Orange Is the New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Dietland.
Cassidy Began Wrestling in 2004
After leaving Phillipsburg, Cipperly would begin training to become a professional wrestler. His trainers were Bryan Wenzel, Chris Hero (aka Kassius Ohno), and Mike Quackenbush. Cipperly trained alongside Drew and Rory Gulak and the late Danny Havoc at the Chikara Wrestle Factory in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The school launched in 2002 after Quackenbush and “Reckless Youth” Tom Carter launched a new wrestling promotion called Chikara. All Elite Wrestling’s (AEW) Eddie Kingston and Bryce Remsburg, and World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) Cesaro and Lince Dorado are just some of the names who trained at The Wrestle Factory.
His First Wrestling Name was JC Ryder
James Cipperly’s early matches saw him wrestle under the name JC Ryder. Throughout 2004, he would team up with Danny Rage as part of ‘The New Jersey Independent All-Stars’, mainly wrestling for Ground Breaking Wrestling (GBW) throughout Pennsylvania, and Eastern Wrestling Alliance in Baltimore, Maryland.
In early 2005, Ryder and Rage won their first titles, beating Xtreme Pandemonium (Apollo Cruz & Buster Maccabi) to become GBW Tag Team champions. Cipperly would also make his debut in Chikara at the Tag World Grand Prix, teaming up with Anthony Franco, Lucky, and Matt Turner. They defeated the tandem of BJ and The Bear (Beef Wellington & The Bear) and Team FIST (Gran Akuma & Icarus).
Orange Cassidy was in a Tag Team With WWE’s Drew Gulak
Having trained together at the Chikara Wrestle Factory, Orange Cassidy and Drew Gulak would become regulars for Chikara from 2006 onwards. Debuting as luchador enmascarado’s, Cassidy and Gulak would wear masks to be respectively become Fire Ant and Soldier Ant.
The duo would go on to form a stable called The Colony. They would be joined by Worker Ant, and later Green Ant (who would become Silver Ant), Carpenter Ant, Worker Ant II, and Worker Ant III.
As Fire Ant, Cipperly won the Chikara Campeonatos de Parejas (Chikara Tag Team championship) with Gulak. They also won the 2008 Chikara Tag World Grand Prix.
He’s Been Performing as Orange Cassidy Since 2007
Although Chikara was his main home throughout the late 2000s and 2010s, Cipperly would continue to wrestle for other promotions. However, in the summer of 2007, he would begin using the name we all now know him by – Orange Cassidy.
Cassidy would often team up with members of The New Jersey Independent All-Stars, especially his long-term tag partner Danny Rage.
For the remainder of 2007, he would test the waters using the Orange Cassidy name as he occasionally reverted back to his old name, JC Ryder. Nevertheless, by the new year, Cipperly would wrestle only as Fire Ant or as Orange Cassidy.
Orange Cassidy and AEW’s Chuck Taylor Were Part of a Group Called Gentleman’s Club
For many fans of All Elite Wrestling, we’re used to seeing Cassidy accompany the ‘Best Friends’ pairing of Chuck Taylor and Trent. However, Cassidy and Taylor’s history together goes back much further than AEW’s origins.
Like Cassidy, Chuck Taylor was a regular at Chikara, often taking on The Colony as part of Team FIST. More notably, from 2012 onwards Cassidy and Taylor, along with Drew Gulak, would form a group known as the Gentleman’s Club.
The trio first appeared in Evolve in a losing effort against IMPACT’s Rich Swann and future AEW rivals The Super Smash Brothers (Player Dos & Player Uno), now better known as the Dark Order’s Stu Grayson and Evil Uno.
The Gentleman’s Club would go on to appear at several independent promotions including Dragon Gate USA, Beyond, Forza Lucha!, Grand Slam Wrestling, and unsurprisingly, Chikara.
AEW Founder Tony Khan Has Cosplayed as Orange Cassidy
With an attire made up of sunglasses, a denim jacket, a white t-shirt, jeans, and trainers, it’s no surprise that Cassidy’s look has been replicated by many. From fans to fellow wrestlers (AEW’s Leva “The Librarian” Bates dressed up as Cassidy at a WrestleCircus show in June 2019), many have cosplayed as Orange Cassidy.
