Monday, December 12, 2016

Ohno, The Hero Returns?

Could Hero be on his way back?
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
Chris Hero became Kassius Ohno in 2011 after signing a developmental contract with WWE. He was the next logical signee after WWE sopped up Bryan Danielson, Tyler Black, Jon Moxley, and Claudio Castagnoli (among others). However, Hero or Ohno never got his due on the main roster. He was released in late 2013, although the reasons were vague. Some people seemed to point at him butting heads with Triple H, while others cited medical reasons. My best guess is that he clashed with Bill DeMott, who seems like the type who'd bristle at a dude who wasn't him showing didactic tendencies in the locker room. Who cares if Hero had the bona fides to dispense knowledge as a wrestler and not a teacher? He fuckin' went to England to drag Johnny Saint out of retirement and help resurrect the British-style of grappling. But that's not the dickhead drill sergeant way of learning wrestling. Thankfully, DeMott, of course, has been long fired, and Hero, after a long return to the independent scene, is being reported to come back to WWE.

Hero's departure left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths, especially since it was assumed that it was over body issues. Combating the perception, Hero actually left behind an intact bridge, saying that he enjoyed his time in developmental and that he'd be open to going back if the company offered. Despite how his body may look right now (which, fuck you, still looks great because fat doesn't mean bad), he undeniably fits the current WWE mold for signing veteran indie stars. He comes with a lot of respect and a resume of tremendously-regarded matches under his belt. And of course, DeMott is gone, so presumably a WWE support structure that includes peers both in the training staff (Sara Amato, Adam Pearce) and in the ring (Samoa Joe, Roderick Strong, Austin Aries in NXT, Cesaro, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn on main roster) will absorb him easily and welcome him in with open arms. In short, barring any medical snafus, Hero's run in WWE should be a lot better this time around.

However, shortly after F4W posted the news item, Pro Wrestling Sheet posted an addendum to the Dave Meltzer/Josh Nason report, giving details that the Observer crew didn't. And then this morning, Hero got on the Twittah Machine himself to drop this bit of insight:

Is he referring to the Nason-written, Meltzer-sourced report, or to the Ryan Satin addendum which gives details like Hero reassuming the "Kassius Ohno" name and going straight to NXT? While rumblings seem to suggest that it's the Satin report that drew Hero's ire and while Meltzer reiterated the news on today's Live Audio Wrestling show, who the hell knows anymore. That being said, Hero has no independent dates lined up in 2017, so who knows.

Either way, if anyone deserves another crack at WWE stardom, it's Hero. He's been busting his ass on the independent scene for nearly 20 years now, and he's got the kind of style that can have mass appeal if focused on a WWE audience. Hopefully, if the news is true, he gets the money and exposure his career and legacy should be getting, and he can finally get his due like many of his other peers have gotten and are getting now.