Among the wrestlers released by WWE amidst the widespread company layoffs and furloughs was none other than NXT‘s Kassius Ohno, better known to fans of independent wrestling as Chris Hero. One fan depicted Hero’s exit from NXT in a manner that pays homage to one of the most infamous Spider-Man moments in the history of Marvel Comics.
A piece of fan art by Twitter user @apexofcombat depicts Hero walking away from a trash can — inside of which is one of the “Knockout Artist” basketball jerseys he wore as Kassius Ohno. That piece of his history behind him, Hero is instead sporting a hoodie that carries his classic “shield” logo (which is based on Superman’s symbol). That same logo is seen in the sky in the form of a spotlight akin to the Bat Signal. Finally, a word bubble calls out, “We need a hero!” while a text box declares, “To be continued…”
Of course, the artwork is based on the iconic panel from “Spider-Man: No More!” — the story featured in 1967’s Amazing Spider-Man #50 by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. — in which Peter Parker drops the Spider-Man suit in a trash can and tries to leave the superhero life behind. The panel was famously re-created on the big screen in director Sam Raimi’s 2004 film Spider-Man 2.
Said @apexofcombat, “I don’t think I’ve ever done comic type art before but @Khristen had an idea I thought was cool so I tried it while trying to put my own style in there.” Interestingly enough, this is the second time Hero has been associated with Amazing Spider-Man #50, with wrestling promotion Chikara previously depicting the wrestler on a 2006 DVD case paying homage to the issue’s cover.
Real name Chris Spradlin, Hero began his acclaimed professional wrestling career in the late ’90s. Over the years, he has performed for such promotions as IWA Mid-South, Chikara, CZW, TNA Wrestling (now Impact Wrestling), PWG and Ring of Honor. Hero was well-known for being part of the Kings of Wrestling tag team alongside Claudio Castagnoli (known in WWE as Cesaro).
Hero signed a contract with WWE in early 2012 and began wrestling as Kassius Ohno for the company’s developmental promotion FCW, which was rebranded as NXT later that year. Ohno was released from WWE in November of 2013 and returned to the independent scene as Chris Hero shortly thereafter. He re-signed with WWE in late 2016 and returned to NXT as Kassius Ohno in early 2017. Following his second release amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19)-related layoffs, the popular indie performer confirmed the return of the Chris Hero name as he takes the next steps in his career.
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Following Kassius Ohno's WWE release, a fan depicted his return to the indie circuit as Chris Hero in the style of an iconic Spider-Man moment.