There are few things I could tell you about Delirious that would describe him better than his actual name. Behind the mask, Hunter Johnson is the head booker for Ring of Honor Wrestling and the head trainer of the ROH wrestling academy. In the ring, conversely, Delirious is…well, Delirious.
His speech is a jumbled, rambling mess. He scurries around the ring in a wild and frantic manner upon hearing the ring bell. He screams incoherently at opponents, fans, and referees alike. He’s convincingly insane, and it’s all of these outlandish antics that have endeared him to independent wrestling fans from coast to coast. His unpredictable and nontraditional in-ring style has served to further enhance his unstable reputation, as he relies on a number of innovative high-risk maneuvers and legitimately cringe-inducing submissions. No matter who you are, standing in the ring opposite of Delirious cannot be a fun experience.
Sometimes billed from the Edge of Sanity, sometimes from Dante’s Inferno, and sometimes even from the swamps of Florida, not much is known of Delirious’ past. What is known is that he’s taken his unconventional game to promotions across the country, performing regularly for Ring of Honor, Chikara, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Jersey All Pro, IWA Mid-South, and Pro Wrestling Noah, among others, throughout his career. He’s the opposite of methodical, but it works for him, as evidenced by the intense popularity that follows him pretty much everywhere he wrestles.
Delirious got his start in IWA Mid-South in 2003, where he first began his long-running feud with Matt Sydal, better known to WWE fans as Evan Bourne. Delirious and Sydal engaged in a rivalry that saw them oppose one another in a series of matches, with Delirious coming out on top to end the IWA chapter of their story. While with the promotion, Delirious also feuded with Jimmy Jacobs and enjoyed a reign as the company’s Light Heavyweight Champion. In the spring of 2004, Delirious made his debut with Ring of Honor. Appropriately, his opponent was the also debuting Matt Sydal. Although Delirious came up short of winning the encounter, the first defeat in a long string of losses with ROH, he gained crowd support with his over-the-top antics. After ending his losing streak, Delirious was successful in winning ROH’s Survival of the Fittest tournament in 2006, last eliminating Sydal. He challenged Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan) for the World Title on a number of occasions but was unsuccessful in ever attaining the gold. Since becoming the head booker, Delirious’ appearances in ROH have become more sporadic, although he does occasionally lace up the boots in the land of honor.
In Chikara, the zany Delirious has been a part of even zanier storylines. He’s a former Campeonatos de Parejas as part of Incoherence with Hallowicked, and the pair hold the record for achieving the most successful defenses in the history of the titles. The team, affectionately dubbed Halirious by fans, came undone when Delirious fell under the spell of the Great and Devious UltraMantis Black, who brainwashed him with the Eye of Tyr, an ancient artifact that grants the wielder the power of mind control. As a member of UltraMantis’ Order of the Neo-Solar Temple, Delirious’ trademark insanity was abandoned and he became a more serious wrestler. UltraMantis Black has since lost the Eye of Tyr to the villainous stable Bruderschaft des Kreuzes, or the BDK. With it went control of Delirious. Now a member of the BDK, Delirious remains a stoic warrior under their control. However, at King of Trios 2011, Delirious was confronted by his former teammates from Incoherence. Seemingly recognizing them, he temporarily snapped out of his trance and ran out of the arena in an intense fit. It’s yet to be seen if the spell over Delirious has been broken or if he remains brainwashed under the Eye’s control.
Delirious has also wrestled for the International Wrestling Cartel, where he’s often teamed with Daizee Haze, who was an early student of his. In addition to the aforementioned promotions, Delirious has brought his unique style overseas, currently competing for Pro Wrestling Noah. There, he’s tangled with such legends as KENTA and Jushin “Thunder” Liger. Whether he’s grappling with fabled Japanese stars, performing as wildly as his name would indicate, or wrestling under the influence of a greater power, Delirious is a sight to be seen. There’s no one quite like him in all of the wrestling world.