Voices of Wrestling has learned through multiple sources that Ricochet, who recently signed a contract with Lucha Underground, could soon be finishing up with DGUSA/EVOLVE.
Following his successful Open the Freedom Gate title defense at EVOLVE 34 against Uhaa Nation, Ricochet told the crowd “Lots of rumors going around. Ricochet is here to stay.”
But does smoke equal fire? While Ricochet’s Lucha Underground contract will preclude him from working for other promotions with television or appearing on iPPV, Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported this week that EVOLVE had worked out a deal with LU that would allow him to work for both groups. He will also be permitted to and will continue to take non-television and iPPV independent bookings. Ricochet has not been booked with Dragon Gate in Japan since July, although that is likely unrelated to his contract with Lucha Underground, and may have to do with another “major offer” he has on the table. It is no secret that New Japan has interest in him, and with Lucha Underground having him locked up stateside, a potential offer from New Japan is realistically the only other company that would make sense.
One source told us “From his mouth, he was saying he’s finishing up with wwnlive ASAP. He had a couple of major offers on the table, and schedules would conflict.”
One of those offers was presumably the Lucha Underground offer. It is entirely possible that the reported deal between EVOLVE and LU to keep him in both places was cut after that point. It’s also possible that the reported deal is just a smokescreen.
Another source indicated that a planned unification match between Ricochet and EVOLVE champion Drew Galloway may take place this fall, which could potentially spell the official end of the DGUSA brand. The last set of DGUSA shows took place this past April in New Orleans during WrestleMania weekend, and those shows featured no Japanese Dragon Gate talent. There have only been four total DGUSA shows held this year, compared to nine in both 2012 & 2013, and nineteen shows in 2011. The only Japanese Dragon Gate talent to appear in DGUSA this year has been Yosuke Santa Maria, who worked a set of New York City shows in February. A second source indicated that the issues that prevented Japanese talent from making the April dates have since been worked out, and that there are plans to feature Japanese talent this coming April at the WrestleMania weekend shows at minimum. What this would mean for the overall future of the DGUSA brand is unclear.
In more Dragon Gate roster news, Uhaa Nation is not expected to return to Japan until late 2014 or early 2015, which may explain his curious prelim level booking over the summer following what appeared to be the beginnings of a big push this past spring which included a March Open the Dream Gate title match vs then champion Ricochet (although he was booked stronger on his most recent tour).
Quinn “Moose” Ojinnaka is also in the process of completing booking obligations with EVOLVE before moving on to ROH, where he signed a contract in June.