The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast welcomed Matt Sydal recently where he sat down with Wrestling Inc. President Raj Giri to talk about his pursuit for the ROH Pure Title and his former tag team partner Ricochet. The interview was recorded before Sydal’s appearance at the AEW All Out pay-per-view this past Saturday.
Ricochet came up in conversation when Sydal pointed out that many indie wrestlers today are primarily focused on getting signed to a big company. While he understands that ambition, he noted that someone like Ricochet developed on the indies for years before signing with WWE.
“Now I think a lot of wrestlers want to get signed so that way they can be with a company where they can learn, but they’re really kind of looking for a contract, and I do think that makes sense,” Sydal said. “But I really think wrestling with pure intentions just wrestling to be a better wrestler, eventually you will get there when the time is right. For example, someone like Ricochet could have been signed to WWE at any time.
“From, let’s say, 2012-15, he was an indie star having the best matches, but it just wasn’t the right time for him to go because he was still growing and maturing on the indies. He might have gone to WWE too early like some other people and made a handful of mistakes that could have kept him from being a millionaire, and I’ll tell you what, Ricochet’s well on his way to doing that. And it just shows by not trying to get a contract too soon, he waited it out and had ideal timing.”
Sydal also named Trevor Lee, a.k.a. Cameron Grimes on NXT, as someone else who did the same thing. He said it’s important for wrestlers to not be a big fish in small pond citing why he tries to “be the worst wrestler on shows” he’s on.
“Another guy, as an example, Trevor Lee, both these guys are insanely talented, but they just had to wait for the right moment before they went to a larger organization,” Sydal noted. “You don’t want to end up being an indie wrestler who wants to be the big fish in a small pond. I always wanted to be the worst wrestler on the shows I was on so I could just learn from the guys above me, and that’s a great way to be in your first few years of wrestling. Then your contract will come because the cream always rises to the top.”
Many fans hope Ricochet can attain a high spot in the RAW main event scene and be treated as a top star, although he hasn’t been used in a significant role lately. On the podcast, Sydal noted that WWE typically only likes a handful of people in the main event scene and rarely gives new people big pushes like they did with Sheamus. He also noted that it took Kofi Kingston 10 years to finally become a world champion.
“I mean the WWE, it’s like there’s only room for two people at the top or four people at the top, and those are guys with 20-25 years invested in WWE time,” Sydal pointed out. “So as an investment grows over time, you look over, for example, a gentleman like Kofi Kingston, it may have taken 10 years for him to become champion, but that’s the exact right amount of time it takes.
“I mean they used to love to boost people to the moon like Sheamus. Come in, boom, OK, you’re the star, force feed him people but really what builds fandom is having fans fall in love with you when they’re 10 years old. And by the time those fans are 22, you’ve built this body of work, and then when you finally do win the belt, Tommy Dreamer style, people lose their minds and go crazy and that enthusiasm is really there.”
Sydal said there is no rush for guys like Ricochet. He believes the most important thing to do is to consistently perform well in front of an audience. He said that while Ricochet is being fed to the top guys in WWE now, there will be a time when it’s time for Ricochet to be the top guy that will be fed. He notes that Ricochet can be a Daniel Bryan top guy who can gain a strong, grassroots following to the point that they are pressuring WWE to the put that the title on him.
“I just think there’s there’s really no rush with these guys as long as you’re working and you’re performing in front of the crowd, there’s no difference to me between if you’re the first match or the last match,” Sydal stated. “It’s more important that you’re in front of the audience. It’s not necessarily as important that you’re the top actor. You’re booked in some crazy way where you never take a loss.
“But in WWE, Ricochet, he’s gonna get fed and fed and fed, but then eventually, it’ll be his his time to eat. And he’s the kind of guy who can fight through these times like really get a really strong grassroots following that will support him. When that time comes when they’re like, ‘oh, we could put the title on him,’ and then his fandom will essentially assault the office. And then, they’ll have no choice, as they did with Daniel Bryan, but to just give him the ball and let them run with it.”
Before teaming up with Ricochet in NJPW, Sydal was tag teaming with Kingston. He talked about how easy it was to team up with Kingston and how fun it was as well citing Kingston’s light-hearted approach in the ring that gained a lot of appreciation from fans.
“We had so much fun. I remember when Kofi and [CM] Punk were tag champions. I remember just thinking, ‘man, me and Kofi, we could do this too, like we would have really good tag team.’ Sort of the three of us travel together a little bit. Tagging with Kofi was easy, and he was just so open to all the ideas. I would just be in the corner during the match, we would be wrestling Primo and Epico, and I would just be shouting ideas. ‘Hey, hey, hang him up on the ropes like this. I’m going to jump up.’ We would have that nonverbal communication as well.
“So in addition to the verbal communication, we also had this nonverbal communication where you would know where your partner is without really having to look back. We weren’t missing tags, unless we met too. Then we missed by a tip, but we really had fun, and the best thing about teaming with Kofi was sort of his light-hearted approach to it, just the way he would bring joy to fans.
“I mean really, when we went out there, we were going out there to put smiles on faces, to get the kids in the crowd, the excitement that they wanted and it’s always been about delivering for the fans, and Kofi and I were really able to get that going especially at a time where it was sort of an underrepresented idea of having kind of two smaller guys tagging together in a world where there were a lot of big heavyweights in the tag division.”
Sydal was also asked to name three of the top high-flyers right now other than himself. Ricochet and PAC were easy answers for Sydal, but then he named many other high-flyers as his favorites.
“Ricochet [and] PAC,” Sydal started off. “All three of the Rascalz, I think, are awesome. You know what, let’s go Ricochet, PAC and Rey Fenix. Rey Fenix is just in a league of his own. He’s for sure at the top of my list. Morrison has got to be up there. So OK, we’ll do four. Morrison’s got to be up there with Ricochet and PAC and Rey Fenix. And Jack Evans, of all time. Jack Evans is possibly the best of all time.”
Sydal’s full interview aired as part of today’s episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. In the interview, Sydal also discussed how it was working with Randy Orton, the infamous RKO spot, returning to ROH for the Pure Tournament and much more. You can listen to the full interview below. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.