Roderick Strong

Roderick Strong Says Facing Orange Cassidy Is A Great Challenge, Talks Keeping AEW Debut A Surprise

Roderick Strong has a lot of respect for Orange Cassidy, but he still wants to take the AEW International Championship from him.

WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard spoke with Strong ahead of his International Championship match against Orange Cassidy at AEW Revolution. Strong said he’s really motivated for his match because of the standard that Orange has set as a champion. Roddy says he’s feeling the pressure, but leaving Revolution with the title would mean a lot to him.

“Well, it’s funny because I was just having a conversation a little bit ago, and it was talking about how in April being like one year that I’ve been there. And I did not expect most of that one year to be character. So I wrestled a lot less than I thought I was going to,” Strong pointed out. “But I’m excited about it because it’s really got me motivated for this match with Orange Cassidy because he’s someone that I have a lot of respect for. And the type of champion and the amount of title defenses, the different style opponents.

“He really has set a standard that I think is hot, and that is what I want to do but on another level. So that’s why that is the title that I wanted to go after because that is the workhorse title, the blue-collar title. Every week you got to go out there and do your thing, and there’s an expectation, and that’s what I want,” he added. “That is the pressure I want, and to have the time to get my feet wet and get comfortable in AEW and then now be able to open it up and have more opportunities to wrestle is big for me.”

A Great Challenge

Roderick Strong knew Orange Cassidy before the latter was in AEW, and praised him for his wrestling prowess. He said his level of respect for Orange makes this match a great challenge.

“I think it makes it special because of the character Orange Cassidy and coming into the mainstream and then being seen and a lot of people not understanding. But I knew him prior to that. And just knowing how fantastic he is in the ring. How great of a mind he has for wrestling, obviously, to create a character like that and to be able to do the things that he’s done. You have to be exceptional, I feel.

“Now the fact that Orange Cassidy is the guy that people think about when it comes to that International Title is mind-blowing to me, but awesome. And I have a ton of respect for him for that. And that’s why it’s such a great challenge for me. Because I do have so much respect for what he’s done with that. So to beat him and to end that would mean a lot to me.”

A Nice Surprise

No one saw Roderick Strong’s AEW debut coming. Strong had been with WWE on the NXT brand, but had not made an on-air appearance since October 2022. His contract expired and he quietly left the company, ultimately showing up in AEW on April 26, 2023.

Strong spoke about pulling off a rare surprise in today’s landscape. He felt bad misleading friends, but noted how nice it was to keep something a secret instead of having it spoiled.

“It was one of those things that I took a little bit after my contract ran up. And before I was, like, cleared. It was one of those things that because it went on for so long. I think some of the people there thought I was gonna just stay. And it got to the point where like, ‘Oh my god, I think I can actually keep this thing a secret.’ And there’s value in that. Just because exactly what you said, and it was like something that, man I felt so bad misleading friends and everything. But it was just something that does not happen very often. So if I can do this at least I can make it feel as important as I want it to, which you usually don’t have that kind of control over it. So it was nice.”

Roderick Strong challenges Orange Cassidy for the AEW International Championship at AEW Revolution on Sunday, March 3. Watch our full interview with Roderick Strong below:

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