WWE Raw: Ricochet doing Ricochet things is must-see

WWE, Ricochet (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
WWE, Ricochet (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

After a few weeks away, I return with my weekly post-Raw piece. I had a few choices up for discussion, including a career-making promo and performance from WWE Champion Bobby Lashley, but you’ll probably read plenty of good and thorough analysis on Lashley’s night.

Instead, I’m going to turn to a much-ballyhooed wrestler at the time of his signing that just hadn’t been able to find his footing on Raw, that is, until the past four weeks.

Ricochet is doing those Ricochet things he became well-known for, and it’s making his matches a must-see on WWE Raw.

First, Ricochet surprisingly won a qualifying match for the Money in the Bank ladder match at the titular pay-per-view this Sunday when he defeated former WWE Champion and current Tag Team Champion A.J. Styles by pinfall, clean, after countering a Phenomenal Forearm into the Recoil.

Yes, The Viking Raiders had their tiff with Omos on the outside, but Styles actually hit Ricochet with a forearm from the apron just before attempting the Phenomenal Forearm, so I call that clean.

After qualifying, he began a feud with fellow surprise qualifier John Morrison (who defeated Randy Orton). While I could do without Morrison & The Miz constantly talking about their drip sticks and moistness and, well, just talking in general, it seems like Morrison is the perfect type of opponent for Ricochet.

Their first match two weeks ago was a fine feud starter best remembered for Ricochet hitting a springboard crossbody to Morrison, sitting on the ringside barricade, sending both men over and to the (presumably crash pad-less in kayfabe) concrete floor. The match ended in a double count out.

Their match last week was another good display that ended with Ricochet being counted out only due to The Miz conveniently positioning his wheelchair (and himself) between Ricochet and the ring. The two match outcomes led to last night’s falls count anywhere match to determine a definitive winner.

Also, I could have done without The Miz’s involvement in all matches, but I guess props to him for finding a way to remain on television and receive more time than, say, active competitors Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke (challenging for the Women’s Tag Team Championship) as one example.

Well, tonight’s match was about as good as a falls count anywhere match you’ll find on television, though I don’t think it was anything special as a whole mainly due to commercials and The Miz’s involvement.

However, Ricochet really showed out, doing more of those Ricochet/Prince Puma things we thought we would see when he signed with WWE.

He did a little bit of everything, including selling, but saved his best for offense.

The first thing that impressed me was how quickly he caught Morrison before the latter could hit the ropes for his Starship Pain, then basically deadlifting Morrison into a bridging German suplex. For someone of his stature, and also being shorter and less muscular than Morrison, it’s unexpected.

Then, while they were both on the outside (and after Morrison landed a nice parkour-style senton off of the apron), both men climbed the ringside barricade in front of the Thunderdome screens. They held each other, but Morrison slipped and fell to the ground by the ring.

Ricochet quickly positioned himself and hit an absolutely picture-perfect 450 splash onto Morrison. It’s even more noteworthy considering there’s less bounce off of the barricade than from the ring ropes, and the drop was shorter than from the top rope.

He wasn’t done there as before commercials, with Morrison near the timekeeper’s area, Ricochet ran up the top rope, onto the ring post, and hit a Shooting Star Press to a standing Morrison a good 15 feet below.

I mean, come on!

Later, he hit a tope con hilo to Morrison over The Miz’s wheelchair, where Morrison was hiding behind. It reminded me of this moment when he, unassisted, did a somersault over the ropes and to the floor in NXT to build a feud.

He even used The Miz’s wheelchair for offense, riding the ramp with the latter and leaping off of it to Morrison.

He ended the match by countering a springboard into a Recoil, kicking Morrison in the head onto the ladder that Morrison set up from the ring apron to the announce desk, then hitting this majestic splash off of the top rope and through Morrison on the ladder.

(I will give props to Morrison. The styles just mesh well against each other, and the fluidity of both wrestlers really shone. Ricochet’s also had great, seamless matches with Styles in the past, but maybe because of Morrison’s size, it seemed more stark with Morrison.)

Part of me believes he’s only receiving all of this time in matches to display his skills because of the Money in the Bank match and that he’ll go back to sparse appearances lacking depth after Sunday.

However, I hope the past four weeks have shown just what he can do in matches, and with fans returning, how engaging his style will be for those in attendance.

Even with WWE style, one that mitigates as many flatback and dangerous bumps, Ricochet still does things that make your jaw drop. A move seen many times performed by many wrestlers, like the 450 splash, just has a certain crispness to it when executed by Ricochet. The height he received on that final splash made it look like he was floating for a brief moment.

Even more impressive is that Ricochet rarely misjudges his trajectory on “high-risk” maneuvers. The 450 and match-ending splash are both indicative of this. Particularly with the former, he had much less room to work with yet landed perfectly across Morrison’s body.

The last splash saw him land on Morrison lightly chest-first, the recoil (no pun intended) knocking Ricochet off of Morrison and to the floor, minimizing injury risk to both men.

Because of this ability, it would behoove WWE to allow Ricochet to push the envelope of what we regularly see in WWE television matches. Yes, he will make mistakes (and has landed hard with his full body weight on his opponents on some of his 630s), but his track record also shows that those will be rare.

With WWE having a distinct lack of likeable characters on Monday nights, let alone babyfaces, coupled with the monotony of the same wrestlers being involved in the main title storylines, investing in Ricochet seems like a prudent move.

He has great appeal to most every fan. Kids like seeing high-flying wrestling for the spectacle, mostly (I would argue), but adults also are able to appreciate the skill and dedication needed to achieve such feats. His size also makes him relatable to a large swath of the audience, including myself. He’s a ready-made babyface, and a breakout babyface waiting to happen, if WWE can find the patience and write his story well.

While yes, his character work hasn’t been great in WWE, he’s also been saddled with almost superhero gimmicks (that is somehow kind of working with Nikki A.S.H.) and never really allowed to let us, the fans, know who he is as a person/wrestler/character beyond, “I can do flippy s**t.”

Well, in his matches, he’s shown us he’s a skilled, resilient, crowd-pleasing wrestler with physical strength that belies his appearance. His charisma doesn’t have to come on the mic, necessarily, if he’s able to channel the majority of it in his matches.

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All I know is that Ricochet has been a must-see on Raw the past four weeks when he hasn’t always been that in WWE.

Regardless of if he wins or loses the MITB match, WWE should work to at worst, make Ricochet a viable United States Championship challenger and possibly champion. If they book him well, accentuating his strengths while working around his weaknesses (mainly promo work), there’s no reason to think he can’t challenge for the top two men’s championships.