Ricochet let us behind the curtain on the day he wrestled Rey Mysterio.
Ricochet describes himself as the “Future of Flight,” but he is also the future of pro wrestling. The talented 28-year-old, who stars for Lucha Underground as Prince Puma, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and PWG returned to the road last week for his first full weekend of wrestling since the second week of June.
Ricochet allowed Sports Illustrated complete access to rituals and preparation before his XWA match in Providence against the legendary Rey Mysterio. What follows is a running account of that hectic day.
2:45 a.m.: Arrived at Marriott in Providence with girlfriend Tessa Blanchard.
“I worked Cody Rhodes on Friday and then Flip Gordon on Saturday in Troy, N.Y., with Northeast Wrestling,” said Ricochet, whose real name is Trevor Mann. “It was outdoors in a big baseball stadium under the stars, and I’d never done anything quite like that. With the breeze, it was fantastic. Outside of a match with PWG, June 11 was my last show. I’ve really taken the last month off.”
3:15 a.m.: Finished showering, retired for the evening.
“It took everything I had to take a shower,” said Ricochet. “My whole body hurt. I probably should have had a cup of coffee during the drive from New York to Providence, but I never drink coffee. I want to be a ‘coffee guy,’ but I just haven’t started.
“I talk with Sami Callihan, the Young Bucks, and Zack Sabre all the time, and they’re always drinking coffee. I’ll be 29 in October, so I don’t know if it’s too late to start, but I just never think about having a coffee in the morning. Tessa is a coffee drinker.”
10:00 a.m.: Heard Tessa awake, yet chose to stay in bed.
“Yeah, there was no way I was getting up,” admitted Ricochet. “I slept through the whole night. I set an alarm to wake up at 11:30, but I slept so well I didn’t even get up. Sleeping comes easy to me. As soon as I lay my head down, I fall asleep like flicking a switch. Tessa woke up earlier, but I woke up about ten minutes before my ride.”
Ricochet also smiled when discussing Blanchard’s role in WWE’s Mae Young Classic women’s tournament.
“Tessa’s making her way,” said Ricochet. “Only four years in, but she’s making plays. Of course, I’m proud of her and happy for her.”
12:10 p.m.: Awoke twenty minutes before his ride to the arena.
“The first thought that entered my mind was, ‘I’m wrestling Rey Mysterio tonight!’” said Ricochet. “I’m really excited about this one, and I think Rey is excited, too. He is one of my idols, and it’s only the second time we’ve ever wrestled, and my first without the Prince Puma match in Lucha Underground.
“Rey is so cool and chill. I’ve been watching him for so long, since I was 11 years old, so I know what he does. Not to take anything away from his career, but I feel like he’s better today than he’s ever been. I know what he does, so we’ll get together and it won’t take as long to put together the match.”
12:45 p.m.: Arrived at Brown University’s Meehan Auditorium for XWA’s Wrestlution ’17, greeted friends and peers such as Jeff Cobb, Paul London, Matt Striker, and Flip Gordon.
“I wanted to stop at a gas station for an energy drink and a Muscle Milk,” said Ricochet. “The guy from the promotion driving said, ‘Don’t worry about it, we’ll have it picked up for you.’ When we got here, the guy forgot. But it was cool because I walked to a CVS, and I got to pass all the people lined up waiting for the show, and they were so excited.
“I’ve been to XWA a couple times. One of the matches was me and Apollo Crews vs. Tommaso Ciampa and Eddie Edwards, so that was pretty cool. Today I’m booked against one of the best in the world.”
1:00 p.m.: Ricochet re-entered the arena and began inspecting the ring, but more specifically, the ring ropes.
“The ring ropes have broken on me four different times,” said Ricochet. “I feel pretty comfortable when the ring breaks. It broke on me against Drew Gulak, broke on me again against AR Fox, and, of course, against Will Ospreay.”
Ricochet and Will Ospreay battled during the U.K.-based What Culture Pro Wrestling iPPV on February 12 when the ropes snapped almost immediately after the match began.
“Will Ospreay whispered to me, ‘What do we do?’” said Ricochet. “I laughed. What could we do? Just continue to do what we had planned.
“Will got to the point where he said, ‘Let’s just take the top rope off,’ so that’s what we did. People asked how I knew so instinctively to put the top rope down and then do a flip ‘off’ the top rope, but that’s my go-to when the ring breaks.
“We did all the same stuff, like springboards, off the second rope. That’s wrestling, expect the unexpected. It was actually pretty cool. We both said, ‘Screw it!’ when it broke, and we each did a double pump kick to each other. Early in the match, Will said, ‘These ropes are crap,’ and he was right, but we gave the best match we could give. I felt like we did really well adjusting.”
