American Nightmare’s AEW career low point
Cody Rhodes’ the time spent in AEW was extremely important, even if it ended in the worst possible way. Fans who once adored him had turned on him, booing him out of the arena every time he was there. Some fans may wonder how the company’s most popular babyface at one time suffered from such a decline. It was a combination of a few factors, though his feud with Anthony Ogogo was perhaps the biggest. This rivalry marked perhaps the worst part of his time in AEW, and this would lead to a chain of events that likely contributed to his departure.
Anthony Ogogo looked like a star in the making
It had been noted that Cody Rhodes, along with QT Marshall, was a key person in training a selection of “Nightmare Factory” wrestlers, including Lee Johnson, Brock Anderson, and more. However, during an episode of Dynamite, there was something of a coup, which saw QT Marshall part ways with a group of rookies, posing as “The Factory”. They attacked and ambushed Rhodes and a selection of other trainees. Someone who partnered with QT Marshall is Anthony Ogogo.
Ogogo had been signed to AEW for a while, but this was his first exposure. The former Olympic medalist had a striking look, although it was unclear how much of a professional wrestler he was. It quickly became clear that he had a unique presence and a strong gimmick, playing to his boxing background, which added to his work in the ring. For all intents and purposes, it looked like AEW had someone with the potential to be a star on their hands. Although Marshall is the leader of The Factory, it was Ogogo who was introduced as the star, and it was he who rivaled Rhodes.
AEW turned Cody Rhodes vs Anthony Ogogo into USA vs UK
At first, the feud looked promising, with Ogogo being built as a massive force to be reckoned with. He held himself well on the microphone and his matches were short but effective. However, he then started touring the United States and it slowly became clear what this feud was all about. Initially, it felt like the goal of the rivalry was to create a whole new star and make Ogogo a potential future champion, but instead it was yet another tired example of the American heel trope. against overused foreigner, as Ogogo is from Britain.
Rhodes came out and cut rallying patriotic promos, addressing topics such as racism and freedom. Maybe in the ’80s patriotism would have worked, but in 2021 fans could see through this clear attempt at appeasement, and the majority of viewers weren’t buying it. AEW had promised to be something different from the norm, but for the most part it felt like a very “WWE” feud. Unfortunately for Rhodes, her babyface persona didn’t come across as likable due to the fact that it all felt forced.
Cody Rhodes’ AEW Downfall Started With This Rivalry
One of the worst parts of this feud was the weigh-in, in which the scales didn’t work, leaving the whole segment feeling awkward and sloppy. To make matters worse, Rhodes showed up with ten times as many people on his side in Ogogo. Rhodes should have felt like the underdog, instead he was presented as the established star who had more supporters than Ogogo. This made Ogogo look like the underdog, which is definitely not what was expected given the face and heel dynamics.
The rivalry was a mess, but fans held out hope for the one chance that Ogogo might have won his PPV bout at Double or Nothing, or at least looked strong in the loss. Instead, Ogogo’s punch, which had knocked every opponent down so far, was treated like any other move, with Rhodes kicking and overcoming it. . Their match ended up being very basic with Rhodes overcoming the heel to emerge victorious and win the match, ending their feud and destroying Ogogo’s aura and momentum.
Rhodes may have continued to get more and more boos over time, which led to an ugly few months as he did his best to get the public on his side, but during this feud, something worse happened – the indifference of the crowd. At least during his feuds with Malakai Black, Andrade El Idolo and Sammy Guevara, he received the biggest boos from anyone, but during this feud, the fans didn’t really cheer or boo. It was a major low point for Rhodes, whose last year in AEW turned out to be disappointing and messy for the most part, which is a shame considering his pivotal role in creating the entire company.