A threat of bodily harm. An uppercut to America’s institutional flaws. Insults fired off like a pistol in an alley at midnight. Charisma dripping from every word. All this makes up the framework of the stories Anthony Ogogo tells on a microphone.
The Suffolk native with 11 professional boxing wins to his name is a stranger to this world. He’s only been wrestling for AEW since April. He’s got a grand total of three matches on his CV. He’s a boxer still in transition, a rookie, unproven.
It’s hard to fathom then just how damn good he already is at the hardest part of this crazy sport.
Scores of pro athletes have learned to run the ropes and twist on a good headlock, but so often a deficit in “it” factor prevented them from becoming anything special. The WWE Performance Center is packed with tremendous athletes who won’t ever make it to the main roster.
The thing is, no amount of promo classes can teach presence. No amount of training can make someone look and feel and sound like a star.
That’s the asset Ogogo has possessed from day one.
In a recent interview in a Road to AEW Dynamite video, the boxer-turned-wrestler told us of how his umbilical cord choked him during his birth, of ligaments he’s torn, of injuries from the fight game that left him blind in his left eye. At every stage and faced with these struggles, he kept pushing on.
“They say sharks were born swimming; I was born fighting,” he explained.
As fascinating as his backstory is, it’s his delivery that really catches the eye. Ogogo is smooth. He is believable, captivating, making this whole promo thing look effortless.
We saw more of that on display when he sat down with AEW interview Lexy Nair who asked a serious of light-hearted questions like what’s the first thing he thought of in the morning. In many cases, a back-and-forth like this would have been a throwaway clip.
Ogogo shone here, though.
He had a quip for every question. The Brit showed off Conor McGregor-esque swagger. Ogogo turned plenty of what Nair threw at him into opportunities to showcase his sadism. His answer to “What’s your favorite sound?” is as unsettling as it is memorable.
“When you hit someone with a body shot and you can hear their rib break beneath your hands and hear them go ‘ugh,’” he said. “That sound. That’s porn for me.”
His true verbal haymaker, though, came when he and stablemate QT Marshall spoke on a recent edition of AEW Dark Elevation.
The promo begins with some standard cheap heat: a shot at Jacksonville and the South. Then suddenly he shifts from cookie-cutter trash talk to a truth-heavy speech about America’s insurance and immigration woes. The villain hits a one-two combo on Cody Rhodes and American pride.
“I hate this place because it values money over life,” he growls. “That’s the America you people are proud of. And Cody Rhodes is the epitome of that.”
It’s when Ogogo gets threatening that he thrives. His words don’t sound like they came off the pages of a script. He is cold and callous, a scary individual intent on doing harm.
“You have never faced anyone like me,” he says. “I am the great Britain. I am the hardest bastard you’ve ever set eyes on.”
Plus, 1000 points awarded for his use of “piss boy” here.
Ogogo feels like the headline attraction standing there alongside the other members of The Factory. Marshall is the far more experienced wrestler, but the eye test says the newcomer is one to watch.
Any good talent scout is going to check off every box when looking at The Guv’nor. Start with his background in Olympic boxing. Throw in him being strikingly handsome. Note his TV-ready physique. Then take in how comfortable he is on the mic early on, how much star power he already wields. Now we just have to see if he has the ring chops to match his intangibles.
At the Double or Nothing pay-per-view on May 30, Ogogo will get his first real chance to show those off. He faces Rhodes in what promises to be a coming-out party for the next big thing.
Sure, Ogogo’s going to have some growing to do bell-to-bell, but someone so skilled on the mic, someone who has taken to the squared circle as quickly as he has is bound to find a cozy spot high on the AEW pecking order.
Believe him when he says he’s going to leave someone a bloody mess. Believe him when he says, “I’m here to dominate, to knock people out, and to take over.”