An All Elite Re-Booking...
Ok, so if you read Part One, you may have seen that the whole 'Cody solves racism' thing is a symptom, but it's not the cause. To fix this feud you actually have to reposition Anthony Ogogo in such a way to make the beef with Cody compelling, unique and punchy.
Put simply, this is a way to make Ogogo that midcard babyface star that can carry the crowd on the journey with him. Slowly but surely. And also give Cody a good reason to finally pull the heel trigger.
Oh, and by fixing this, I hope also to fix the whole QT Marshall/Rhodes saga.
So, we start at the March 31st episode of Dynamite, where Cody beats QT Marshall. They embrace after the match...and then QT Marshall kicks Cody in the plums and leaves with Nick Cormoroto, flipping the bird to Brandi in the process.
Marshall and Cormoroto then say on the next Dynamite that they realised that rather then be taken under Cody and Dustin's wing, they were living under their shadow, and they would have never got the chance to take control unless they made their own way. They therefore challenge Dustin and Cody to a tag team match at Blood and Guts, where they will make them understand how the Factory have outgrown the Family. Cody and Dustin accept the next week, and we're off to the races.
During the match Cody and Comoroto are brawling on the outside which draws the ref's attention. While they are not looking Ogogo runs into the ring and smacks Dustin from behind, leaving QT Marshall with the easy pin. The Factory celebrate with their new member while Cody realise that Dustin is in a bad way and yells for medics to come help him to the back.
Now, the important thing is between then and Double or Nothing we do not see Ogogo in the ring. In fact, his match against Cody will be his first AEW match, with Cody out for his blood and demanding a match. Ogogo agrees, with one condition: he is a prizefighter and he wants a purse so he is willing to put in $100 000, if Cody is. Cody accepts and we have our match. In the next week Cody defeats Nick Comoroto to ensure that Ogogo will have noone ringside from the Factory, while after the match Ogogo cuts a promo about how when he had to retire from boxing because of his eyesight, he thought that he would never be able to feel the rush of the crowd again until somebody suggested he talk to Cody Rhodes in AEW. But when he tried to talk to Cody about training, the American Nightmare just turned his back and wouldn't let him be part of the company. So since Cody decided to ignore him when he was at his lowest, he will make Rhodes give him the attention he deserves.
So this takes us to the go home show of Dynamite, where the two have a contract signing where they bring $100 000 each and place it into a golden briefcase which can triple locked or something (you can make this a little OTT). Cody demands to go first to rebut Ogogo's accusations of last week. He says that Ogogo is right- he did approach Cody to train and Cody did reject him, but it was because that he could see that Ogogo didn't respect the industry and saw this as an easy paycheck. Ogogo stares for a second, before smiling and saying can you blame him? He was once in the Olympics and now Cody wants him to respect all of this carny bullshit? Who should he respect? The two emos who hang in the rafters? The drunk cowboy? The dude in the denim who can't be arsed taking his hands out of his pockets? The fat rocker? Or maybe the clown in the face paint who I KO'd a couple of weeks ago and his bald friend who needs to make ends meet by carrying your bags?
At the reference of his brother and Arn Cody finally loses his cool and tries to go after Ogogo but the Guvnor bails.
So by keeping Ogogo outside the ring, adding the Big Money stip and articulating his motives in this way, we keep Ogogo's mystique and (more importantly), make him seem like an interloper who is basically not willing to honour the heritage of wrestling- which is what Cody is all about. It also sets up what happens at Double or Nothing...
So the Big Money Match is set up (have a man in a bow tie have the suitcase handcuffed to him or something) and Cody is on a mission to prove to Ogogo that wrestling deserves respect. So Cody will start the match essentially getting Ogogo to chase his own tail, with takedowns, leapfrogs and snapmares that make Ogogo look like a bit of a fool. Occasionally Ogogo will hit Rhodes in the gut or something but Rhodes will take over again and hit moves like powerslam, a AA spinebuster (giving a little salute to Arn in the process) and finally locks in a sharpshooter. Ogogo just manages to get to the ropes and lies in a crumpled heap, while Cody salutes the crowd. Cody then points to the sky and begins winding up a Bionic Elbow...but then is tagged quickly by a left, right combination from Ogogo. Cody is rattled and staggers and Ogogo hits another combination that puts Cody on his arse and dazed. He then struggles to get up and the ref checks on him while Ogogo waits and despite Cody's protestations...the ref calls the match. Anthony Ogogo has beaten Cody Rhodes and earned the prize money.
