What’s in a name?
Everything, if you’re a pro wrestler. Even more as a sports entertainer.
Ricochet, one of the newer members of NXT’s roster, sports a cool name, something birthed years ago, prior to him landing in WWE.
Usually WWE will change a superstar’s name, so the company can trademark or copyright it for business purposes.
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After signing the dotted line of that WWE contract, this amazing talent maintained his well-known naming designation.
“I got to keep it, because I already had the trademark [on it] in the wrestling world,” Ricochet said. “I know it’s been trademarked a lot of other places, but within the wrestling world, it hadn’t been trademarked; so I had it actually trademarked.”
Ricochet said: “They were like, ‘OK, well, that’s cool. You can just keep it.’”
Ricochet then noted: “Really it came down to two things. Whether or not they could trademark it and if Vince [McMahon] liked it or not. So I guess things just fell in line, and I got to keep it, which is awesome to me, because that was like 15 years of me building something that I got to keep and can continue to build upon myself.”
Ricochet, 29, made his pro wrestling debut in 2003. How did he choose the name Ricochet in those early days?
“I had a list of names I wanted to use. Ricochet happened to be one of them,” he explained, “but I really wanted a true name name, like Johnny Gargano, Adam Cole, John Cena.
“When it came down to the time me and my two friends...our first match was that day, and we really didn’t have names, yet,” he said. “They just came up with some random ones -- for them two -- on the spot, and they were really, really, really bad names, and I didn’t want to have a bad name.”
He went to his list and chose Ricochet.
“I really didn’t even like it at first,” he said, but it grew on him, and he really likes it now.
Even though he likes his name a lot, Ricochet, the team player, prepared himself for the WWE way.
“There was a little bit of talk about changing my name,” he said. “I had a list of a couple of names that I had written down, because they told me I might have to change my name, which I was OK with.”
No need to ponder those other names anymore. It’s back to business in the ring, because as Ricochet, the talented superstar is billed for a match against another tremendous talent, Undisputed Era’s Adam Cole, for the NXT North American Title during NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 on Saturday, Aug. 18 from Barclays Center.
“We had a match back in like 2008, maybe even earlier, for Evolve,” Ricochet said, “and neither one of us was good at all. Then [a few years later] in a couple of six-man tag matches in PWG [Pro Wrestling Guerrilla], it was me and [Will] Ospreay and Matt Sydal versus the Young Bucks and Adam Cole, and then one in Japan, a six-man tag match, but never a singles match, until we got here [NXT].”
Cole vs. Ricochet highlighted some of the local live NXT shows in Florida.
“[The matches] were pretty good,” Ricochet said. “I felt really, really good about them. So now if we can just take some of that and add some mileage to it...Adam Cole is a top, top tier talent; so it’s cool that I get to get into the ring and share that with a guy I came up with in the industry.”
On Twitter, he cites himself as King Ricochet.
He’s very good, wrestling throughout the world, but is he king of the squared circle?
Don’t know, but it’s fair to say one place he is king is Paducah.
Ricochet is from Paducah, Ky., about 200 mile west of Mud Lick, home of WWE Hall of Famer Hillbilly Jim.
Hard to say who is the wrestling king of the state. It may be a generational thing, but as for the city, King Ricochet is proud to be from Paducah.
“We got movie theaters. We got bowling alleys. We got a trampoline park, Noble Park with tennis courts, basketball courts, swimming pool. We got drive-in movie theaters. Not too far away is Land Between the Lakes, which I believe is the biggest man-made lakes in America.”
“It’s not as small as people think it is,” he said. “There’s so much to do in Paducah, Kentucky...Paducah’s pretty cool, man.”
Ricochet began playing football in third grade in Paducah and continued into high school. Leaving football behind, he started training to become a pro wrestler as a teenager.
A Paducah grocery store of all places led to his foray into the pro version of wrestling.
“One of my friend’s dad owned a grocery store, and one of the kids who worked at the grocery store was a wrestler,” he said. “We got tickets to one of the shows, and then we stayed after, and they asked us if we wanted to get in there and train a little bit. They saw that we were pretty athletic. We stuck with it and just went and trained every single week, like three days a week after that.”
And the rest is history.
Ricochet challenges Adam Cole of the Undisputed Era for the NXT North American Title at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 on Saturday, Aug. 18 streaming live on WWE Network from Barclays Center.
The event, which broadcasts 7 p.m. ET, is a major part of WWE’s mega SummerSlam Weekend.
Ricochet debuted in 2003 in Brockport, Ill. for Chaotic Pro Wrestling, the place of his initial training.
Ricochet has wrestled throughout the world including stints with Chikara, Dragon Gate USA, Dragon Gate (Japan), Evolve, Lucha Underground, New Japan Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla.
PWI ranked him No.15 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2016.
NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4
NXT North American Champ Adam Cole vs. Ricochet.
Ricochet has taken umbrage with Adam Cole’s reign as NXT North American Champion, gunning for a title bout against the Undisputed ERA frontman and accusing The Panama City Playboy of ducking him.
Duck no more. NXT’s best square off in Barclays Center.
Drop kick-off show begins 6 p.m. ET on WWE Network.
- My Pro Wrestling on the Web and Social Media
YouTube: jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel)
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