1:30 p.m.: Ricochet also wrestles under a mask as Prince Puma on Lucha Underground. Rumors have circulated that he is unhappy with his LU contract, which prevents him from wrestling on television in the United States until all of Lucha’s third season airs on El Rey Network. Ricochet even cut a promo on New Japan Live’s G1 Special from Long Beach, Calif., where he referred to Lucha Underground as “p---ks.”
“I don't have any hard feelings against anyone at Lucha Underground,” said Ricochet. “That was just me poking at them a little bit, you know? If I was really mad at them, I would have said something more meaningful than ‘pricks’. That's not even that bad of an insult, it was just more me poking at them and ruffling some feathers.”
Ricochet is under contract to Lucha Underground until the end of Season 3, which is tentatively scheduled to conclude in September. If he decided not to re-sign with the company, a 90-day non-compete clause would then be enforced.
“My contract finished last June,” explained Ricochet. “I’m on the no-compete for the rest of Lucha Underground’s season three, then I have 90 days after that.
“I can be on any TV as long as it’s not American TV. I can work indies, I can do iPPVs, most anything, really, just not on American TV. I’m not sure about a Season 4 with Lucha Underground. I’m busy until October, and I might take November off to heal up again. I really want to work on my diet and get myself in the best shape possible.”
2:00 p.m.: After mentioning that he recently went golfing with Sami Callihan and Tessa’s father Tully Blanchard, Ricochet is asked who would be his partners in his real-life version of The Four Horsemen.
“That’s hard,” said Ricochet. “I have so many guys I consider my brothers, but it would have to be me, Sami [Callihan], Uhaa [Apollo Crews], and Moose. Rich Swann is right there, too, that’s a hard for one me. I don’t have a lot of people I consider close, but I have a handful. That’s all you need.”
When asked for someone who would absolutely not be in his “Horseman”, Ricochet did not hesitate with a reply.
“Flip Gordon,” said Ricochet, of the oft-maligned high-flyer from the Young Bucks’ Being the Elite YouTube series. “Definitely not Flip Gordon.”
2:30 p.m.: Ricochet discusses WWE’s cruiserweight division while settling in for a snack at the XWA’s makeshift catering set-up for the wrestlers behind the curtain
“I don’t have to eat light before I wrestle,” said Ricochet, who enjoyed a mid-day meal from the XWA catering of broccoli, crackers, and carrots. “I’m not saying I would, but I could eat a Big Mac right now and feel fine. I’ve never had the ‘I’m going to throw-up feeling’ in the ring, but I do get headaches after I wrestle if I don’t eat.”
The subject of WWE’s cruiserweight division then entered the conversation. Ricochet was asked, in light of Austin Aries’ recent departure from WWE, if he ever watches 205 Live or envisions how he would perform among the cruisers.
“When I watch 205 Live, I don’t watch to think about how I’d be used,” said Ricochet. “I’m just watching to enjoy seeing my boys. I really look to watch Akira Tozawa, and I’m watching to see Rich Swann and Neville. If I ever go to WWE, I feel like they could get some use out of me. I’ll be myself no matter where I go.
“I love watching wrestling. I love seeing Finn Balor on the TV, I love seeing Sami Zayn. I was fortunate to work with a lot of the guys who are now in WWE. My first match in PWG was with Cesaro, and if it wasn’t for my matches with Sami Zayn, who was El Generico, I wouldn’t have kept my job with PWG. Sami really put me on the map in PWG, and I still think he’s one of the best out there. The whole wrestling landscape is pretty cool right now. Even TNA has Moose, Dezmond Xavier, Matt Sydal, and Trevor Lee, and there are all these guys—Sami Callihan, AR Fox, Joey Ryan—doing great. Everywhere you go, wrestling is so great nowadays. That’s so cool.
“It feels weird to me that I’m the one who is now main-eventing or headlining shows. I still don’t see myself as that. I still feel like I’m not where Sami Zayn or Finn Balor or Kevin Owens were on the independent scene; I still feel like I’m sh---- little Trevor, still this 16-year-old kid.”
3:00 p.m.: Ricochet greets Rey Mysterio, who shares his enthusiasm for the upcoming match.
“I know I’ll have to put in work against Ricochet,” said Mysterio. “That makes my thinking process quicker, because I know I’ll need to be on point. A match like this takes me back to the beginning of my career.”
The 42-year-old Mysterio was asked if he sees any similarities between Ricochet and himself when he was younger.
“Most definitely, I see a lot of Rey Mysterio inspiration behind Ricochet,” said Mysterio. “That fuels me up and makes me want to do better than I was when I was the Rey Mysterio back in the day. He’s a different breed, man, and I enjoy stepping into the ring with him.”
3:30 p.m.: Ricochet smiles after his brief meeting with Mysterio, noting that the legendary Mysterio comes as advertised.
