(03/02) Ricochet vs. Masato Yoshino (c)
(03/06) Ricochet (c) vs. Uhaa Nation
(03/08) Ricochet vs. T-Hawk
Osaka Bodymaker Colosseum #2 (Osaka, Japan)/Korakuen Hall (Tokyo, Japan)/Nagoya International Conference Hall (Nagoya, Aichi, Japan)
Open the Dream Gate Championship/Open the Dream Gate Championship/T-Hawk Millenial Best of Seven Series
I think this group of three matches from Dragon Gate provides a good snapshot of the quality wrestler that Ricochet has turned himself into.
The first is Ricochet challenging for Dragon Gate’s top singles championship against Yoshino. I haven’t been too into any of the Yoshino I have seen this year. For a guy that is super-fast and agile, he doesn’t really “wow” me. Like any attribute a wrestler can have, quickness and agility are only positive attributes if utilized correctly. Yoshino to me is a guy that has those tools, but doesn’t utilize them in any impactful way. Ricochet also possesses those same qualities but he makes them count. I think you can see some of that in their title match. Yoshino does the La Mistica or runs the ropes fast and I shrug. Ricochet hits a big 630 or counters a move by landing on his feet and he looks like a star doing it. That is a bit vague, but there is a noticeable difference between the two.
Ricochet also stands out in a side-by-side comparison to Yoshino these days because he has a lot of the other small things down. He transitions well. He spaces out his big moves correctly. He sells in a really naturally and engrossing manner. If anyone is still calling Ricochet a pure spot guy, that’s just wrong at this point. He has become a guy with truly high-level spots that are strung together to work in a long singles bout.
Ricochet captures the title here – the first foreigner to do so – and barring an out-of-nowhere run for veterans like Super Shisa or CIMA, he seems to be the Dragon Gate wrestler most qualified to hold the top championship.
The second match is his first title defense against former stable mate, Uhaa Nation. This is less of a one-sided match as Nation is really great as the small, power wrestler in a company full of small, high flyers. He looks like a monster (a small monster, but a monster) next to a guy like Ricochet and appropriately throws him around the ring with a variety of suplexes. Ricochet’s selling is once again top notch, but Uhaa’s limping around on his injured leg is also very effective.
Ricochet makes well-timed comebacks against his more powerful opponent. The leg work is solid and a good choice for the structure of the match. Seeing Ricochet work a power wrestler shows that he could be perfectly fine working all different sorts of guys in a non-Dragon Gate environment. They probably went a few minutes too long but to their credit, the match never quite descended into near fall and kick out madness. Rather it was just a match that probably would have hit a higher peak ending a few minutes earlier, even if there was nothing all that wrong with those “extra” minutes.
The third match is Ricochet working a more compact match in the different role of the veteran against T-Hawk. It is the first match in T-Hawk’s seven match trial series so Ricochet is cast in the role of the proven wrestler and he handles it well. He controls the tempo and the flow of the match, working over T-Hawk and allowing him to get some comebacks and near falls. This is much shorter than the prior two matches which is fine by me. At some point in his career – six months, a year, two years ago – Ricochet could not have led a young wrestler through a match like this, but here he did with little problem.
All three matches are worth seeing although I wouldn’t describe any one of the three as a need to watch. They are probably worth watching together for a chance to see Ricochet cast in a few different roles, all of which he handles confidently and with great success. I imagine that short of going to WWE, he is plenty happy with his current arrangement of US indies and Dragon Gate but some other US promotions (mainly Ring of Honor) are really missing the boat on him. He might not be totally there yet, but he is pretty close to turning himself into the rare wrestler with blow-away spots who knows how to lay out a cohesive match while incorporating them.
Juniors | Worthwhile | Quality & Individual Performance (Ricochet)