Following the events of last week’s Black Wednesday were dozens of WWE talents and producers were either released or furloughed, word spread around that Kassius Ohno may have been part of the WWE cutbacks when his profile was quietly moved to the WWE Alumni section. While WWE never officially confirmed the release of the veteran wrestler, there was conflicting reports that it may have been in error due to other WWE Superstars, such as Paul Heyman and Rey Mysterio also ending up in the Alumni section. On Friday, Dave Meltzer reported on the Wrestling Observer’s website that Ohno was indeed let go by the company, but was unsure if it had been a release or a furlough – Ohno had been working with the NXT UK brand as a trainer as well. But on Saturday evening, a lone tweet from Ohno’s official Twitter, featuring his Kassius Ohno branded wrestling boots in a ring, seemed to finally confirm that his second run as Kassius Ohno had indeed come to an end. It marked the end of Kassius Ohno’s second tenure with WWE, who returned to NXT in 2016, following a shorter stint with the Yellow brand from 2011 to 2013.
— Chris Hero (Is Back) (@ChrisHero) April 20, 2020
Originally from Dayton, Ohio, he began training locally in 1998 with some local wrestlers, before heading to Cincinnati to train under Les Thatcher at Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA) in the spring of 1999. Later that year, he would head to Florida to continue his training under former NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion Dory Funk Jr. at his Funkin’ Conservatory in Ocala, Florida. Chris Spradlin – the man behind Kassius Ohno – would continue to digest training methods from a multitude of greats early in his career, including Tracey Smothers in IWA Mid South Wrestling in 2000, the Blue Bloods Wrestling Camp with William Regal, Dave Taylor, and Fit Finlay in 2002, and lucha libre training with Mexico’s Skayde in 2003. A lifelong wrestling fan, Spradlin was a sponge, determined to learn as much about the craft as he could.
He first gained notoriety when he joined IWA Mid South in 2000, and within a year, captured his first IWA Mid South Heavyweight Championship. In three years, he was a 4x IWA Mid South Heavyweight Champion, who competed against a crop of young stars like CM Punk, Colt Cabana, Nigel McGuinness, and Homicide. In 2002, he would make his European debut with Germany’s Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw) and in March of 2003 would win the wXw World Heavyweight Championship.
In 2002, he would also join CHIKARA, starting with their debut event. For two years, he teamed with CHIKARA owner Mike Quackenbush in The Super Friends, before turning on Quackenbush in 2005. He soon started a new stable with Claudio Castagnoli (WWE’s Cesaro) and Arik Cannon, known as The Kings of Wrestling. Chris Hero also made his debut with Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) in 2002, and in 2005, Kings of Wrestling – as Hero and Castagnoli – would also debut with the company. In September of 2005, Kings of Wrestling would capture their first tag team gold, winning the CZW World Tag Team titles. They would win the CZW tag titles again in 2006 and finally win the CHIKARA Campeonatos de Pareja (tag team) Championship. In 2006, Hero would win the CZW World Heavyweight Championship.
In 2004, Chris Hero would begin working with Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) on the West Coast, and in 2005, would begin with Ring of Honor as part of the CZW Invasion. Kings of Wrestling would end up becoming major players with ROH until 2012, becoming 2x ROH Tag Team Champions, setting the record for longest ROH tag team title reign at 363-days (a record which stands to this day). In July of 2008, Chris Hero would add another world title, defeating Human Tornado for the PWG World Championship, holding it for 425-days.
From 2003, Chris Hero also began to make his presence felt in the UK indie scene, something that would only increase over the years, working for the likes of All-Star Wrestling, Frontier Wrestling Alliance, and IPW, and in 2007 would make his Japan debut with Pro Wrestling NOAH, where he would continue to work until 2011. In 2012, he would join Claudio in signing with WWE, where he joined NXT as Kassius Ohno. His first run was uninspired and by 2013 he returned to the indies for what would become one of his best runs in the international indies.
During his second run on the indies, he would capture the EVOLVE Championship and resume working for the likes of PWG, wXw, IWA Mid South, and more, as well as working for promotions like Canada’s Smash Wrestling, Beyond Wrestling, Rockstar Pro, House of Hardcore, and more, as well as returning to the UK with RevPro, PROGRESS Wrestling, Preston City Wrestling (PCW), and Ireland’s Over The Top (OTT) Wrestling. In 2017, he returned to WWE, once again joining NXT, and ultimately heading to NXT UK in early 2019.
Now that Chris Hero is poised to return to the international indie scene once again, it’s only a matter of time before promotions around the world start to book dream matches with many rising stars and established veterans alike.
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