“I was talking to Flip Gordon about Rey last night,” mentioned Ricochet. “If anyone in wrestling had the right to be a d---, it would be Rey. He could be if he wanted to and we’d still love him, but he is legit the nicest guy I’ve ever met.
“Rey actually let me drive his Maserati once. He left the keys for me when he took his family out for dinner. I was really scared to drive it, but that shows the type of person he is. I don’t even know if I would let my mama drive my Maserati if I had one. Rey is so nice and respectful, and that’s the guy I want to be in wrestling.”
4:00 p.m.: Before meeting with Mysterio to go over the logistics of the match, Ricochet mentions that his look consists of a shaved head and new tattoo.
“I’ll be well-groomed tonight,” said Ricochet, who is fresh off a beard trim and head-shave from two days prior. “I’m going bald anyway, so I just had my barber shave it down. I kind of got tired of having hair. If I’m going to be like The Rock, I may as well go bald, right?
He also shows off a new tattoo he got in Japan.
“I just got this Dragon Gate logo on my right elbow,” he said. “One of my friends in Japan took me, War Machine, Juice Robinson, and David Finlay to get tattoos. We went as brothers, so this tattoo meant even mean more, but we all were hurting after it. If someone ever tells you they got a tattoo and it didn’t hurt, they’re lying; they all f---ing hurt.”
4:30 p.m.: On the subject of Japan, Ricochet is asked about teaming with Ryusuke Taguchi in New Japan Pro Wrestling, who replaced Matt Sydal as his partner after Sydal’s legal troubles in Japan for suspicion of marijuana smuggling.
“Taguchi is the coolest guy ever,” said Ricochet. “Totally different than Sydal, but he’s the funniest guy in the ring. He just has so much charisma. I’m happy to be part of a team with him, though I miss wrestling with Sydal. I’ve learned so much from Sydal.
“Sydal and I are wrestling against one another for WhatCulture in England, but it’s harder to watch now because of all the YouTube restrictions. Yes, Youtube is being a bunch of p---ks about wrestling.”
5:00 p.m.: In the Brown men’s hockey room locker room, surrounded by an eclectic mix of wrestlers chatting, texting, and eating, Ricochet meets with Mysterio to lay out the match. Mysterio has his own pre-match yoga warm-up, while Ricochet puts on his headphones to stretch.
“I used to listen to music to psyche myself up, but no more,” said Ricochet. “I listen to ROMWOD, which is a range of motion workout. It’s like a yoga thing. I used to not stretch too much, but it’s so important for me to stretch now. ROMWOD is 20 minutes of stretching. Before I put my gear on, I get a stretch. I listen to the narrator walk me through the stretching, then I chill out and relax with the boys.”
The conversation quickly shifts to the more personal aspects of Ricochet’s life, yet with his match looming, the topic quickly returns to wrestling.
“I’m going to my 10-year high school reunion on July 28, and I just bought a new car,” said Ricochet. “It’s a 2010 Mustang, and Tessa and I are going to drive the car from Kentucky to North Carolina. There is a company called Retrobuilt, and they took the 2010 body off the car and replaced it with a 1969 model body. It’s white, drives like a new car, but it has that retro muscle car look. I got a great price because the guy knew I would cherish it. It’s my dream car, and I’m getting it through wrestling. Wrestling has allowed me so much.”
Another reason behind Ricochet’s smile is the fact that he just spent a good chunk of the summer with his 8-year-old son.
“I just had my son for two weeks,” he said. “He is the coolest, sweetest little boy. I just bought one of those hoverboard segways for him, and I was using it the other day at my house. I was drinking some amino acids and thought to myself, ‘It’s amazing what wrestling has done for me.’ I never thought I’d be here. I only started because my friend and I did a backyard show, and I thought the guys were so cool. Fast forward 15 years, and I’m wrestling Rey Mysterio.”
7:00 p.m.: As a perplexed building operations member looks on, Ricochet finds a quiet spot near the Zamboni toward the back of the hockey rink before his match with Mysterio.
“Pre-match, I go off into a corner by myself,” said Ricochet, who then poured water on his head. “This is the time to pace, drown out all my thoughts, and get into the zone. Once the music hits, here we go.”
Ricochet also noted that the crowd will play a critical factor in the success of his match.
“So much of how I’m feeling is based off the crowd. I feed off them and they energize us. When they’re feeling it when we’re in the ring, that’s when we’re feeling it, too. So I’m feeling out the crowd for their energy as soon as I walk toward the ring.”
7:30 p.m.: Main event with Rey Mysterio.
Ricochet enters first, sporting that new clean-cut look, ready to prove himself against one of the most recognizable wrestlers in the world.
“I felt the first rush of adrenaline as soon as I threw my hood off,” said Ricochet. “That’s when it began.”
The rest of the talent peeks through a curtain to watch, while some wrestlers subtly sit in the crowd to watch two of the best in the business ply their trade.
