The phrase ‘Oh No!’ usually suggests something unfortunate has happened. You could even go as far as assuming that a big mistake has been made. However, when we put those two words together, the result is not only of a warning, but the name of an experienced performer that is back with WWE. Kassius Ohno has returned to NXT, and has immediately set his sights on Bobby Roode and the NXT championship. It has been three years since Ohno was last in the WWE, and while a number of fans may be new to him, his time spent wrestling all around the world speaks volumes about his dedication to the sport. Before we identify what Ohno’s return and to NXT means, it is important to understand just how much value he brings to WWE by going through his career highlights.
At 37 years of age, and a veteran of nineteen years, Ohno is a world travelled wrestler who has competed in Japan, Mexico, Canada, the UK and the United States. He is known the world over as Chris Hero, and built his reputation in promotions such as Pro Wrestling Guerilla and Ring of Honor. During his time there, he earned notoriety as part of the Kings of Wrestling while teaming with Claudio Castagnoli, who is known now as, Cesaro. Hero’s in ring ability goes beyond wins and losses. Anyone that has seen him will not only highlight his ability to wrestle, but his ability to adapt to each and every opponent he is in the ring with. In one instance, while performing for an independent promotion in Toronto cammed Smash Wrestling, he competed for nearly two hours straight. It was a gauntlet match, and showcased just how conditioned he is and how he can adjust to different styles.
To hear Ohno speak, the manner in which his mind works is based on nearly 20 years of matches against some of the greatest in the world, including Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan,) Samoa Joe, CM Punk, Zack Sabre Jr and more. To be able to do all this, and achieve all this, wasn’t by chance either. While many aspiring independent wrestlers will voice their displeasure at their circumstances, Ohno built a reputation for himself and generated more and more opportunities for himself. While fans are pleased with his return to NXT, what they are least likely to appreciate is why exactly he is such an important addition for NXT, and WWE as a whole.
Anyone who pays for a service knows they have worked very hard for their money, and so expect to have the best possible return on their investment. And when they pay to watch Ohno, what they are receiving is someone that is invested in telling a compelling story in the ring with each punch, kick, chop and elbow that he hits his opponents with. As the depth of the NXT roster appears to be dwindling, Ohno’s arrival suggests that quality matches will continue regardless of whom he gets into the ring with. Since his previous departure from NXT, the last time fans may have seen him doing anything for the company was when he appeared in the CM Punk documentary ‘Best in the World.’
Since then, Ohno hasn’t rested on his laurels. Name any prominent independent promotion in the world and he has probably competed there in the last three years. And beyond wins and losses, he has earned the respect and adulation of not only fans, but colleagues. When someone has been to as many places as he has, and has been an active part of so many promotions as he has, there will be conflicts that arise; it’s inevitable that there would at the very least difference of an opinion. However, in Ohno’s case, he is a professional and conducts himself as one.
One of the most unusual criticisms about Ohno has been his look. He doesn’t resemble the typical WWE look, but he is part of the promotion now. Rumors had circulated that his departure earlier on was due to an ‘unwillingness’ to change his appearance. Those appear to be unfounded, and WWE seems to have become more welcoming to different body types; look at the likes of Bray Wyatt, Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe, whose physiques don’t meet the company’s ‘standard look’.
If anything, Ohno’s appearance is actually quite relatable. As a fan who would you be able to relate to, someone that is built like a Roman Reigns or someone that looks like Kassius Ohno? His appearance doesn’t define him, it is what he does on the mic and in the ring. Many can claim to being the best in the world at what they do, but fanfare, Ohno does it. He can wrestle the hour broadway seemingly without missing a beat. His ring conditioning is what is respected and appreciated by, those that follow him. Kassius should be a hero for all wrestling fans.