NXT: Kassius Ohno returns, what's next for him?
Ohno returned in emphatic fashion on NXT, but where does he go from here?
This past Wednesday night on NXT, Bobby Roode faced off against No Way Jose in the show's main event.
It was a terrific encounter, with Jose proving that he could more than hang with the NXT Champion in the ring, before some devious ring work by Roode resulted in him planting Jose with a vicious Glorious DDT and scoring the pinfall.
However, this was not to be the end of the show.
Post-match, Roode decided to engage in a further beatdown of No Way Jose, much to the approval of Nigel McGuinness on commentary. He had Jose locked in a nasty submission hold right in the middle of the ring, when suddenly the mood drastically changed.
Appearing at the top of the entrance ramp, seen in NXT for the first time in over three years, was Kassius Ohno. Immediately, Ohno headed towards Roode in the ring, who instantly removed himself from the squared circle.
The reaction of the Full Sail University crowd was eruptive, a clear indication that Ohno should have no troubles adapting as he steps straight into the NXT main event scene.
Reports had surfaced of Ohno, known on the independent scene as Chris Hero, returning to NXT last November, yet it was not until this week's show that Ohno finally returned to television.
The pair delivered a great back-and-forth promo, during which Ohno stated that he was back for the NXT Championship and more than held his own with Roode on the mic before things broke down and got physical.
Ohno eventually got the best of this exchange, sending Roode flying over the top ropes and leaving Ohno standing tall in the ring to close the show. The grand manner of Ohno's return leaves us in no doubt that he will be positioned extremely strongly in NXT for the foreseeable future.
But what exactly does the future hold for Kassius Ohno? One thing that seems fairly set is that he'll receive an opportunity at the NXT Championship against Roode relatively soon. Whether that comes at TakeOver: Orlando in early April, or possibly on a regular episode of NXT before that point, is up for debate.
After this, it's anybody's guess as to how Kassius Ohno will be used. Regardless of whether he beats Roode for the title or not, he will no doubt have a high volume of quality opponents to deal with afterwards.
It seems clear that Ohno has returned as a face, so perhaps we're likely to see him get involved with NXT's top heels such as Austin Aries (when he returns from injury), Andrade "Cien" Almas and Eric Young.
However, it would be extremely disappointing for everybody involved if Ohno never got to face off with Shinsuke Nakamura while the Japanese star is still in NXT, so maybe that particular dream match is one that that needs to come to fruition sooner rather than later.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ohno’s work, you truly are in for a treat. Standing at 6’5” and weighing in at well over 200 lbs, Ohno is a very intimidating looking guy, which will play nicely into his hands should he ever ascend to the main roster.
Because, as we all know, Vince McMahon loves himself a big man. A big man who has the ability to work a variety of different styles is a very infrequent commodity in sports entertainment, but Ohno would certainly fall under this category.
Whilst working as Chris Hero on the independent scene, Ohno managed to build himself a hugely impressive resume.
He has worked for an almost endless list of companies, including (but not limited to) Chikara, CZW, PWG, Evolve, Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling Noah and ICW, winning championships in each of these promotions.
In total, he has acquired 37 different championships over his career, making it very clear that he will be more than capable of putting on a fantastic title reign, if and when he eventually wins the NXT Championship.
Ohno is the sort of character that should appeal to both the hardcore fanbase and the casual fanbase, which will be seen as a huge positive by WWE.
If he can hit the ground running and keep the fans engaged in his programme with Bobby Roode, there’s absolutely no reason why he can’t be built up into one of the guys who can carry the NXT brand on their own shoulders, just as Finn Balor, Kevin Owens and Shinsuke Nakamura have done before him.
Kassius Ohno put the NXT locker room on notice when he returned in such striking fashion, earlier this week. It will be fascinating to see how his second run in WWE's developmental system unfolds.
With a start like this, it appears that Ohno will be achieving great things in the near future.
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