So we don't see Ogogo the next Dynamite, but instead Cody comes out. He says that the crowd may think that he is angry that he is $100 000 lighter in the hip pocket, but what he is really angry about is that referee (let's say) Bryce Remsburg didn't know when to step back and let him fight. So he demands to call Remsburg out to explain himself. Instead Dustin Rhodes comes out, still limping. He says that he watched the match on Sunday ready to cheer his brother defending the honour of wrestling, but what he saw was self-indulgence. He tells Cody that that's not the way that their father or Arn had taught them to respect opponents and he paid the price. Cody frowns and simply says that he has a lot of thinking to do before leaving the ring (we'll get to what he does later).
Meanwhile, Ogogo expects that the locker room will treat him with more respect, only to find that the locker room believes that he got lucky (which he did). And thus he and QT Marshall begin challenging all sorts of lower card workers (Brian Pillman Jr., lower members of the Dark Order, etc.) and chewing through them week after week. Finally, after about week 3 of this on Dynamite, Ogogo essentially says that he has heard the whispers in the locker room and he has set about showing a real athlete can do and clearing out some of the dead wood from this joke of an industry.
And that's where Dustin Rhodes comes out, fully fit and says that whatever Ogogo thinks of the locker room he put Dustin out of commission for a good month with a coward's punch in order just to get to Cody, so now Dustin wants satisfaction. Dustin continues, saying that if he wants to really shut the locker room up and prove that he belongs here, then he won't be terrified fighting on his terms- 15min time limit, like the old WCW TV Title rules. QT Marshall begins to decline, saying that Ogogo has nothing to prove to Dustin before Ogogo stops him, saying that if Dustin wants satisfaction, he can have it while bleeding out in the middle of the ring in the main event of next week's Dynamite.
See, the thing I want to emphasise here is that Ogogo is acting like a dick, but he's acting like a dick because he's disdainful of the sport and embittered about having his career taking away. Deep down there is still a sense of honour there, and he will uphold it.
So on the next week's Dynamite main event, the two of them have a barn burner of a main event, with Ogogo trying to land a killer punch, but Dustin evading and being the wily veteran. As Ogogo can't land the killer blow he begins to make mistakes and Rhodes takes advantage, hitting his own moves and exploiting opportunities to the point that at the end, both men are out on their feet and neither can get the pinfall within the 15 min time limit, maybe with Ogogo in the figure 4 for a long time but not tapping out. This is to emphasise that Dustin manages to escape Ogogo through his skill, but Ogogo manages to get the draw because of his heart. At the end of the match both men are slumped in opposite turnbuckles and QT attempts to attack Rhodes from behind, only for Ogogo to hit him with a combination in the stomach, leaving him wheezing before Rhodes hits the Final Reckoning on him. Rhodes and Ogogo then look at each other, nod slowly before Ogogo leaves the ring.
This sets us up for Fyter Fest or Fight for the Fallen, where QT Marshall and Nick Comoroto will tag against Dustin Rhodes and Anthony Ogogo (can they co-exist?!). Marshall will before hand put over the fact that he trained Ogogo to be a enforcer, not a wrestler (e.g. "why do you think they all think you got lucky Anthony"?) and attempts to put a wedge between these respective allies by showing footage of how Ogogo injured both Rhodes brothers and there will of course be hints of friction. In the match however, Dustin will be taken out temporarily because of shenanigans, and Marshall and Comoroto will double team Ogogo, taking out his right arm (or left if he's a south paw) with a vicious stomp or two and thus removing his biggest weapon...only for Ogogo to catch Comoroto with a crossface or something and make him tap out, while a recovered Rhodes takes care of Marshall. The commentary can put this over as something we have never seen before from Ogogo and maybe Dustin has taught him a thing or two- something that can be confirmed when Dustin shakes his hand and raises it, with Ogogo giving him a hug.
So this leads us to a nice time where Ogogo can be managed by Dustin and you can have a little arc where Dustin hand-picks his opponents to show him some of the heritage of the business. Ogogo, now realising what wrestling can offer him, is willing to learn and you see him grow as a worker, while showcasing through him the variety of the AEW roster. And you can put this on Dark most of the time as a way to get the show over by having some continuity while occasionally having bigger matches on Rampage or (even) Dynamite. And truth is, he doesn't have to win all these matches but challenge these guys to test his mettle. So he can lose to guys like Penta and Hangman but look good and feel happy for the privilege. And after that you can have him line up against a championship:
Ogogo is the perfect person to line up against Team Taz. Taz can be pissed off at the attention this upstart from boxing is getting and throw his faction against him. Taz can then interfere in Ogogo's matches and say that the beatings will continue until Ogogo admits that he doesn't belong here. Ogogo replies by saying that if Taz does not think he belongs, then his champion can prove it in the ring in a Title vs Career Match (maybe at Grand Slam), which Ogogo wins! This should bring some relevancy back to the FTW title, which frankly could use it as it is really the only lower card title AEW have.
