Independent star Chris Hero’s name has been making the rounds lately, with a return to the WWE seemingly imminent. Hero, of course, was a former WWE farm-hand, wrestling under the name Kassius Ohno during the early stages of NXT. He showed promise with the company’s developmental brand but was let go due to a lack of commitment to the conditioning and dieting aspect of his arrangement.
Chris/Kassius failed to listen to directives about getting in better shape and was released in 2013. His physique hasn’t improved all that much, leading many to believe that by the WWE reaching out to him, it was another attempt at taking over the independent scene. In any event, Chris Hero is all but officially back with the WWE.
According to a report from the Daily Wrestling News, Hero may have performed in his final match for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla when he and partner JT Dunn lost to the team of Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly at the Mystery Vortex Show in California on December 16. Hero took the pin and then took the mic after the match.
Admirably, Chris went on the microphone to put over the other competitors in the match and those with PWG, but he also wanted to address the “elephant in the room,” claiming he was that elephant. Apparently, Hero felt blindsided by the news of him signing with WWE leaking out to the public. It’s not that he wanted it to be a secret, but Chris wanted to tell promoters of other organizations face-to-face rather than them finding out on the internet.
Many promoters and folks within other organizations read the news and felt that he was already gone from the independent scene when the fact of the matter was that nothing had been confirmed yet as of last week. Chris Hero still had to pass all the medical testing (which he did) and then receive word that they could move forward. News leaked about his signing before that was all official, as Hero wanted to do it properly and not burn any bridges in the process.
It was Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter who broke the story, claiming that he heard of Chris Hero’s signing from a WWE source who wanted to remain off the record. However, he didn’t get multiple sources within the company to confirm the news on the record until the day he published his story. Hero noted how other indy stars like Willie Mack were being brought into the WWE, only for it to be negated due to a medical issue. That certainly could have been an issue for Chris, but as of now, it isn’t.
Speculation about Hero returning to the WWE started swirling several weeks ago when a fan unearthed the fact that he wasn’t accepting any indy bookings in 2017. During his speech on December 16, Chris said he wasn’t sure if that match would be his last for PWG, but the assumption is that, at 36-years-old, this is his last opportunity to make it work in WWE.
As noted, weight was an issue for Chris Hero during his initial WWE run, as it was for Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe when they were first brought in. Both still occupy the heavyweight division, but both have dropped a significant amount of weight from their days with Ring of Honor or TNA. Clearly, the hope is the same for Chris Hero. It has yet to be confirmed whether he’ll report to NXT first or head straight to the main roster, but the industry-wide assumption is NXT.
Speaking of Owens, because he uses the K-O nickname, it’s unlikely the WWE would bring Hero back under his old Kassius Ohno persona due to the fact that that character used the K-O initials as part of his gimmick. So while nothing is set in stone, expect Chris Hero to continue using Chris Hero when he finally appears on WWE programming.
[Featured Image by WWE]