The following are highlights from a Busted Open Radio interview with former WWE NXT star Kassius Ohno (aka Chris Hero):
On how he handled his release from WWE: “Do I want to wrestle at WrestleMania? Do I want to be in the main event at WrestleMania? Do I want to be in pay-per-views every month? Do I want to be in Raw every week? Of course, they are all amazing things and especially with all of the talented guys and all of my peers that I see and when I see Seth Rollins, (Antonio) Cesaro, Bryan (Danielson), (C.M.) Punk, the Wyatt Family, the Shield, when I see those guys rather than be jealous, of course there is some professional jealousy where its good hearted: ‘It’s like God damn it, I want that spot’ but it’s in the best way possible. I am genuinely inspired by all of these guys.
“So do I want to be in there and carve out my own niche? Of course, I do. But at this time, I have no choice in the matter. I can say: ‘Oh, what went wrong’ but that won’t get me any answers. I was ok before WWE and I will be ok after WWE and I talked to a lot of fans over the last couple days and the support has been mind-blowing. To look at some of these people’s eyes and they are genuinely telling me that they appreciate me and they are glad to see, it means so much to me. What I keep saying is, it’s not like I broke my neck and I can’t ever wrestle again. I can still go out and do what I love and do what I loved since I was ten years old and to look at it that way and there are so many people that do not have the opportunity, so why am I going to be upset or why am I going to dwell on the fact that I don’t get to do this on the highest level possible. It’s easy to be positive because I still get to out and kick ass, I get to travel, and I get to see my friends and the world. I didn’t have to conjure up that much to get through this.”
On his thoughts on his lengthy stay in NXT: “To be honest, it was a great time. The time that I spent with a lot of my peers and I have great stories and great experiences. I got to learn from some of the best ever like Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, or you look at the door and the Undertaker is here is today. There were certain things that I had to adapt too and get used too but at the end of the day, you just have to remind yourself why you are in it and what you’re doing. I had so many positive experiences that I am not going to let a release make me look back at the last two months of my life in a negative way. I have garnered relationships with different people that are going to last a life time. I did enjoy my time and I got to work with some awesome people and I got to have some fun matches and I got to experiment and get outside of my box and try different things.”
On his thoughts about not getting called up to the main roster: “I would say that the issue was less conditioning and more of an overall look. Anybody that has ever known me or been in the ring with me knows that I can wrestle all day and all night long. I don’t get tired, that’s not the issue. It’s more of a cosmetic issue and my body type is different. I have different ways of working out and my eating habits are at the time. Anybody that has followed my career has seen a lot of fluctuation. I have gone from no muscle tone whatsoever to plumping up to three hundred pounds to cutting that off and becoming more toned and then cutting as much body fat as possible, so I have had my fluctuations and I’ve switched things around so I think that was more of a cosmetic look and my coaches or the powers-that-be were all very supportive. It’s really hard to pin point any one thing.
“I think it’s just a matter of they knew who I was, they knew what I presented, what I had to offer, I just don’t think they saw anything for me in the immediate future, they thought it would be best to let me go and let me do my own thing for a little a while. Like I said, I left on good terms, I’ve got so many good friends there, a lot of people that are in my corner, and a lot of people that have supported me through the years. Will I be back? Who knows? Maybe or maybe not. But it’s not something that I got fired and was told never to come back; it was nothing like that at all. To me, pro wrestling is art and art is an opinion and its perspective. It’s what this person thinks against what this person thinks. There are so many guys that think that Shawn Michaels was the greatest wrestler of all time and there are some that think he is the most over rated wrestler of all time. I have some fans that adore me and would go to the ends of the earth to watch me wrestle live, follow me, buy my t-shirts and there are some that don’t see it and I understand that. There are musical acts and bands that people love and I’ve tried to give them a chance and I’m just not feeling it. That doesn’t mean that they are not good because art is subjective.
“When you have a business that’s based on art and perspective and opinion, there are always going to be head scratchers. Do I think I am one of the most talented pro wrestlers alive? Your damn right I do and I know the work that I have put in and I know what I am capable of but at the same time, I can’t measure myself up against other people because how do you justify that? How do you say: ‘This guy is good on the microphone, this guy is good in the ring, this guy is better technically, and this guy is more charismatic’ so it’s like: ‘How do you measure that?’ It’s really difficult, it’s really subjective and a lot of this conversation happens because we all love wrestling and we all have different tastes and different opinions. I think a lot of that can be broken down to perspective.”
On the possibility of TNA being an option for him: “At this point, I am looking at all of my options. I would never say no to something based on reputation. I am booked up for the rest of the year pretty much and I am keeping next year open as far as international dates and I want to maximize my opportunities and be able to hit up Europe for a couple weeks and I definitely want to go back to Japan. I’m trying to get that figured out. If there was an interest with TNA, it is an offer that I would definitely entertain but I just want to set enough while the iron is hot and set the best landscape for my career and where I go because I know everyone is happy to see me and its cool: ‘Hey, Chris Hero is back’ but I do realize that it’s not going to last forever so I am going to have to continue to evolve and bring something different to the table. It will be interesting to see on how this plays out with all of the different companies that I am working for in the next couple months.”
On the next call up from NXT to WWE: “It’s so tough because I think the whole time that I was down there, we had about ten guys on deck at all times that can just be pulled and introduced right away. There are so many talented guys across the board whether it’s on the microphone or in the ring. Off the top of my head, Xavier Woods has been ready to go. He is so talented and he is so ready to go. You have a guy like Adrian Neville who is legitimately one of a kind and one of those spectacular athletes in wrestling history. He has that flow about him when he is in the ring, he is not a guy that is going to take the microphone and spend twenty minutes on the microphone telling you a detailed story but he will tell you that story with his physicality which is incredible and you have Sami Zayn who is just awesome.
“He is a guy that has busted his ass and has had a lot of doubters through the years but he has produced some of the best matches that I have ever seen in my life. I don’t want to slant anybody by not mentioning them but those are the guys that come to mind. So many talented guys and characters like Tyler Breeze. Tyler is very unique and you take an idea and put a modern spin on it and it’s entertaining and those are guys that I want to succeed and guys that I want to keep watching. They make me tune in because when they succeed, I feel like succeed because we are peers. We belong together before I even signed whenever I would see Bryan, Punk or Cesaro, there is a part of me in that too. I just love wrestling, I love this business and I want to see everyone succeed.”
Check out the complete interview online at Facebook.com/bustedopenradio.