Despite wrestling for 15 years, it’s still hard for Ricochet to comprehend working with Shawn Michaels at the WWE Performance Center.
“There’s really no words to even describe that,” he told NZPWI during a media conference call.
“It’s just unbelievable for me to not even just meet him but have him be a part of the development of my character.
“Not just my character. A lot of the people here in NXT, he is a lot of the reason all of us are doing what we’re doing now. So to have him be a part of our development, honestly, is mind-blowing to me that I get to talk to him and bounce ideas off him and he gives me critiques and stuff. It’s incredible for me.”
Michaels will be part of the broadcast team for WWE Halftime Heat, an alternative Super Bowl half-time show on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WWE.com and WWE Network.
The first Halftime Heat, 20 years ago, saw Mankind defeat The Rock for the WWE Championship in an infamous Empty Arena Match.
This year, Ricochet teams with Aleister Black and Velveteen Dream to take on Adam Cole, North American Champion Johnny Gargano, and NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa in six-man tag team action.
In the downtime of what’s expected to be one of the most-watched television events of the year, Halftime Heat lends itself to a lot of first-time viewers for WWE NXT, and sports-entertainment as a whole, Ricochet said.
“I feel like there are a lot of people out there that, if we throw on something special, specifically for half-time, people will be intrigued to watch.
“Especially now, this year, there’s six of us going out there and showing not just the people who already know about us, but we’re hoping to get a bunch of new viewers too.
“We’re hoping the six of us can go out there and show the world what NXT is all about—not really just NXT but sports entertainment altogether.”
While first-time viewers may not be familiar with “The One and Only”, Ricochet has made a name for himself around the world. When the 30-year-old arrived in WWE in April 2018, it was because he had done about all he could on his own, he said.
“I felt like I had started to plateau from learning everything myself. That’s why I wanted to come here because of all the minds that are here and can help me, from Shawn [Michaels] to Triple H to [Matt] Bloom to Michael Hayes, all these guys.
“My expectation was I want to go in there and have all of them help me become better overall, which they have immensely, I feel like.”
With input from a diverse coaching staff in Orlando, Ricochet has gone from strength to strength. “The One and Only” wowed the WWE Universe with his in-ring debut at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans, before eventually defeating Adam Cole to win the North American Championship at TakeOver: Brooklyn. Ricochet held the title for five months before losing in an early Match of the Year contender to Johnny Gargano at TakeOver: Phoenix.
Losing a championship isn’t often a good thing, but Ricochet maintains a positive mindset.
“The beauty within losing the title is, like, now anything is open,” he said.
“Whether I want to go after Tommaso [Ciampa] or I want to go back after Johnny [Gargano], anything is really open. I don’t see it as a setback, I just see it as a step forward in the evolution of Ricochet and seeing what’s next for me.
“As soon as I get an opportunity open whether it’s the NXT Championship or the North American Championship or—I feel like the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic is coming up soon, so whether it’s tag team championships…
“That’s the beauty within losing the championship. Now it’s just like open world, there’s so many avenues that I can go down now.”
An off-air brawl after NXT TakeOver: Phoenix set the stage for Halftime Heat, where Ricochet finds himself across the ring from titleholders Ciampa and Gargano. And while there are many options open to him as 2019 unfolds, one thing’s for certain, he said: Halftime Heat’s victors.
“My prediction? Me, Aleister, and Dream are going to beat those guys. That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler!”
WWE Halftime Heat airs Monday, February 4, on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WWE.com and WWE Network.