Recently you may have noticed that I’ve been venting my frustrations with WWE in my articles more and more. For several weeks the WWE’s decision making (or lack thereof), obvious complacency, and complete lack of any creative fire have contributed to making Monday Night Raw programming I dread watching. Between segments where Sheamus no sells a World Title loss the next night on Raw (something that you would never see guys like Stone Cold, Kurt Angle, The Rock, Triple H, etc. do), them giving a talent like Michael McGillicutty a name that can’t be chanted even if you tried, and the complete and utter lack of execution or planning for big angles on Raw, its fair to say that as a wrestling fan, I can’t help but feel disheartened. Nothing happening on Raw speaks to me as a fan; there’s nothing for me to sink my teeth into.
My frustration with Raw has contributed to WWE NXT becoming my favorite hour of weekly wrestling programming. Yes the production value is inferior, many of the performers are green and are still getting comfortable in the ring and on the microphone, but one thing that NXT has in spades over the WWE’s flagship show is effort. You can see the effort that they put into creating characters for the Superstars, you can see the effort by the young guys to improve, and you can see the creative effort in delivering complete and quality stories (it helps so much that they have to film three weeks of TV at a time; each story is a complete one and rarely are things dropped or completely overhauled because someone can’t make up their mind from week to week).
I’ve decided to do a series of A Matter of Character articles on the stars of the future featured on NXT. Earlier this year I covered then FCW’s Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Antonio Cesaro, Richie Steamboat, and Damien Sandow. There are still so many superstars on NXT that I think could make an impact on the WWE’s main roster, like Roman Reigns, The Ascension, Big E Langston, Leo Kruger and Bray Wyatt.
This week, I’m going to analyze a man that concusses with his kicks, and KOs with his elbows. Of course I’m talking about the man formerly known as Chris Hero on the independent wrestling circuit and one of NXT’s brightest shining stars, Kassius Ohno. Let’s do this!
Kassius Ohno is without question one of the best wrestlers currently under contract in the WWE. He’s a skilled striker, an expert technician, and he puts his mastery of multiple crafts to use whenever he steps into the squared circle. There simply isn’t a lot that Kassius Ohno can’t do in the ring, which gives each of his matches the potential to be incredible. When it comes to dexterity and entertainment, Kassius never disappoints.
Kassius is also a pretty imposing man, standing 6 ft 4 in, and weighing in at 225. He’s not a body builder and doesn’t look like he’s been chiseled out of stone, but I personally like his look and think that he can get over with the viewers with it, his charisma, and his ability to go in the ring. He really stands out from the other superstars when he is backstage wearing his track jacket, hair tied back in a bun, beard unkempt and wild, and sporting a pair of hipster glasses. It’s a different and intriguing aesthetic that I hope they allow him to continue using if he’s called up to the main roster.
Kassius is a snarky know-it-all. He always has an answer for what you’re going to say, is quick to brag about himself and point out you deficiencies, and for all intents and purposes is the epitome of a hipster. He comes up with and uses corny phrases like “Kassius Bashes and Leaves His Opponents with Gashes” or “Its Kassius, Oh No!” ironically. He enjoys that people don’t understand his style, and think that he’s corny, because to him it means he’s on a level all his own. He prides himself on being different, not part of the mainstream like everyone else, as evidenced by the fact that he’d prefer to knock people out, which in wrestling is against the grain and out of the norm. Nothing would annoy WWE’s ultimate hipster more than mainstream approval.
I personally love the hipster aspects of Kassius Ohno’s character. There isn’t another character like him in the WWE. Closest thing would be Daniel Bryan, but he doesn’t want the fans approval because he thinks it’s disingenuous. On a certain level that’s why hipsters shy away from anything mainstream, but it’s more about being different from the masses and making oneself special. Making Kassius Ohno’s personality that of a classic hipster’s, and watching him be a snarky, know-it-all douchebag is entertaining as all hell, and again I hope he is allowed to do so on the main roster when he is called up.
WORDS AND ACTIONS
Kassius Ohno is a clever dude, and can cut one hell of a promo when he is asked to. On NXT, his promo work is far and away the best on the show, and his backstage segments are among my favorite to watch. I’ll never forget his confrontation with Ricky Steamboat after injuring his son Richie. Ricky got in Ohno’s face and Kassius’ response was to pester Steamboat by screaming things like “Oh, The Dragon’s Back!” and “What Are You Gonna Do, Arm Drag Me?” This segment hit on every level, as Steamboat looked like a tough concerned father, while Ohno came across as an overconfident nuisance (albeit a funny one).
