Why NXT NEEDS Kassius Ohno: Ohno’s Purpose Goes Beyond Wins and Losses.

Photo: WWE

Where have all the good men gone, And where are all the gods? Where’s the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds? Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed? Bonnie Tyler I’m holding out for a Hero

On the surface, the lyrics seem to be about looking for someone to come and make things right. However, reading into them a little further we can also find them reflective of a current NXT star that has accomplished a great deal throughout his career. While he may be known today as Kassius Ohno (Chris Spradlin was previously known the world over as Chris Hero). In NXT, Ohno is rarely given the opportunity to express his thoughts or feeling in order to help further a story along. However, there is no mistaking that when given the opportunity Hero can convey his thoughts, feelings, and emotions like any other performer today. His initial tenure with the company was in 2012 and 2013, and it appeared as though he was set to be elevated to the main roster. However, that didn’t happen, and whether the company decided to release him, or he asked for his release, he left the company on good terms.

Photo: WWE

In any profession, individuals have goals, whether it’s to reach the pinnacle of a company or work with the best people. Their success isn’t measured necessarily in monetary return, but self-gratification and discovering a passion for what they do. For Kassius Ohno, his goal isn’t wins and losses or championships, but to become a master of his craft. It should be noted that the success that Ohno has in refining that craft doesn’t just benefit him, but also those around him.

Since his return, Kassius Ohno may not have been pushed to win ‘the big one,’ but if he was truly unhappy with his status he wouldn’t be there. While working behind the scenes with his former mentor Les Thatcher and the likes of Norman Smiley and Terry Taylor, Ohno’s role appears to be evolving, and that isn’t just good news but should be seen as great news for the brand. While ideally his skills should be showcased in front of a Raw or Smackdown Live audience, Ohno is so much more than simply a talented wrestler. He possesses a wrestling IQ that is unlike many others today. That ability to tell a story, the reason behind the use of certain moves, and why the story is being told the way it is, are skills that he possesses, and he serves a crucial role in passing this knowledge along to the younger talent in NXT.

Photo: WWE

With matches at various NXT Takeovers against the likes of Velveteen Dream and Lars Sullivan, Kassius Ohno wasn’t just thrown into these matches, there was a conscious effort being made to help put over the younger talent while having them work with a notable and experienced talent in Ohno. In both instances, Ohno’s value could not be understated. Both matches were not only competitive, but valuable learning experiences for his opponents as well. His goal is to continue to excel and be challenged regardless of whom he is in the ring with, and anyone that steps into the ring with him has just as much expected of them. After twenty years in the industry and sustained professional excellence, anyone that steps in the ring with him should be as open to learning from him as he is to learn from them.

Oftentimes in professional sports, veterans leave one team and join another, and bring with them the belief that their value is greater than it is. However, there is no attitude with Kassius Ohno. There is attention to detail, there is focus and determination. His role in NXT isn’t self-serving but all-encompassing if fans think about it. He is among the most respected men in any locker room and has competed with and against the likes of Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, and Samoa Joe. He shares his knowledge with others and appears to baffle them at times with what he knows and how he is able to retain it.

“It really is amazing how he is able to retain as much knowledge as he does” Johnny Gargano discussing the wrestling intellect of Kassius Ohno.

His name, not unlike Kevin Owens, was intended to reflect a KO ability, and indeed he is often dubbed a knockout specialist. He has wrestled on different continents, taken in the culture that those different places have to offer, and come out better and more informed because of it. What does the future hold for Spradlin now at 38 years of age? His career is far from over, and his value to NXT is immense. That may not be what he ultimately wants, however, and fans could anticipate that somewhere down the road he is moved to either Raw or Smackdown Live. What is immediate, however, is that Kassisus Ohno remains a knockout artist that is determined to help tell a compelling story as possible time and time again. Fans can anticipate seeing Spradlin continue to help elevate everyone he steps in the ring within the front of the camera, and similarly help behind it.


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