Pretty much ever since the first season of Lucha Underground dropped, there has been mutual interest — very intense mutual interest — between WWE and world-renowned high-flying indie wrestling superstar Ricochet.
The man himself had been very vocal about his desire to follow in the footsteps of his roommate Apollo Crews and head on over to the biggest company in the world. After all, there was very little left for the man to accomplish after becoming a big deal in New Japan … and in pretty much any independent promotion you can think of.
Way back in July, Ricochet clarified his contract situation with Lucha Underground, and had to wait until the third season finished airing, and then sit out the 90-day no-compete period. He’s actually been a free agent (except for televised companies in North America) since at least February of last year.
On Tuesday (just three days after wrestling his final PWG date in Reseda), WWE.com officially announced that Ricochet has signed with WWE and joined the Performance Center.
Better known by the ring name Ricochet, Mann, 29, of Paducah, Ky., officially reported today to the WWE PC in Orlando, Fla.
The decorated high-flyer has captured countless titles over his 14-year career, including championships on three separate continents. Among his many accolades, Mann has twice won Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s annual Battle of Los Angeles tournament, and he is only the second American in history to win New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament. (The first was WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero.)
Standing 5-foot-9 and weighing 188 pounds, Mann brings an astonishing assortment of aerial moves to the ring. He first earned notoriety in Japan for an eye-popping double-moonsault, and his 630° senton remains one of the most potent weapons in his arsenal. Mann, who credits Guerrero, Rey Mysterio and The Rock as three of his in-ring influences, was inspired to pursue sports-entertainment after watching The Great One and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin do battle at WrestleMania XV.
If there’s ever been someone ready to debut on NXT (or perhaps WWE proper) television right away, it’s hard to think of someone more qualified than Ricochet. NXT is taped up through the next TakeOver event, which happens next Saturday(!) in Philadelphia, but … it’s entirely possible Ricochet could appear in the Royal Rumble.
Oh god, it’s possible for Ricochet to be in the Royal Rumble. [prepares pants]
If anyone might not be familiar with the man, acquaint yourself with the two-time Lucha Underground Champion, two-time Battle of Los Angeles winner and one-time PWG World Champion, three-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion, Best of the Super Juniors 2014, participant in a Wrestling Observer Newsletter five-star match, and person who has held essentially every title in Dragon Gate AND Dragon Gate USA.