October 22, 2021

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Anthony Ogogo vs Cody Rhodes – The Problem with Nationalism in Wrestling

Anthony Ogogo vs Cody Rhodes

Anthony Ogogo vs Cody Rhodes

Anthony Ogogo vs Cody Rhodes on May 30th at Double or Nothing. Click here to see the breakdown of the card.

An Olympian Named Anthony

The year is 2012. The sun shines on a content nation, as the medals fly in for Team GB and we watch our nations superstars conquer all in the London 2012 Olympics. A boxer named Anthony wins the gold medal in the Super Heavyweight category. He became a house hold name and a star worldwide.

His name is Anthony Joshua.

However, a bronze medallist in the middleweight division would also become well known in his home country, and eventually America. That man’s name was also Anthony – AEW’s Anthony Ogogo.

Agogo Elite Wrestling

Ogogo made his AEW debut not in the ring, but as a commentator. While he trained with ‘The Nightmare Factory’, AEW’s own wrestling school, Ogogo made frequent appearances on alongside Taz and Excalibur on AEW Dark, providing his own unique insight on the show, as well as learning from two great commentators on the job.

Agogo seemed nervous and quiet at first, but soon grew into his role and began to show his charisma on the microphone. His banter back and forth with Taz was entertaining, and he gave great insight into his life as both a boxer and a wrestler.

Debut

Ogogo made his in ring debut on the 14th April 2021. He wrestled his first televised match on AEW Dynamite, AEW’s flagship programme, facing off against fellow trainee wrestler Cole Karter. They wrestled in a short match, which Ogogo won by referee stoppage. In a rare finish for wrestling, he hit a big punch to the gut which left Karter gasping for air. The referee stopped the match right there, and Ogogo claimed the victory.

Ogogo looked good in his victory, showing his charisma as he swaggered out to the ring in his ‘Peaky Blinders’ inspired theme song, introduced as ‘The Guvnor’. His win via stoppage showed how AEW are focusing on his background as a Boxing Olympian, despite being forced to retire from the sport due to vision issues. Ogogo is registered blind in his left eye, and banned from driving as a consequence.

Watch Ogogo square off with Cole Karter

Cody Rhodes

Ogogo has entered into a feud with Cody Rhodes. The American Nightmare is one of the most popular men on the AEW Roster, so a match with him as his first big feature is a huge one of the former Olympian. Ogogo aligned himself with Rhodes former friend, QT Marshall, who also helped train him. Marshall took part in an exhibition match with Rhodes, but had his students including Ogogo and caveman-looking wrestler Nick Comoroto attack Rhodes and his family, including brother Dustin. Dustin was known as ‘Goldust’ during a nearly 20 year spell in the WWE.

Ogogo again utilised his big body shots, attack Cody with a punch that left him reeling. Ogogo is looking like a big star in this feud, and they have a match set for May 30th, at AEW Double or Nothing. Cody has previous working big matches against stars like Chris Jericho, Brodie Lee and MJF, so it will be interesting to see him work with someone as inexperienced as Ogogo. Anthony Ogogo vs Cody Rhodes at Double or Nothing 2021

The Problem with the American Dream

This feud has so far been set up as a clear good guy vs bad guy. Ogogo has attacked Cody as often as he can, goading him about his family and lack of success, and has generally been a bad guy.

However, all that changed on Dyanmite on May 12th 2021.

Cody Rhodes stood in the ring with a microphone in his hand. “Our empathy outweighs our anger,” Cody said moments after deriding Agogo for apparently taking advantage of American freedoms while being here on a visa. “You didn’t come here to live the ‘England Dream.’. This tone deafness made Cody look like a xenophobic person more than anything, and made Anthony Ogogo vs Cody Rhodes an awkward match to look forward too.

Ogogo staring down at Austin Gunn

He then went on to talk about how America is great now compared to segregation in the 60s, and that as someone who has a black wife and a mixed race baby, he is the embodiment of the American Dream.

Bragging about being only 60 years on from segregation is not something to be proud of, Cody. It is a requirement for any society to not subject another race to such abhorrent circumstances just for the colour of their skin. And to claim that your mixed race baby absolved America of it’s crimes, especially in recent times with Black Lives Matter in the forefront of the public conscience, is tone deaf to say the least and dishonest at it’s worse.

There is nothing wrong with showing pride in ones country. And Ogogo is the one who brought his country into it first, draping the Union Jack over Cody’s limp, lifeless body. But once you start saying you are better than someone BECAUSE of where you are from, that becomes bigotry. And deifying yourself because of your mixed race daughter, when your opponent is mixed raced themselves, just makes no sense.

Rather than pointing of the success of America, or the way it has achieved things, he labels why he is better just for being American.

Ogogo even points out certain flaws in America, whilst not attacking the people who enjoy it’s benefits

“Let me be real for a second, ok? I hate this place because it values money, more than it does life. People are left to rot and die on the streets of American because they cannot afford healthcare. That is unfair. Right now, in this great country, there are a thousand kids trapped in cages that have been taken away from their parents, and that is unfair. That’s the America you people are proud of and Cody Rhodes is the epitome of that.”

Anthony Agogo

It’s a heel promo. He’s running down the country. But it’s all true. And he’s right, Cody Rhodes, in his promo, is the epitome of that.

The problem with such nationalism in wrestling is that it creates an ‘Us vs Them’ mentality. People from America see anyone foreign as the bad guy, as they don’t conform to American idealism. While Ogogo IS the bad guy, it’s not because he is British. It’s because he attack Cody. It has nothing to do with his nationality, just as Cody is not the bad guy for being American. Nationality shouldn’t play a part, it should be about the actions. Ogogo betrayed Cody by attacking him with his friend, QT Marshall, but this has seemed like an afterthought.

Double or Nothing

Do I want Ogogo to beat Cody Rhodes on May 30th, at AEW Double or Nothing.

Absolutely. Ogogo is the face here, not Cody.

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