Ricochet: Thriving In-Flight

Now more than ever, the professional wrestling landscape is rich with athletic ability and in-ring excellence. Physically, today’s performers seem almost limitless, so consistently capable of the spectacular that it’s steadily becoming the norm. That trend extends far beyond staggering acrobatics too, with the evolving standards incorporating a range of styles, as variety increasingly appears king. For many, the industry’s in-ring product has never been more awe-inspiring but even within that trend, some talents still stand out from the pack.

That’s unsurprisingly a short list but for the last decade, one aptly named figure has remained at the very top: ‘The One and Only’ Ricochet. The industry’s premier high-flyer, Ricochet became a unique piece of the professional wrestling puzzle, traveling the world and plying his simply unparalleled trade. Ricochet’s reputation preceded him and rightly so, performing at an elite level regardless of opponent or location. With immense effort and exemplary execution, Ricochet became a part of the industry’s fabric, a special outlier within wrestling’s talent pool.

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However, some caution always surrounded a potential move to WWE. While Ricochet had certainly become experienced on grand stages, he’d never performed within a format comparable to modern WWE. The emphasis on promo and personality is a tough task for almost every newcomer, let alone a veteran that for so long, had almost exclusively allowed his wrestling to do the talking. That challenge increasingly appeared inevitable though, the obvious next step after Ricochet had so firmly established his brilliance elsewhere.

In 2018, Ricochet signed with WWE after all, landing in NXT and swiftly finding his feet. ‘The Future of Flight’ was a perfect fit in the promotion’s popular third brand, remaining basically unchanged while steadily developing his confidence on the microphone. Ricochet was also far from unfamiliar with the talent often opposite him, sharing ties with some of the roster’s central figures. That environment maximised Ricochet’s talent and he unsurprisingly delivered, quickly proving his worth before being called up in February 2019.

The timing was rather unusual though, under two months away from WrestleMania and with unfinished business remaining in Ricochet’s NXT stint. The former NXT North American Champion looked at home nonetheless, teaming with Aleister Black and making his WrestleMania debut, shining in an enthralling tag title clash. As a tandem, Ricochet and Black were certainly exciting but in truth, their futures always appeared brighter separate. As had been previously displayed, these were two unique talents and with WrestleMania now behind them, it was time for those skills to be spotlighted.

In theory, that’s exactly what’d happen next too, with the prolonged Superstar Shake-up splitting the pair just weeks later. Since then, Ricochet has validated every positive prediction, thriving as a solo act and steadily building momentum as a result. In fact, the transition has once again been rather seamless. Though Ricochet is still finding himself on the microphone, his immaculate in-ring performance has already made him a pivotal piece of the current RAW product. Within the Wildcard whirlwind, Ricochet’s climb has been consistent, making an impact with each and every outing.

Since WrestleMania, few performers have been more reliable in a lengthy TV bouts and as Ricochet’s competition heightens, his relevance only multiplies. In several matches with Cesaro, Ricochet’s range was captured but opposite Samoa Joe, his ceiling appeared clearer than ever. As the underdog, Ricochet’s athletic ability only made his imposing foe stronger, extending the mountain that he eventually climbed, becoming United States Champion in a gripping PPV affair. In hindsight, that title tilt provided an almost miniature insight into Ricochet’s headline potential.

There’s a special appeal to the offense Ricochet brings but as the underdog, he feels limitless even within WWE’s sometimes limiting world. That versatility certainly isn’t new either but as of late, it’s undeniably been more apparent than ever. Since then, Ricochet has entered a programme with AJ Styles, a man that for the past two years, had mastered the position that Ricochet is now seemingly vying for. As a babyface, Styles filled a unique void, appealing across the board while forever maintaining the ardent viewer’s respect too.

In fact, Styles once earned a reputation similar to the one that followed Ricochet into NXT. In that sense, he’s the ideal current rival for Ricochet, accelerating his ascension in this almost generational clash. SummerSlam will provide a perfect example of this too, as Ricochet looks to reclaim the United States crown opposite Styles. This is quite obviously a major spot for the former titleholder, far outweighing his team effort at this year’s WrestleMania. On paper at least, this feels rather different, providing an opportunity for Ricochet to realistically steal one of the year’s biggest events.

That much remains unclear though, with Ricochet’s main roster career still only just beginning. Nonetheless, it’s hard not to be optimistic right now, with Ricochet constantly swimming in increasingly deep waters. That trend is what places him here in the first place, opposite Styles in a SummerSlam match that could well lay the groundwork for his main event aspirations. In the current WWE landscape, it’s hard to predict when that ascension will take place but against Styles, he can almost make the destination inevitable.

To put it simply, the sky is the limit and based on what we’ve so far, that should suit Ricochet rather well.  

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