Originally published at Chris Hero explains why he turned down opportunities to wrestle Chris Jericho in AEW
There were opportunities on the table during the Labours of Jericho and ‘The Ocho’ title reign.
After three years of being away from in-ring competition, Chris Hero competed at West Coast Pro Wrestling’s ‘Whiplash’ show and scored a victory over Timothy Thatcher. Hero wrestled for West Coast again at their 12/3 event where he teamed with KENTA to take on Titus Alexander and Kevin Blackwood.
There were other opportunities presented to Hero over the past several years to make an in-ring return. Two of those were from AEW. Chris Jericho is on the record stating that Hero’s name was suggested and pitched for the ‘Five Labours of Jericho’ and to be an opponent for his ROH World Championship reign.
Hero and Jericho discussed that on the newest edition of Talk Is Jericho during which Hero explained why he turned the opportunities down. He stated that the pace of AEW is very fast and he wondered if he’d be prepared in time in addition to getting new gear made.
How do you turn down an opportunity like that once let alone twice, you know? (Hero said about Labours of Jericho & ROH World Title match offers) So it’s a little embarrassing on my behalf but, the nature of AEW, things are very, I don’t wanna say last minute but things are just… it’s just the pace is so fast and quick and there’s this and you’re onto this or whatever and I just thought — I think it was maybe in Chicago I think. I think you wrestled (Tomohiro) Ishii and I was like, okay, one, can I get ready in eight days? Can I get gear in eight days? Because I still have my Kassius Ohno stuff. That wasn’t even on my radar as far as I need to get gear made. It’s like, well what shape is my body gonna be in when I have a match? So, it was hard to say no to but at the same time, things had kind of worked out.
Hero understands the other side of that dynamic as well because in 2013 when he was in WWE NXT, he made a pitch to do an exhibition with Norman Smiley. In storyline, Hero was going to take liberties with Smiley to agitate William Regal. Smiley was not onboard with competing in a sanctioned match.
This was 2013. I was doing stuff with (William) Regal on NXT and I had an idea to kind of heat up the feud a little bit where I would wrestle Norman Smiley in an exhibition and take liberties on Norman. You know, that would get Regal involved a little bit more so that was kind of my idea because of course, I love Norman. He’s one of my favorite humans let alone people in wrestling and I remember telling Norman, ‘Hey, I kind of pitched this thing and I wanted to let you know’ and he’s like, ‘No. No, no, no, no.’ We would see him in training every day doing all these techniques and he’s great. He can do two, three minutes, whatever. But it wasn’t, could he do three minutes? It’s, would he feel comfortable doing that? Especially Norman was such a bodybuilder guy, he always took great care of himself and was the aesthetic era, the pumping iron era of pro wrestling is Norman Smiley, right? So I completely get why he didn’t wanna do a thing. It would have been cool but just getting to share the ring with him behind closed doors is enough so…
Hero said on the podcast that he’ll continue working dates for West Coast. He is the promotion’s on-screen matchmaker.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Talk Is Jericho with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.