All Elite Wrestling Star Anthony Ogogo recently made an appearance on Insight with Chris Van Vliet to talk about a number of topics such as how WWE Hall of Famer and professional wrestling legend Diamond Dallas Page (DDP) influenced him to pursue pro wrestling.
Anthony Ogogo said:
“I retired from boxing and I was friends with DDP, he like my mentor in this game, what an unbelievable dude, I can’t put him over enough. I was injured, I just hurt my eye, I had 9 surgeries on my eye in 3 years, it was a very difficult time, I was training so hard, making and losing weight and I got a back injury. I thought that I needed to do something and being a wrestling fan, I listened to podcasts and Jericho was always putting over DDPY, so I reached out to DDP and he got back to me and we became best mates. I had 9 surgeries on my eye in 3 years, 4 of them in America and every surgery I had in the USA, I would come over early and stay over in Atlanta and we would hang out together, we would do yoga together and hang out together and he said, have you ever thought of being a wrestler and I said, Dallas I am honored and he said, you can talk, you’ve got the look and you are athletic, I think you can do this. I was really humbled, but I told him that boxing is my thing and he got it, he is some who is all about work ethic and achieving your dreams. I had a surgery, and one of the maddest things happened to me, I woke up from the third surgery and I knew the protocol, fifth on my eye altogether, but then my heart stopped altogether, they resuscitated me back to life and it was scary as you can imagine. I stayed in hospital overnight to have some regular checks and Dallas called me, he asked how did it go and I said not well, all the doctors were panicking, big thing and he said, listen when are you going to give this dream up, it’s not happening for you, I can make one phone call and make you a wrestler today. That was the only argument that me and Dallas ever had, I snapped at him and said f***ing hell, I need everyone that I love and respect to be on my f***ing side now, I can’t have you dangling the carrot over here, I have got the blinders on. We had an argument and I said to him, don’t mention this to me ever again and he said, I get it. That was March 2018 and I retired in March 2019, I facetimed Dallas and said that I was retiring from boxing and to thank him and he said, I’m sorry, I know how much this meant to you. He took a beat, then the next thing he said was, so now, do you want to be a wrestler and I said f*** Dallas, let me mourn my career, 18 years of unfulfilled dreams and pain and bitterness. I wanted to sulk, I was still writing my retirement speech and he goes, when you are finished sulking, then give me a call, so I retired the next day and I went to WrestleMania with some friends from school for my 30th birthday, we all went to WrestleMania in New York, I met Dallas there and he said to me, you’ve got to meet Cody, I’ve been telling Cody about you, so I met Cody and told him my story and all of the ins and outs, glossing over how my heart stopped on the operating table and having the insane belief that I was going to fight again. Incidentally at this time, I did an interview after I retired, with the BBC, I had tears in my eyes, I was boxing since I was 12 and the journalist asked me what was next, purely to pop myself I said, I like wrestling, I might become a wrestler. It was purely to pop myself, I wasn’t thinking about the future at the time, word got out, BBC and it all goes around the world, WWE offers me a try-out, I ask Dallas what to do and he says to go and do the try-out and then, meet Cody, so I did the try-out, they were impressed with me, I did promo class with Road Dogg and I killed it, I was asked to just watch while they did a 2-minute promo where you had to have a turn, I asked to have a go and I was the second to last person, everyone did the usual ‘duh duh duh and now I am a bad guy’, so I switched it, I came out and being really cocky and arrogant saying that wrestling is beneath me, then I said that I took a bump and realized how hard it was. Road Dogg loved it and asked me to come back next week with the scenario that I am fighting Finn Balor for the Intercontinental Title at Battleground. Madly enough, I took my leather jacket with me to Orlando, did the promo in my jacket and sunglasses and they loved it, they basically offered me a contract and then AEW offered me a contract. Two weeks before, I was a boxer and two weeks later, the two biggest companies wanted to sign me. I met Tony Khan at a Fulham game in London and as soon as I met him and heard his vision for AEW, how charismatic and nice he was, I fell in love with his vision of AEW.”
You can check out Anthony Ogogo's comments in the video below. H/T to Chris Van Vliet for transcribing the above quotes.