Perhaps the most notable person to copy Cassidy’s recognizable look is AEW founder, co-owner, and CEO Tony Khan. In October 2019, Khan was in the Halloween spirit and decided to pay tribute to Cassidy by dressing up as him.
“It’s awkward when you run into the celebrity you’re dressed as for Halloween,” said Khan on his Instagram.
An Orange Cassidy Action Figure is Coming Out
It’s no surprise that the fast rise of AEW has led to an abundance of merchandising opportunities for the upstart promotion. Besides the wealth of t-shirts available, this past summer saw the first wave of AEW action figures be released.
Developed by Jazwares, the ‘AEW Unrivalled’ collection has so far seen just a handful of AEW stars have their own action figure. While fans have been able to get their hands on names such as Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega, the Young Bucks, and Cody, an Orange Cassidy figure has yet to be released.
However that is about to change. In the summer of 2020, Cassidy was announced as part of the third wave of ‘AEW Unrivalled’ figures. The third series of figures will also feature PAC and Darby Allin. The figures will be released in 2021.
He’s Been Included in the PWI 500 for the Past Two Years
Since 1991, Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) magazine has published an annual list of the top 500 wrestlers in the world. Every year the list features many Hall of Famers, legends, champions, and up-and-coming names.
So it is no surprise that Orange Cassidy’s rise in recent years has seen him be featured on the PWI 500 in 2019 and 2020. If you followed his work on the independent wrestling scene from 2018 onwards, then you will know his inclusion is justified.
Appearing on a host of promotions throughout the North-West of America including Game Changer Wrestling (GCW), and Beyond, Cassidy’s notoriety on the independences led him to landing a modest position of 224 in 2019.
The emergence of AEW and his growing presence on Dynamite in late 2019 and early 2020, saw “Freshly Squeezed” break the top 100 earlier this year. He was ranked at number 84, beating familiar names such as WWE’s The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, and John Morrison.
Orange Cassidy’s AEW Debut at Double or Nothing 2019
While we all know and now love Orange Cassidy in AEW, his debut in the promotion was considerably subtle.
Double or Nothing 2019 was AEW’s first-ever show. However before the main show started, there was the Casino Battle Royale on the ‘Buy-In’ show. Unlike regular battle royals or WWE’s Royal Rumble match, the Casino Battle Royale saw wrestlers entering the match in groups of five. The four groups of five were drawn based on the suit they drew from a deck of cards – spades, diamonds, clubs, or hearts. While a 21st entrant is the person who drew the joker card.
In May 2019, Cassidy found himself in the pack of spades, the last of the four to enter before the joker. While the likes of Luchasaurus, Marko Stunt and Sonny Kiss quickly entered the ring, Cassidy subtly rolled into the ring before delivering some “devastating” kicks to ECW legend Tommy Dreamer. Dreamer did not react to the kicks and eliminated “Freshly Squeezed”.
He Has Been Compared to Ryan Gosling’s Character in Drive
With his cool and carefree demeanor, Cassidy’s emergence on the wrestling scene has seen the character be compared to Ryan Gosling’s lead role in Drive.
Known simply as ‘The Driver,’ Gosling plays an inexorably cool character in the 2011 acclaimed film.
While Cassidy’s ring name precedes the film, it’s clear the look has influenced Cipperly in developing the Orange Cassidy character. When combined with a comedic wrestling twist, Cassidy’s persona is aloof and laid back.
Many of us have found him entertaining, but it’s no surprise that Cassidy is a polarising character. Amongst them is legendary wrestling personality, Jim Cornette, who has regularly criticized Cassidy on his podcast.
In an interview with ESPN, Cassidy said “my character is a giant middle finger to professional wrestling”. However, many fans have given Orange a half-hearted thumbs up.
His First Match on Dynamite was a 6-Man Tag
The past 12 months have seen Cassidy’s reputation continue to rise, but for some, his debut on AEW’s weekly TV show, Dynamite, is pretty unremarkable.
Taking place on its fifth episode, on October 30th, 2019 at the Coliseum in Charleston, West Virginia, Orange Cassidy joined ‘Best Friends’ (Chuck Taylor and Trent) to take on QT Marshall and future Dark Order members John Silver and Alex Reynolds.
Coinciding with the launch of new episodes of the adult cartoon, Rick and Morty, on TNT-affiliated network Adult Swim, the trio dressed up as the two titular characters. The “intergalactic crossover” also saw them be introduced to the ring by the pair.