Ring announcer Rich Palladino introduces Ricochet as the “Future of Flight” before introducing Mysterio. The masked superstar carries on Bret Hart’s old tradition of giving a pair of his sunglasses to a fan by putting a mask on a pint-sized fan ringside (who refused his mother’s pleas to take off the mask during the match), and Ricochet is in the ring clapping for Mysterio.
“I saw one guy boo Rey Mysterio, and I wanted security to throw that man out of the building,” said Ricochet. “How do you boo Rey Mysterio? He’s so smooth, he’s in the best shape of his life, and he’s better than ever. Rey captivates you when he’s in the ring.”
The two opponents shake, and the match begins with Mysterio on the offensive.
“It’s all about finding the right flow,” explained Ricochet. “Each match is a story you need to tell, and we worked on finding the best way to tell that story.”
The match turned in Ricochet’s favor five minutes into the affair. Ricochet unleashed a modified torture rack at the five-minute mark, which led to the set-up of the People’s Moonsault, which is a play off The Rock’s People’s Elbow.
Despite his status as one of the premiere high-flyers in wrestling, Ricochet used the match as an opportunity to show he is multi-dimensional in the ring.
“I didn’t deliver one move off the top rope, and that was by design,” said Ricochet. “My style nowadays isn’t so much high-flying. It’s a hybrid mix of hard-hitting and a fast pace. My style is evolving, and I try to give as much action as possible. Again, I didn’t go to the top rope, I didn’t dive, but I still feel like I gave a good performance and people enjoyed the match.”
The 14-minute match, which was far more physical than many anticipated, featured a memorable ending sequence.
Mysterio hit his third (and final) 619, then attempted a mini splash off the second rope. Ricochet scouted the move, shifted his hips and turned, and shifted the momentum. Ricochet pushed Mysterio into the ropes, delivered a roundhouse with a jumped knee, and finished off Mysterio with an inverted Rock Bottom called King’s Landing.
“Working with Rey is a distinct honor,” said Ricochet. “He’s one of the greatest of all time.”
Mysterio holds Ricochet’s hand high, selling the beating as the two then speak honestly and intimately about the pleasure of working together.
“This is a special moment for me,” Mysterio says into the microphone in front of a standing only crowd. “This man, Ricochet, I take my hat off to him. It’s the people like Ricochet who keep pushing me in this business, so I just want to say, ‘Thank you.’ You make me put out my best in the ring. I’m not here to prove something to myself, but to entertain these fans. That is why I got into this business in the first place, and because of you, that is why I am still here.”
8:30 p.m.: Mysterio asks the camera crew for a copy of the match.
Mysterio is disappointed that he cannot receive footage of the match so that he can watch it on his flight, but he is reassured that he will get the film.
“Ricochet is so creative and innovative with his style,” said Mysterio. “He caught me off-guard a couple times, especially once when he hip tossed me, did a cartwheel, rolled me up with a package, then stood up and hit me with this inverted suplex.
“The reason I just asked the camera guy for a copy of the match is because I can appreciate moments like these a lot more now. I’ll also share it with my son who is eventually going to break into the business. I’ll use this match to educate him to explain why we did this and why certain parts of the match happened. The best way to learn is to watch people you love, and Ricochet is one of the best. He brings out the best in me.”
9:00 p.m.: Ricochet and Mysterio hug on their way out of the building, both unaware of the next time they will meet one another in the ring.
“Rey is one of the most genuinely kind people in wrestling,” said Ricochet. “I truly hope we have the chance to wrestle each other again.”
Ricochet then shared that wrestling Mysterio was one of the highlights of his career:
“From ECW to WCW to WWE, I always looked up to this man,” said Ricochet. “Even before Rey was my friend, he was my mentor. Rey is an inspiration, and I am lucky to call him my friend. He’s in the best shape he’s ever been, and he can still go better than anybody today. It’s an honor and a privilege to share a ring with him. I appreciate everything he’s done, and I cannot say ‘Thank you’ enough.”
10:00 p.m.: Dinner of buffalo chicken pizza, brownies, and bottled water back at the Providence Marriott with Tessa before packing for Kentucky.
Ricochet turns introspective when asked about his evolution in wrestling.
“I try to be an all-around wrestler,” said Ricochet. “If you put me in there with Zack Sabre, I can wrestle with him. Put me in there with Chris Hero and Sami Callihan, I’ll fight with them. Put me with Will Ospreay, I’ll fly with him. It’s all about the way I do what I do.
Before packing for his flight in the morning back home to Kentucky, Ricochet explained that his career, despite already lasting 14 years, has only just begun.
“I feel the best is yet to come. I’ve had a long 14 years in wrestling to get to this point. I just main-evented a show with Rey Mysterio, but there is a lot more to look forward to, and there are a lot more doors I want to open.”