On today’s episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily, Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman sat down with “The Guv’nor” Anthony Ogogo ahead of his Double or Nothing match against “The American Dream” Cody Rhodes. Hausman asked Ogogo about his feud with Rhodes and how some see Ogogo as the babyface because of some of the criticisms he’s made about America in his promos.
“I don’t care. This isn’t my country,” Ogogo pointed out. “I’m just highlighting what I don’t like about this place, how everyone seemly walks around like their sh*t don’t stink. I hate this notion that America is the greatest country in the world. ‘Land of the free’, Utter bullsh*t. Land of the free? That’s where they capture kids and stick them in cages? I’ll be very honest, so recently, this is hand on heart, God’s honest truth, I trained very hard, always have done as a boxer, as wrestler. I work my nuts off, no one else out trains me. That’s a fact.
“I was down about their training, really hot. I was sweating a lot. I felt I would be fine. I don’t really have adverse situations. I’m going to the hospital because I felt like I was going to die. I felt really, really, really severely, not very good at all. For me to go to a hospital and to admit any vulnerability is a big thing. I go to the hospital, and my mom had a brain aneurysm back in 2012, just before the Olympic Games. So I fought through the whole Olympic Games thinking, my mom is going to die, was never going to see her again, and the way I felt in this moment was the exact same way. Thankfully, she survived, and she’s making a great recovery and the way she spoke to me in that moment before she had her brain aneurysm, a blood vessel popped little bit.
“She felt weird for a few moments, for 10 minutes, and then went into a coma for months and had an operation to save her brain, save her life. And in those moments, those 10-minute moments she was in, when she spoke about it was the exact same way I felt when I was up there two weeks ago, and I thought I’m going to… I’m going to die. I thought I’m having a brain aneurysm. I’ve taken a lot of head shots in my boxing career, 18 years boxing, head shots, bumps in wrestling. ‘This is where I go.'”
Ogogo continued as he recalled his reaction to the situation.
“Went to the hospital and did some testing, and they said, ‘We think you’re okay. We think it’s actually severe dehydration. You’ve been working really hard, stress and all this stuff,'” Ogogo said. “I went, ‘I’ve been dehydrated. I’ve spent my life as a middleweight boxer weighing at 160. I always lived my life dehydrated. This is weird.’ Then they’re doing a CT scan, and my insurance wouldn’t cover it because I’ve been in America for too long because my insurance lasts for x amount of days.
“And it won’t last now, and I went, ‘How much is it gonna cost?’ And they went, ‘seven grand.’ I went, ‘Are you sure it’s dehydration?’ They went, ‘We’re pretty sure everything is, fine, your heart, everything’s fine. And we know brain aneurysms, and it’s not that. I thought, ‘now I’m going to spend seven grand on a brain scan that I don’t really need.’
“So I thought, I’m not going to do it. I feel good. I feel healthy. They said, ‘We can’t say for sure, obviously, because we can’t see inside your head, but we’re pretty sure it’s not a brain aneurysm because if it was, you’d be in a bad way by now.’ I left, and I thought, I’ve rolled the dice with my life. I like me. I love me, and I’ve rolled the dice on my life where I can spend seven grand on a CT scan. Seven grand is obviously a lot of money, a lot of money but compared to life, it’s nothing.”
Ogogo spoke more on the differences between the U.S.’s private healthcare system and the UK’s public healthcare system.
“Anybody would spend seven grand to stay alive and then it got me thinking. I thought, that’s really bad,” Ogogo stated. “Where I’m from, in my country, here you are. You earn 100 grand a year. If you’re on the dole, if you’re on welfare, here you are. If you have an adverse reaction, go to hospital, you get the best health care from our amazing NHS for free. Everything, scans, tests, everything for free because nothing is more important than a person’s health and I was angry at myself, angry at this system over here, angry at myself. I’ve got seven grand in my bank.
“I just didn’t want to spend it, but there’s a guaran-damn-tee right now, I’m in Atlanta, but let’s say the whole of America, there’s thousands of people right now that think, I should go to the hospital because I don’t feel very well but can’t really afford it. That shouldn’t be an issue. That shouldn’t be a thing. That should not be a factor, and people in America think that is the fact because in America, that’s the way it’s always been. Any other country, decent, Western, forward-thinking country in the world health comes before money. I’m angry at myself for playing the game. I’m angry at myself for risking my own life when in the end, it was just dehydration, exhaustion, stress and all this other stuff. You’re going through a lot professionally and personally at the minute. It is what it is, but that pissed me off. It pisses me off that this country values — there’s some people out there who won’t get the test done.