Now, at the same time all of this is going on, you can have Cody essentially be a wrestling version of Teddy Long, who springs up every time a midcard face group needs a partner to even the odds and essentially booking himself in them- complete with his own massive entrance. In the weeks he isn't doing this, he is acting as an spokesperson, going on talkshows to hype up AEW and of course Rhodes to the Top. After a little while, this should get tiresome for the fans- particularly if commentary plug his shows when he is in the ring. Occasionally you can have an interviewer ask him how he feels about his brother joining forces with Ogogo. Cody can evade these questions by moving the subject back to his own endeavours ("Well, in wrestling like in my reality show, strange things often happen") but he can get more and more terse as Ogogo's star continues to rise.
And that takes us to maybe a month after Grand Slam where Ogogo defends his title against Ricky Starks, only to be distracted when a hooded figure begins beating up Dustin at ringside. This will allow Starks to hit his finisher and get the win, where the hooded figure comes into the ring to pick the bones and reveals himself!
This will cement Rhodes' heel turn, where he will claim that he needs to right the wrong of Ogogo's 'fluke'. Ogogo will accept, despite Dustin warning him that this is not the same Cody who fought him before- this an obsession for Rhodes. This will lead to a match on Rampage between the two where at first Cody and Ogogo will wrestle an orthodox match for the first five minutes, with Rhodes smiling and complimenting Ogogo in a patronising way on his hip tosses and leapfrogs before Ogogo gets him with a punch that Rhodes oversells, knocking down the ref in the process. Cody stumbles to the corner and pretends to be out of it, much in the same way that he was in their first bout. Ogogo approaches cautiously, not wanting to hit a guy who may already have a concussion and as he gets close enough to the corner...Brandi Rhodes pops up and cracks him in the knee with a sledgehammer. Ogogo crumples in agony before Rhodes stomps the knee again and again while he waits for the ref to recover, then slaps on a Figure Four, Ogogo screams in pain for ages...before tapping out.
And that's essentially it! Rhodes' character has been re-packaged and now he can have a cool heel run with Brandi, where you have used the seemingly insincerity of Rhodes and amplified it to a full blown heel. At the same time Ogogo can take some time off to 'rehab' injuries before coming back with Dustin in a tag team again, or begin to move up the card towards the TNT title. Maybe you could have him tag with PAC (the British Bastards) and join Death Triangle? Maybe he himself can be a little bit of a mentor to some of the younger guys who may feel (kayfabe) overawed by the occasion? More to the point though, we have a guy now who can be seen through his in ring work and his passion to have fallen in love with wrestling, who can give shows like AEW Dark a little more direction and be a fantastic brand ambassador.
Thanks for listening to this 2nd part! Hope you enjoyed it as we count down to ONE HUNDRED EDITIONS (I have not hired the marching band just yet)!!! Join us for Article 98 where, to paraphrase an apposite villain *muffled voice*: "They fought like two nice men. Admirable. But mistaken."
See you then!
