WWE NXT has been loved by fans for over a year now and a big reason for that is the emergence of NXT Champion Finn Balor as a complete package when it comes to what he delivers for the NXT fans. WWE clearly likes Balor and there has been plans to use him in big ways as often as possible. It is uncertain when WWE will decide on him losing the NXT Title, but the plan is for him to hold onto it for at least until the first of the year. However, plans can always change.
WWE has been able to bring in some of the top wrestlers from across the world and while no one expects WWE to get everyone they target, there is a good chance they bring in anyone they go after. Many want to be with WWE in their career and waiting off for a while has cost many their opportunity. Some came in late and weren’t able to live up to what fans would have wanted.
WWE is not the only game in town though. Clearly NJPW has started to become an international great, but they have always been a special promotion for the Japanese. Money is good there and few people complain about the working conditions. Few horror stories come out of there compared to WWE, yet many have come over from there with success. Balor was one of their top stars and his transition into WWE has not only been smooth, it has been kind of remarkable.
While TNA Wrestling does still exist in the United States, Ring of Honor is the only true American company outside of WWE where you know you will get good money for the work you do. However that could change with WWE’s relationship with WWN.
It is not a wonder that many go to Mexico or Japan to make money if they don’t want to be with WWE, as the American companies outside of WWE cannot pay as much and even if they can, it is not worth being there. One promotion has stepped up to challenge this however in Lucha Underground. Some stars we’ve seen before like Johnny Mundo, formerly John Morrison in WWE. Konnan is also present and Mike Striker even helps to calls the action. The promotion is very fun and possibly one of their brightest stars is Prince Puma, known to Indy fans as Ricochet.
According to The Wrestling Observer, WWE has kept their eye on Lucha Underground and have seen some stars there that they would love to pick up such as Angelico and of course Puma. Ricochet actually lives with WWE NXT talent Apollo Crews in Orlando, Florida. There was a lot of talk about him in the past when WWE brought in Neville, however they didn’t jump on signing Ricochet at the time due to a difference in how they were signing guys then.
Of course this led to Ricochet working other Indy areas in California and across the world, which eventually led him to Lucha Underground where he truly was able to capture everyone’s attention.
WWE wanted to bring Ricochet in so badly that they were willing to fast track him to the main event level and have him face off with NXT Champion Finn Balor. WWE wanted to continue the NXT dominance and with a person like Ricochet, that was easy to do. The idea was that he would be presented in a similar way to how they presented Balor early on, so there wouldn’t be any start over. Sadly, this will not be happening.
Lucha Underground is coming back for a second season, which surprised many within WWE. The announcement was held off for so long that it did not seem likely. Ricochet ended up deciding to stay and actually signed a 7 year deal with them, which eliminates WWE from going after him for a long time. At least as long as Lucha Underground lasts.
While he is 27 years of age, he would be older than WWE would like when his deal expires. He’d be near 34 years old, which would eliminate him from some opportunities he would have right now with WWE.
Plus his in-ring style will eventually slow down, and the excitement he brings at 27 may not be as good at 34. However, this is just about a mirror image story to Finn Balor who turned WWE down in his 20’s as well to stay with NJPW. While NJPW was of course doing okay at the time and able to pay well, that didn’t mean the decision was without it’s downfall. Meanwhile it took El Rey Network forever and a day to tell us about a second season of Lucha Underground, so it a third season may be doubtful at this point. Of course this depends on the success of the second season and if the revenue is worth it. You never truly know.
Ricochet may not be out of WWE for another 7 years like Balor was with NJPW. It is interesting that both held a Prince title in their respective promotions as well. A story is easy to do, so WWE will go for it whenever they get the chance.
[IMG Credits: thesteelcage.com, freaksugar.com, finnbalor.com]