At Double or Nothing 2021 back in May, Cody Rhodes defeated Olympic Boxer Anthony Ogogo. Ogogo made the move to wrestling after retiring from boxing, choosing AEW as his new home. He was trained at the Nightmare Factory, but split off into the faction “The Factory” with QT Marshall, Nick Comoroto and Aaron Solo. This led to a feud with Cody Rhodes, pitting the current TNT Champion against the rookie wrestler with a devastating punch.
The feud between the two, however, did not go down well. It quickly turned into an “America vs foreign country” feud, which had become a cliché in wrestling. People were tired of seeing someone being attacked for their country of origin. With Ogogo being British with Nigerian descent, the feud was muddled and made both wrestlers look very unlikable.
Clad in an American flag, with his awful logo tattooed on his neck, taking on his father’s moniker of “The American Dream”, Cody Rhodes could not look more like a caricature of a American nationalist. He rambled on about racism in America, how much progress had been done in years and how his wife Brandi, who is black, was giving birth to their child, a mixed raced baby.
Cody explaining the concept of racism in America to a mixed race British-Nigerian seemed incredibly tone deaf. Not that Cody cannot speak about racism, but the way that Cody laid it out was that because America wasn’t as racist as before, everything was fine. Also, that having a mixed raced baby made him an expert on racism. It was incredibly tone deaf and in the current climate, turned a lot of people off the feud and Cody.
In a recent interview with Brandon Walker on the Barstool Rasslin’ podcast, Cody Rhodes admitted that regretted “almost everything” about the feud and can see why people called it “tone-deaf”.
“I can, on record, just go ahead and say [that] I regret almost everything about the Anthony Ogogo angle. Almost everything about it. I’m good now and comfortable now. Anthony is a former Olympian, he’s definitely someone who’s a developmental talent who’s going to be — We’re training him and we recruited him and we’re bringing him up through the ranks.”
“What ultimately — I’ve never gone on record saying this, but this is the perfect time. I stood by what I said in the promo. I stood by it because I thought the content was good and I thought the intentions were good. However, a white guy talking about race relations, who has an American flag tattoo on his neck, I can see why people would use the terms ‘tone-deaf’ when it came to that.
“Then trying to defend it and all — Just again, intentions were good and sincere and I was so excited about Brandi and the baby but it just — That should have just been one where I went out and almost just winged it.”