His actions on NXT are those of a mischief-maker. He’s always looking to annoy or bother someone. He isn’t afraid of repercussions because he believes he’s the best on the show, so he has absolutely no problem verbally accosting anyone for the smallest reasons. He’s WWE’s resident hipster that always has something to say to anyone and everyone. This kind of character works so well because it is an active one. Kassius doesn’t wait for things to come for him; he goes out and causes problems, and creates stories not only for himself but other reactive characters.
Kassius’ motivation is pretty simple if you ask me; he simply wants to stand out. He wants to be different from everybody else, be recognized for his differences, and ultimately praised for them by those he respects. He prides himself on doing things that few people do, knowing things that few people know, and understanding things that others don’t understand, because it makes him feel special.
In essence he’s the polar opposite of the spectrum from The Rock. The Rock is a character that even when he’s hated, deep down always wanted to be loved by the people, so badly that he would act as though the boos were cheers. Ohno wants to be special and different from the people and their boos affirm that he’s achieving that goal. Sure he wants them to admire him for being different, but never to accept or adopt his style, mannerisms, and point of view, because then he wouldn’t be special or different. It’s a great character that honestly doesn’t need any tampering upon being brought up to the main roster.
Kassius will constantly be in conflict with others because of his elitist attitude towards his peers. It’s hard to like a guy that’s always trying to highlight your weaknesses, and enjoys rubbing in your face all the obscure things that he is well versed in and admires. He’s a constant nuisance to those around him that don’t get his point of view.
That being said, another conflict for him is that people will find him very funny. His use of sarcasm to disarm and insult his enemies will make the WWE Universe gravitate to him and eventually start cheering him. How can you not cheer a guy that says “What are you gonna do, arm drag me?” to Ricky Steamboat? His whole modus operandi is not fitting into the mold and bucking the mainstream, but he’s so charismatic that the WWE audience will eventually accept him and make him part of the mainstream of the WWE. How he reacts to that will be fun to watch if the WWE were to develop and understand the nature of his hipster character.
The WWE seems to have trouble figuring out how to debut new characters, seeing as they’ve had Dean Ambrose sitting on the sidelines for months, not wrestling on NXT or the Main Roster. Not every debut needs to be out of this world. The key is having a plan for once he’s debuted on TV.
There are two ways that I can see Kassius debuting. One would have been to have him be on Team Punk at Survivor Series. I would have had Punk turn down multiple heels requests to be on his team and then reveal his team to be himself, Kassius Ohno, Antonio Cesaro, Dean Ambrose, and a big guy like Mark Henry or someone like that. I’d have Punk explain that these are the guys he traveled with before he arrived in the WWE, these are guys that he respects and respect him, and that these are the only men he trusts. It’s pretty simple, debut him with a ringing endorsement from CM Punk, and after Survivor Series unleash Hipster Ohno to do his own thing. Unfortunately Cranky Vince changed his mind last night, so there’s no more Team Punk.
Another way you could debut Ohno, is to have him start attacking and maiming second and third generation superstars. Eventually he’ll explain that that he’s a product of the underground, independent organizations. He honed his craft in Japan, Mexico, and all across the United States. He lived in cars and traveled from city to city to show everyone he was special because he was different. He despises the mainstream and the brand names, and he’s in the WWE to represent for the underground and independent. He’s starting with the biggest brand names of all, all the guys who were handed everything because of their name. They represent everything he hates about the mainstream, and he vows to wipe them out.
He would go through guys like The Usos, McGillicutty, The Colons, Mysterio and DiBiase, eventually getting to Randy Orton, the most prolific 3rd Generation Superstar on the roster.
There you have it, but I want to know what you think? Do you think Kassius Ohno can succeed on the main roster? Do you wish they’d have let him remain Chris Hero (I’ve personally grown to accept the absurdity of his new name and think it fits the character)? How would you bring him up to the main roster?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas with a message for my American friends. In all seriousness go out and vote. It’s important! Have a great week everybody.