The OJMO’s rise to be considered to be amongst the cream of the BritWres crop has been somewhat of a slow burn. Hanging around the periphery. Starring in PROGRESS’s dramatic presentation Freedom’s Road. He was a name on fan’s lips for some time before he actually shot to prominence. Joining the independent circuit’s ranks of grizzled young veterans on account of a sterling 2019, The OJMO has made himself one of the scene’s hot commodities. Starring for the likes of PROGRESS, RIPTIDE, Revolution Pro Wrestling and more, his profile has never been higher.
It wasn’t always OJMO’s goal to be a professional wrestler, however. Growing up in London Michael Oku was instead to tread the boards as a classically trained actor. If you type his name into the biggest film and television site in the world, IMDB will show you a list of credits for Oku. That’s a rare thing to see from someone on the BritWres scene in and of itself. We obviously aren’t talking about somebody with the profile of Dave Bautista, but being a multi-skilled worker opens doors. Even though it’s a very small taste you can see the chops OJMO has in the Freedom’s Road trailer. The man has something terribly important in wrestling, as in life: natural talent.
In an interview with the Daily Star, OJMO said that he hit a point working a dead-end job where he decided he needed to give wrestling a fair crack. Having sent what he describes as a half-hearted application to PROGRESS’s wrestling school, Oku would begin training in December 2016. Although it gets equal praise and damnation from fans of our scene, it was WWE’s arrival that spurred him into action. The inaugural United Kingdom Championship Tournament showed him that a dream of the big time was now an attainable reality. Training under Darrell Allen and James Davis in the ProJo, it wouldn’t be long at all until Oku was considered ready to debut in front of a crowd. Teaming with Big T Justice, in June of 2017 OJMO debuted for PROGRESS at the Freedom’s Road tapings at The Dome in London.
An interview with OJMO for thebritishwrestlingrevival.com reveals that the arrival of NXT UK cut to the heart of his fandom. He lists The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, and Christian as his biggest influences. And it’s possible to shades of them in his work. Ostensibly cast as a somewhat braggadocios newcomer, crowds nonetheless took to Oku from the get-go. In his first year of competing, OJMO became a semi-regular for his home promotion of PROGRESS. He was also featured prominently for RIPTIDE in their tournament to crown their inaugural Brighton Champion. Although he lost to Spike Trivet in the first round his performance was such that he would become a featured player going forward.
But undoubtedly his biggest achievement was making it to national television. Rev Pro had struck a deal to air a weekly show on Free Sports and Oku was booked to face Great O’Kharn. Although he would lose once again, this would be a major feather in his cap. Not bad for someone who only made his debut a year prior. Quite why Rev Pro head honcho won’t allow him to use The OJMO as his ring name there is anyone’s guess. Yes, Oku wrestles under his shoot name at York Hall and the like.
Since that time OJMO has become a high card player in the country’s top promotion – PROGRESS. It was only a matter of time before he was ushered in as a full-time player. And his ‘arrival’ coincided with the Natural Progression Series 6. This year’s edition was to be a one-day tournament featuring the likes of Cara Noir, Gene Munny, and Dan Moloney. Heading into the show, OJMO was a viable favorite to win the whole thing such was the confidence in his talents. Although he did not win he emerged from the show with a long-term program set against Spike Trivet’s Do Not Resuscitate stable. The full show is embedded below and it’s an absolute beauty that I urge you strongly to watch.
In the time since NPS6 Oku has formed his own faction to combat the dirty heels of DnR. Destination Everywhere is comprised of OJMO, Connor Mills and The NIC and they have been doing rather well. The act has transferred across to multiple other companies and appear to be on the cusp of greatness. Meanwhile, in Rev Pro he has had an absolutely outstanding run. In November of 2019, he won the British J Cup, Rev Pro’s version of NJPW’s junior heavyweight tournament. The previous winner was Jushin Liger, so he is in legendary company.
Following on from an attack after his J Cup victory, Oku would score something of an upset victory over PAC at Uprising in December. An absolutely sterling run for Rev Pro then. Which is due to be capped this month as he faces El Phantasmo for the British Cruiserweight Championship. I would expect him to unseat the Bullet Club bad boy there. And maybe go on to have a long run with the belt.
Whatever happens next it should be clear that The OJMO is a man to keep your eye on, not just over here but across the globe. Already booked for PROGRESS’s show in Tampa over WrestleMania weekend, I would look for Oku to start taking bookings overseas. His work ethic and connection with the crowd seem a good fit for PWG. Or even some guest shots with Impact Wrestling. The sky truly is the limit for this incredibly talented young man. Destination Everywhere, indeed.