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Did Ricochet go from being a First-Round Draft Pick to a WWE Bust?

Like many promising prospects in all walks of athletics, Ricochet is another example of a phenom who has failed to live up to the fawning forecasts about his future

When Ricochet signed with World Wrestling Entertainment in 2018, he was widely regarded as one of the best pro wrestling prospects to come along in a very long time. His exploits had earned him the nickname, 'The King of the Indies', and he often appeared with a crown adorning his head.

It was a long time in the making. The fabulous phenom had been rumored to be in the fold for quite some time before he finally put paper to pen. With his million-dollar smile and flashy, acrobatic skill set, the young high-flyer was destined to shoot across the WWE horizon.

Unfortunately, things haven't quite turned out the way many thought they would. For as incredible as his vertical leap may be, Ricochet has yet to reach that kind of height. In fact, some might argue that his long-awaited contract signing has been the biggest highlight of his entire career with the promotion. While that may be a bit harsh, he's certainly fallen short of initial expectations.

While it has fallen short of the hype, Ricochet has still had a good career in WWE thus far

The Paducah, Kentucky, native is no slouch in terms of singles achievements. He's captured the NXT North American Title, as well as the WWE United States and Intercontinental Championships, all on one occasion. So, he knows what it's like to have his eyes on the prize.

Unfortunately, those kinds of victories have become much too far and few between for someone who was once labeled as a surefire megastar. While he may be smaller in stature, many fans and observers felt that he could be a main eventer in the new atmosphere of WWE.

Who knows? He might even have just enough skill and swagger to justify a run as a World Champion. Just a few years ago, the sky was the limit for this gravity-defying athlete.

In all forms of athletics, there are prodigies who never prosper once they reach the pinnacle of their profession

Anyone who has studied the draft process in major team sports has heard the many stories of former amateur stars who never panned out as pros. No matter their level of talent, something de-railed their chances at glory. For every Peyton Manning, there is a Ryan Leaf. Some make it big, and others implode. And no one seems to know why.

Some of it may be personal or it may be political. It might be rampant substance abuse or just a case of being a deer caught in headlights. Every can't-miss prospect has the potential to become a punchline.

Years ago, two young athletes were blossoming at the same time. Both were far advanced beyond anyone in their age group. Michelle Wie was supposed to be the female version of Tiger Woods. Meanwhile, Freddy Adu was being heralded as the next Pele. This was 2003... 20 years ago.

Both of them were 14 years old. And both of them were already looked upon as future royalty in their chosen sports. Two decades later, and most sports fans have either forgotten or never even heard of them. They are just two similar stories out of a million.

Ricochet is sadly starting to look like one of those talents who look good on paper, and gets off to a quick start, only to fall back into the pack and look just plain ordinary. He had so much hype at the start of his WWE run, only to come back down to earth. In fact, he's become somewhat like the 'Gregg Jefferies of WWE.' (random 1980s New York Mets reference)

Ricochet can still regain his lofty status

At just 34 years of age, the WWE Superstar still has a lot of time left in the squared circle. He'll have plenty of time to boost his legacy, especially if he goes on a huge winning streak. That may have already started, as he has been being booked strong lately, and grabbed a victory over Top Dolla to qualify for a spot in the Royal Rumble. That's great news for those in the WWE Universe who want to see him make a comeback.

In the NFL, quarterback Trent Dilfer went from a first-round bust with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to eventually redeem himself by winning a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens. Alex Smith was drafted with the first choice overall in 2005 but didn't have a winning season until six years later. He went on to be a three-time Pro Bowl player.

For even the very best of the best, success often takes time. A terrific athlete may excel at every single level until they reach the very top. Then they have to marinate for a while, gaining the right amount of seasoning to be a success. Ricochet looks more and more like one of those kinds of guys.

He's been with the promotion for over five years now, and he's basically had a spotlight on him since day one. While it's definitely not time to completely write him off, Ricochet must continue to steal the show. Not only to impress the WWE Universe, but also the creative team. If he can gain the confidence of everyone 'in the back', there's no doubt that he can finally grasp his enormous potential.

It's time for Ricochet to distance himself from the word 'potential', and move closer toward the term 'success'.

So far so good in 2023, as he continues to feed off his current hot streak. Maybe this is his year to finally break out and be the All-Star we all think he can be.


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