“They’ll think it’s dehydration and they’ll drop dead because they didn’t get scanned. If they had a scan, they’d have been saved, or there’s some people out there that have the scan. They have the surgery to save their life. Single mother, single parent household, four kids had surgery, saved life and she has her house repossessed because she can’t afford the repayments. That’s bang out of order. I get it, be proud of where you’re from. I get it. I’m sure there’s some good stuff in this country. I’m yet to see it. I’m sure there is. Be proud of it. I’m proud of Great Britain. I’m proud of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland.
“We’ve done some bad stuff in the past, bad stuff in the medieval days. England has done some bad, bad stuff, but I’m proud of the stuff I’m proud of. I’m not blindly proud. I’m big enough to say that’s not cool. Americans go, ‘America, best country in the world.’ You ain’t the best country in Northern America if you don’t even look after your citizens, if you take kids away from their parents and lock them in cages. I spoke from the heart in that promo, and people liked it and I’m the bad guy. I don’t care if people like me or don’t like me. I’ll feel whatever I feel like. If people want a villain, I’ll be the villain. I don’t care.”
Rhodes gave his perspective on the politically charged feud between he and Ogogo to Nick on yesterday’s Double or Nothing media call. Recently on AEW Dark Ogogo cut a promo that dug deeper into the criticisms he spoke about in this interview. He spoke about his mindset ahead of that promo.
“Life is controversial,” Ogogo noted. “Boxing is a snapshot of life. The things you go through in a boxing match, the ups, the downs, being on top, getting on the defensive, we go through that in life. In the ring, you go through the exact same things in life. Sometimes you’re up, you’re down, you’re left, you’re right. Same as in wrestling. You hit the floor, boom, you don’t want to get back up, but you gotta get back up. Wrestling is a snapshot of life. So in life, there’s controversy. In wrestling, there’s controversy.
“I haven’t been told to say this, say that. I’m not the kind of person you tell what to say. Hand to the heart, God’s honest truth, they said to me, We’ve got a two-minute slot for you to do a promo on Dark: Elevation.’ QT [Marshall] said, ‘What do you want to say?’ I said, ‘What do you need it to be about? Set up for the Cody match?’ He said, ‘No, say how you feel.’ He had no idea what I was going to say. I didn’t know I was going to say it. I had 20 minutes to think of something to say. I didn’t know what I was going to say.
“I had just done that thing at the hospital the weekend before. The kids stuff, I’m a big fan of How To Get Away With Murder, that Viola Davis TV show, amazing. And I talked about it, and I looked into it. I thought, oh, this is actually real. This is bad. American TV shows are really far-fetched. I thought it was far-fetched nonsense. I looked into it. It was actually real, and I’m flabbergasted by that. So I spoke how I felt. I had 20 minutes to think of a promo. It wasn’t even a promo. I spoke how I felt. I’m very honest.
Ogogo continued as he spoke on why he chose AEW over WWE. He also revealed what his mindset is now in the pro wrestling world.
“I was the first boxer in the world to ever be signed to a long-term deal with Nike. That’s how notorious I was in the UK, in the world,” Ogogo said. “I was signed to Subway for five years. I had some proper top, top brands sponsoring me, and because of that, I have to be the corporate guy. I couldn’t go on Twitter and call this person a c**t because I was representing them as well as myself. And then I did that. And what did I get out of my boxing career? I’m blind in my left eye.
“I didn’t achieve the things I wanted to achieve, and I left thinking, I should have been me. I was me. I’m nice in many aspects. I’m respectful and polite, and if you respect me, I respect you. If I think you’re an a**hole, then I will treat you like you’re an a**hole. I’m just going to be unapologetically me. I’m getting a bonus career, I didn’t think I was ever going to be a wrestler. I thought I was going to be a boxer. This is bonus for me. I’m going to be me.
“That’s why I didn’t go to WWE. They offered me more money than AEW. I didn’t join them because I believe in Tony Khan’s vision. I believed in Cody Rhodes’ vision. I believe in AEW’s vision. I love being a part of AEW. I love how the team give a f**k about their wrestlers. If I’m going through a tough time in a minute, I’m getting texts from the management asking me if I’m okay daily. They care about the people rather than the money. The other place, they seem to care about money first and people if at all. We care about other people first because they know that a happy workplace creates good stuff.”
Anthony Ogogo takes on “The American Dream” Cody Rhodes this Sunday at AEW Double or Nothing. You can follow him on Twitter @AnthonyOgogo. You can find the full audio and video from Ogogo’s interview below: