Was Ricochet really underutilised in WWE? – By Wrestle G

Good afternoon everyone and welcome back to NoDQ.com the home of wrestling column royalty for another day of musings from me, your host Wrestle G. As always I’m typing away from my little Welsh office in the UK and gearing up for the WWE to make their return to these shores with Clash at the Castle in Glasgow Scotland.

A few opinions on this event and I must start with the insane pricing for this show. At present a second row seat is still over £1,000 just for the Clash event (you don’t even get Smackdown for that) the UK is in the midst of a cost of living crisis and I’m sure they won’t mind me saying this, but the Scots don’t like being ripped off they are savvy consumers and as of writing those floor seats are not filling up like a normal event would. It’s such a shame as UK crowds usually turn up, it’s going to be noticeably more subdued if the WWE doesn’t do an about turn and reduce the ticket prices. It has certainly put me off from going when I can stay at home and binge it on the Network. I hope it’s a great event but the pricing aspect of it has really annoyed me its unusual for WWE to get their market research so wrong.

But enough moaning about ticket prices we have the meat and bones of todays column to get on with. A few days ago, the news broke that Ricochet had his contract coming up and that he had served notice to test the free agent market with New Japan and AEW obviously interested. This as you might expect started quite a big discourse on Twitter about the potential new match ups, the disappointment that Ricochet and Samantha Irvine wouldn’t be travelling together any longer. But most interestingly for me was the amount of people who claim Ricochet was misused in the WWE. So today we are going to examine this a little bit and see if we can get to the bottom of if talents are misused, or do they naturally find their place on wrestling rosters.

Ricochet and the curious case of underutilisation of wrestlers.

Let me start off by saying that I LOVE Ricochet as a talent I think he is one the most impressive highflyers in an era where high flyers are the best they have ever been. But I’ve seen a lot of people claim that Ricochet has been mishandled during his WWE run and that there was a higher ceiling for him.

Since Joining WWE Ricochet has an NXT North American Title, a United States Title and Intercontinental title to his name. He leaves with many memorable moments in Royal Rumbles and Money in the Bank Ladder matches. But I can’t help but think as I look back over his tenure that these accomplishments and legacy he leaves as a WWE Super Star is absolutely fine and I’m not sat here wondering what could have been.

While an absolute phenomenon bell to bell there’s always been a slight intangible missing for me to take him to the next level. His Mic skills are ok but not main event level (and I totally take the point that he didn’t have a tonne of Mic time) but lots of people don’t get tonnes of Mic time and make their interactions work. And sometimes guys just don’t have that main event click, that connections with audiences that draw people in. If Ricochet is in the ring before he starts hitting moves, I don’t think he particularly holds a viewer well in the same way as say a Gunther does. There’s a presence to some wrestlers that no wrestling school can teach, I’ve never felt Ricochet quite had that.

I’m left wondering just who Ricochet would have replaced in the last few years at the top of the card that would have made sense. Gunther had one of the best Intercontinental Title Reigns of all time, The Judgement day got themselves over as a solid upper mid card act, The Bloodline spun off to give Jey Uso and Solo Sikoa time to shine, Logan Paul showed up with a bucket load of outside interest and then made it work with his in ring work.

What does Ricochet offer that was better than what we were given? And that isn’t a rhetorical question I am genuinely interested in what people think Ricochet had that would make him a consistently good choice to be a regular Intercontinental Title or World Championship pick. Who over the past few years hasn’t deserved their push.

As I sit here pondering these questions one guys name jumped into my head as someone I see as very similar to Ricochet and someone who I think if Twitter had been around in the 90’s would have seen a very similar ground swell of support for a bigger push. The man I’m talking about is Sean Waltman. Sean ended his run in WWE without an Intercontinental title he had a memorable run with the European belt and some small tag title wins but he never held the IC and never even got close to a world title run. But his body of work is exceptional, he was one of the best workers of his generation. He was one of the guys who was put with new wrestlers to the company to test their work rate and set the bar for the work the WWE were putting on. He’s a two time all of famer for being in two Hall of Fame groups with the NWO and D-X. When all is said and done Sean Waltman has had a fantastic hall of fame career (but deserves to be put in outright as himself) but left without any top programmes. His Career and legacy weren’t harmed by not being in Main Events constantly and neither is Ricochets.

He’s not the only one to never be fixed into top programmes but be memorable over the years. Just off the top of my head:

Mr Perfect
Jake the Snake
Savio Vega
British Bulldog
Razor Ramon

All guys who were fantastic workers but never won huge gold but had flirtations in and around world title shots and won some secondary championships.

We’ve even seen it with guys jumping from WWE to AEW who were vaunted as underutilised talents. Can anyone really claim Cesaro is in any different spot in AEW than he was in WWE? Alastair Black is another who feels like he’s found a level. And I think the time has come for fans to be accepting that guys can be entertaining and useful and productive in spots that aren’t the ‘top’ ones.

So, what do you all think? Was Ricochet screwed over in WWE? Has he done just fine? Let me know in the comments below or you can join in on this discussion over on Twitter via my handle @Wrestle_G

I’ll be back with some Clash at the Castle thoughts from this Saturday here’s hoping Drew finally wins the big one in front of his hometown crowd.

Until Next time,