What’s Next For Ricochet?

(Photo Credit: WWE)

As continues to be the case within the past few years, anytime a free agent is set to hit the market, there are decisions to be made and thus speculation on the future of careers. Recently, there was some scuttlebutt around key talent on the WWE roster, as some long-tenured, featured performers had to make the decision to re-sign with the TKO corporation or consider other options, primarily All Elite Wrestling or potentially New Japan, depending on the specific talent. The WWE office inked Drew McIntyre, Finn Balor, Damien Priest, and Seth Rollings to new contracts during the past few months.

All things considered none of those reports were surprising, with a slight exception made for McIntyre. The Scottish grappler had expressed some consideration for spending more time with his family, and given that his current feud is with CM Punk, a guy that is still several months away from being cleared for an in-ring return, it would’ve made sense if Drew wanted to step away from the company, not to explore his options, but rather to take a hiatus from the contractual demands of a WWE deal. Drew is a smart businessman, even though he was misused previously in his WWE tenure, he knows that while he’s still in the prime of his career, the WWE is the place to be because of the biggest exposure in the industry that it can offer and the good money to be made. That’s not to say that McIntyre will retire under the WWE banner, but at 39, it makes sense for him to use the latter stages of the prime of his wrestling years to boost his profile as much as possible. Furthermore, it would essentially make Damien Priest a transitional champion, but there’s a very good argument to be made that McIntyre should win the World Heavyweight championship at Clash at The Castle. In some ways, it’s almost too good of an opportunity to pass us since the story writes itself, even if the moment would be in a vacuum since he’s a heel on Raw.

As mentioned, Priest is factored into the title picture so there wouldn’t be much of a reason for him not to re-sign a contract. His stablemate Finn Balor probably didn’t get the chance he deserved in the main event scene after he suffered an injury in the same match that he won the championship in 2016, but he already did much of his legacy work in Japan so remaining in the WWE allows him to maximize his earnings before he retires. Seth Rollins is often made to look secondary to the part-timers or the guest stars, but he’s consistently near the top of the card so again, it was another situation where it wouldn’t make sense for him to look outside of the WWE for other opportunities.

However, there are a few others that still haven’t signed new contracts, with one departure more or less confirmed after Raw this week. Becky Lynch, one of the most popular stars in the company, finished up her current deal. That doesn’t mean that she won’t return, but rather it’s a rest from the road schedule. It was almost comical when some fans on social media assumed that she was going to make the jump to All Elite Wrestling simply because she didn’t immediately sign a new WWE contract. Considering that she travels with her family when she’s on the road with WWE and she’s one of the biggest stars on the roster so you can assume that she makes good money, why would she dismiss those advantages to work for AEW? That’s not even a criticism of the Khan-owned organization, just to point out that for Becky’s situation, there’s no reason for her to consider a run in a different organization.

Chad Gable, who is doing some of the best work of his career with some of the best opportunities of his career in the past several months, still isn’t confirmed to have signed a new contract with the company after news surfaced that his current contract expires soon. You have to take the internet speculation with a grain of salt, because he could’ve already re-signed with the company so the discussion might be moot. A few years ago, particularly when Vince McMahon was still the boss, the best move for Gable probably would’ve been to work elsewhere, specifically when he was mocked with the horrendous Shorty G gimmick, but the Triple H era changed a lot of possibilities in the company. I’ve written before that Gable is such a stellar athlete and how much of an asset he can be for the organization so I’m not going to retread that again, but it should be noted that he has the ability to move up the card as far as management would be willing to push him as a heel. He has the skills to be a main event guy, which isn’t to say that he will be on the level of Cody Rhodes or Roman Reigns, but if it’s presented correctly, he could definitely be a title contender in the future. He’s doing great work on Raw with Otis, and given the increased exposure he had, particularly since Triple H took over the scripting of WWE programming, it’s very doubtful that he would want to leave the company.

It was reported that Ricochet, who originally signed a WWE contract in 2018, was considering an exit, and after the segment with Bron Breakker on Raw, it looks like he was written off of television because he opted not to sign a new deal. The story with Ricochet isn’t anything new within the WWE landscape, he was a guy that would get a brief push or some level of spotlight before he was more or less forgotten about by management. He was a former IC and US champion, but his status within the company was more or less the same throughout the majority of his WWE tenure. Granted, this happened mostly within the Vince McMahon era, but the reality is, there are only so many featured spots in any promotion. Make no mistake about it, the office knows how talented Ricochet is, but if there’s a place for him within the current plans is a different matter. Sure, he could sign a new deal, make good money, and probably remain in that same spot of a lower mid-card guy that has a lot of talent. The flip side is, he can bet on himself, evolve his career somewhere else and then potentially return to the WWE in a better spot in a few years. Keep in mind, there was a time when Drew McIntyre’s claim to fame was as a of member 3MB, and Cody Rhodes was booked as a spinoff of Goldust. They are both booked for championship matches at the pay-per-view this weekend.

Of course, All Elite is the easy answer and that might be exactly where he goes, specifically if he wants to reignite a rivalry with Will Ospreay, as the two had a memorable series of matches in New Japan years ago. Given some of the recent fumbles from All Elite, I’m not sure if Ricochet would immediately sign there or if he’d return to New Japan to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond. Assuming he did well with his WWE paychecks, he probably has the financial stability to consider his options, which is one of the perks of working for the company for the past six years.

It goes without saying that his style would be a better fit for AEW or New Japan, but from a business prospective, Tony Khan would offer him the better money deal. I have to be honest, while I could see Tony paying Ricochet more than his worth (and good for him if he can get that money) to be able to recreate the New Japan series of matches with Ospreay in an AEW ring, outside of that, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if Ricochet would get lost in the shuffle and become just another high spot wrestler on the roster. That’s not a knock against him, he’s much more well-rounded after several years under the WWE umbrella, but rather that the odds suggest that Ricochet will land in the same spot that the vast majority of new acquisitions after a few weeks of exposure, just another name on the roster.

Even if that is the case, it’s very possible that Ricochet uses this opportunity to freshen up his career, and it wouldn’t be shocking if he returns to the WWE in a few years. The biggest take away from all of this is what the series of re-signings suggest about AEW’s standing within the industry. There was a time when All Elite was seen as a place where underutilized could flourish, and it might’ve been true after the initial launch of the company, but that’s not the current narrative for the organization. Cody Rhodes, CM Punk, and Jade Cargill are all in exponentially better spots now than they were in All Elite Wrestling. Beyond a potential money grab, would any of the talents that re-signed with WWE be better off if that make the jump to AEW?

What do you think? Share your thoughts, opinions, feedback, and anything else that was raised on Twitter @PWMania and Facebook.com/PWMania.

Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

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