|Nothing you can say can faze the Knockout Artist|
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Reddit's pro wrestling main site hosted an "Ask Me Anything" session with Hero, and he finally opened up about all of the weight-related stuff in this comprehensive answer. He didn't say what the reason was for getting released from NXT, but the weight stuff or "skipping workouts" was not the reason. He was actually at his lowest weight a month before release (coming off a juice fast, which is probably the first thing that I can find to criticize him for since his release... a juice fast? C'mon man), and he details that with the amount of matches that NXT guys have to wrestle and the amount of time spent in the Performance Center working out that it's impossible to gain fatty weight.
As for the weight gain since coming off the indies, Hero attributed his steady weight increase directly to a bad back and a thyroid issue and indirectly to being away from the Performance Center and its daily, Draconian rigor. He also claimed that he only took one booking off because of the pain, which again is probably more inadvisible than gaining the weight in the first place. He laid out that keeping weight off on the road is difficult, which I an attest to. I'm not a weightlifter or wrestler or a body guy, but anytime I'm on a diet and I end up going on the road, I find it a lot harder to stay on task than I do when I'm at home. The point is, the guy, even at his fattest, still went out and worked ten-minute-plus matches every weekend. You can be fat and still be in shape.
But the jokes don't necessarily bother Hero, which is not surprising at all given his demeanor on Twitter is rosier and sunnier than nearly every other wrestler combined. In fact, he doesn't mind being the butt of jokes as long as they're funny, which makes him more well-adjusted than nearly every single person I know. Still, whether he's okay with them or not doesn't make the jokes any less shitty. Fat-shaming is still way too socially acceptable for my liking, especially since so much of it is concern-trolling based in inaccuracy.
Either way, Hero is a bold, brave guy to attack all this head on. He may never get another shot in WWE, but since he's getting bookings with Pro Wrestling NOAH (which now has the backing of New Japan Pro Wrestling, a company that pays Karl Anderson $744,000 on his current contract) and is now one of the top dudes on an indie scene that seems to pay more money than it did in the past, he may not need to get back there. He seems to be one of the good dudes in pro wrestling, so maybe think about that before making a joke about his belly next time?