#1 Owen Hart vs Stone Cold @ SummerSlam '97
#2 December to Dismember 2006
#3 The Fingerpoke of Doom
#4 The Scott Steiner vs HHH Feud
#5 Ryback vs Mark Henry @ WrestleMania XXIX
#6 Bret Hart vs Vince McMahon @ WrestleMania XXVI
#7 The Jerry Lawler/Michael Cole Feud
#8 The Curtain Call
#9 Bash at the Beach 2000
#10 Royal Rumble 2014
#11 Warrior/Hogan II @ Halloween Havoc
#12 The Cena/Laurinatis Feud
#13 The Firing of Ric Flair From WCW
#14 The Brogue Kick of Doom
#15 Lesnar vs Goldberg @ WrestleMania XX
#16 Immortal Revealed @ Bound for Glory 2010
#17 Sting vs Hogan @ Starrcade 1997
#18 Triple H vs Booker T @ WrestleMania 19
#19 The Corre
#20 The Undertaker vs Big Boss Man @ WrestleMania 15
#21 Jeff Hardy vs Sting @ Victory Road 2011
#22 Road Wild 1999
#23 The John Cena/Kane Feud of 2012
#24 Hulk Hogan's Mancow Interview of 1999
#25 CM Punk vs the Rock @ Elimination Chamber 2013
#26 The Reign of Bill Watts in WCW
#27 The Claire Lynch Affair Part One And Two
#28 Triple H vs Kevin Nash @ TLC 2011
#29 The Cactus Jack Amnesia Angle
#30 Hulk Hogan Leaving TNA
#31 HBK vs Hulk Hogan @ SummerSlam 2005
#32 David Arquette: WCW Champion
#33 Katie Vick
#34 nWo Souled Out 1997
#35 The Vampiro/Sting Feud of 2000
#36 Once in a Lifetime, Episode II
#37 The Angle/Jarrett Feud of 2010/11
#38 The McMahon/Lashley Feud
#39 The Shockmaster
#40 CM Punk vs Ryback @ Hell in a Cell 2012
#41 Hulk Hogan vs Roddy Piper @ Starrcade 1996
#42 The WWE Championship Reign of Diesel
#43 Cena vs the Wyatts
#44 The Main Roster Run of Emma
#45 The WCW Run of Bret Hart
#46 John Cena vs the Miz @ WrestleMania 27
#47 The Lone Wolf AJ Styles
#48 Alberto Del Rio vs Jack Swagger @ WrestleMania 29
#49 The Transition of Mike Awesome from ECW to WCW
#50 The Dolph Ziggler Conundrum Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five
#51 The Rise and Fall of Damien Sandow/Mizdow Part One and Part Two
#52 DDP & Jay Leno vs Hollywood Hogan & Eric Bischoff @ Road Wild 1998
#53 Triple H vs Randy Orton @ WrestleMania 25
#54 Lord Tensai
#55 LOD 2000
#56 Sid Vicious vs Scott Steiner @ Starrcade 2000
#57 Bret Hart vs Yokuzuna (feat. Hulk Hogan) @ WrestleMania 9
#58 Royal Rumble 2015
#59 The Crucifixion of the Sandman
#60 Brock Lesnar's First Year Back in WWE
#61 Bo Dallas' Main Roster Run
#62 Vince Russo vs Booker T for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
#63 Randy Orton vs the Big Show @ Survivor Series 2013
#64 AJ Styles vs Abyss @ Destination X 2010
#65 EV 2.0
#66 The Summer of Punk Part 1; Part 2; Part 3
#67 The Lex Express
#68 Goldberg's first WWE Run
#69 Paige's Main Roster Run 2014-2016
#70 Seth Rollins' First World Title Run
#71 Hulk Hogan vs Sgt Slaughter @ WrestleMania VII
#72 Sting vs Abyss in a Last Rites Match
#73 The Undertaker vs Big Show in the Punjabi Prison
#74 Ric Flair vs Hollywood Hogan @ Uncensored 1999
#75 Roman Reigns' Road to WrestleMania 32 Part One, Part Two. Part Three
#76 Hulk Hogan vs Sid Justice @ WrestleMania VIII
#77 Muhammad Hassan
#78 Sheamus' World Heavyweight Title Reign
#79 The Ghastly Match
#80 Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton @ Wrestlemania 33
#81 Goldberg vs Steiner vs Nash @ New Blood Rising'
#82 The Lesnar/Angle/Big Show feud of 2002
#83 Aces and Eights
#84 Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar @ WrestleMania 32
#85 Jinder Mahal: WWE Champion Part One, Part Two, Part Three.
#86 DDP & Karl Malone vs Hollywood Hogan & Dennis Rodman.
#87 Triple H vs Sting
#88 The 1992 Run of the Ultimate Warrior
#89 Jenna Morasca vs Sharmell
#90 The Lesnar/Reigns Feud of 2018 Part One, Part Two, Part Three
#91 The Higher Power Revealed
#92 The Brawl for All
#93 The 2019 Title Reigns of Seth Rollins Part One, Part Two
#94 The Main Roster Run of Karrion Kross Part One, Part Two
#95 Fiend vs Goldberg @ Super Showdown Part One, Part Two, Part Three
#96 Hulk Hogan Poached from AWA by WWE
#97 Cody Rhodes vs Anthony Ogogo Part One
The InVasion Saga
Article One: Shane has a surprise for Daddy
Article Two: Booker T vs Buff Bagwell and the Temple of Boos
Article Three: Daddy's little Girl Gets in on the Action
Article Four: "WHY AUSTIN DAMMIT?! WHY