Cassidy’s involvement in the match saw him deliver kicks to Marshall, before performing a dive through the ropes on to Marshall and Reynolds. And as you’d expect, he did it all with his hands in his pockets. Best Friends and Cassidy won the match in just over three minutes.
Orange Cassidy Has Defeated Chris Jericho Twice
Without a doubt, Chris Jericho is a wrestling legend. Both in and outside of the ring, he has achieved so much. However, one thing you’re unlikely to see the ‘Le Champion’ boast about is the fact that he has lost to Orange Cassidy… twice.
In the summer of 2020, Jericho and his group, The Inner Circle, attacked Cassidy backstage on Dynamite. The next week, Cassidy got his revenge, dressing up as a cameraman, and helping Taylor and Trent defeat Jericho and Sammy Guevara.
At Fyter Fest, Jericho defeated Cassidy and would refuse to give him a rematch. Cassidy would get his pay back by dumping gallons of orange juice on to The Inner Circle, thus being granted a rematch.
On August 12th, 2020, Cassidy beat Jericho for the first time with a mousetrap pin. A furious Jericho challenged Orange to a “Mimosa Mayhem” match at September’s All Out event. Again, Cassidy would be victorious after delivering two orange (superman) punches to Jericho to send him falling into an 80-gallon vat of mimosa.
He’s Tried to Win the AEW TNT Title Three Times
Following on from his feud with Chris Jericho, Cassidy’s attention turned to the AEW TNT Championship. In late September 2020, he faced then-champion, Mr. Brodie Lee. Even though Cassidy put in a spirited, underdog display, it would prove to be an unsuccessful outing.
The aftermath saw a returning Cody (Rhodes) attack Lee and the Dark Order. In the weeks that following, Cody would win back the TNT title with Cassidy being the first to challenge for it.
Again Cassidy showed plenty of determination, taking Cody to a time-limit draw on October 14th. A rematch two weeks later saw numerous AEW wrestlers appear as lumberjacks around the ring to prevent the Dark Order from interfering. Nevertheless, John Silver would get involved, leading to Cody getting a victory over Cassidy.
He Lives With Chuck Taylor
Having been rivals and tag partners for many years, it’s no surprise that when he’s not out on the road or doing “whatever,” Orange Cassidy and Chuck Taylor live together.
In an interview with WrestlingINC, Cassidy (while in character) said his biggest pet peeve of Chuck is “him” before saying “he’s fine”.
Loves The Fast and The Furious Movies
Despite the comparisons and influence of ‘Drive,’ Cassidy has spoken (to an extent) of his love for ‘The Fast and The Furious’ movie franchise. He is especially a fan of ‘Fast 5’.
During a press junket at Starrcast in 2019, Cassidy referred to the movie when asked what has inspired him. Although he thought ‘Hobbs & Shaw,’ a 2019 spin-off from the franchise was fine “but not as good as Fast 5’. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is his favorite part of ‘Fast 5’.
And while Cassidy rarely shows emotion, you don’t want to tell him ‘The Fast and The Furious’ movies suck. Just ask RD Evans who did just that at Beyond Wrestling’s Americanrana show in 2019.
He Has a Lazy Website
In a time where having an online presence is vital, it’s no surprise that Cassidy’s approach is laid back. For starters, his official website is very basic to the point where the example text and image are still there, with just links to his online store, social media, and a link to ‘Fast 5’ (of course).
Likewise, his use of social media is almost effortless, literally. Whenever he re-tweets fans dressed as him, or his promoting appearances on Dynamite, Cassidy tweets just a couple of words.
Orange Cassidy is the ESPN Breakout Wrestler of 2020
Despite all of the praise and accolades, Orange Cassidy has received in recent years, one of his biggest achievements to date is being ESPN’s breakout wrestler for 2020.
Announced in the midst of his feud with Chris Jericho this past summer, the American sports media giant showered Cassidy with praise. An article on ESPN’s website credited “Freshly Squeezed” for flipping “the blueprint on its head”, countering the athletic and stunning in-ring moves of his peers with a less is more approach.
By getting the absolute most out of the absolute least, ESPN highlights Cassidy for becoming a crossover star; getting his own TNT commercial, a major merchandise seller, and the enormous crowd reaction he was getting at shows, often getting the loudest response.