Tracy Williams (c) vs Orange Cassidy
Powerbomb.TV Independent Championship
White Eagle Club, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
(reviewed 01/02/2018) Wrestling, at its best, should grab you by your hair and spin you around until you’re out of breath, begging for more. It should leave you dizzy, dazzled, unable to sit still for fear that your heart stops beating, that you ever stop feeling this particular rush. I think this match does that, once it really gets going. Starting with his miraculous win over David Starr, Cassidy’s rise to becoming the most popular man in Beyond Wrestling has been both swift and electrifying. It’s hard not to join in with a hundred odd people chanting “that’s my ace” and not just because it’s a funny thing or because Cassidy is a charming guy, but because it’s fun to believe. And that’s what this match is about, really, what all of the best wrestling is about. You have to believe in something for it to grab you by the hair, for it to get its hooks in you.
For most of this match, the crowd believes, sort of. They chant for their hero. They laugh at his antics, whoop at his little victories. When Hot Sauce beats him down they boo a little or settle into a dissatisfied—but not altogether surprised—silence. They expect him to retain his title, because it would be impossible for a guy like Orange Cassidy—a comedy wrestler, [gasp]—to win a relatively important title. It’s just not what guys like him do.
Thankfully these two toy with that idea. Hot Sauce doesn’t take too kindly to Cassidy’s antics but he plays along for a while, eventually settling down into the hard-nosed serious wrestling he’s known for. Cassidy joins him in it for brief periods of time, hitting a textbook DDT or suplex or fancy dive to let the people know that this is a big boy match and he has to play along for the sake of the title. The folks in attendance ooh and aah but there’s not so much heart in it as their self-indulgent chants.
Then about halfway through there’s this shift.
There’s this moment where Cassidy really lays into the champion and Tracy cuts him off in a very mean way and the crowd lustily boos. It’s not the friendly playing-along of the knowing modern fan but rather the unrepentant jeering of the alienated. This jeering only grows louder as Tracy continues to beat down on their ace, even going so far as clocking him with an illegal right hand. The fun’s over, they think. Time for Tracy to win.
But Cassidy keeps the dream alive. He picks at Tracy’s ankle and gets in a few of his best shots of the match. When Tracy tries to smother him with a pair of quick piledrivers, he’s somehow able to kick out. You can feel the room deflate every time Tracy squirms his way into a hold or hits another signature maneuver, but just as quickly everyone swells with joy again as their ace powers through. Above all this match rewards belief, rewards dreaming the impossible. It’s not just a bunch of drunk New Englanders trying to have a good time on New Year’s, either. This match works just as well on my sorry, cynical ass too. It has me cackling at a comedy wrestler hulking up, has me hooting and hollering just as much as if it was Tatsumi Fujinami standing up to the shitlicker slapping him across the face. By the end I’m just as amazed by this as one of the greatest and most famous matches of all time because these two understand that once you’ve got your hooks in people, you gotta give them the world.
It sounds easy and it should be easy, but so many people miss that most obvious fact. What a match this is for not missing that. What a goddamn match, y’all.