This is a divisive question to me because I think both men have to overcome a few handicaps:
In RVD's defense, nobody moved like him back in the day. People compared him to Jericho because that was the closest thing to Rob's style, but even then it's apples and oranges with the two. Rob had a unique...
Best answer: This is a divisive question to me because I think both men have to overcome a few handicaps:
In RVD's defense, nobody moved like him back in the day. People compared him to Jericho because that was the closest thing to Rob's style, but even then it's apples and oranges with the two. Rob had a unique style during a time in wrestling where there were maybe 3 styles in the US that got over: Grappling/Textbook wrestling, Sports Entertainment, and Cruiserweight/Lucha Libre. Rob was none of the above. I think it's a bit more fair to compare him to the Hardys or Devon Storm back then considering how unorthodox his style was.
However, his handicap is that professional wrestling has evolved past his in-ring styling. You can see bits of it in a lot of indie wrestlers, but it's not the most exciting thing in their repertoire. Kicks these days look stiffer, rolling sentons on the ground are bordering on transition moves into bigger spots, crazy chair shots are no sold and overdone in some places, and hardly anybody goes down to a frog splash anymore.
In Ricohet's defense, he's a true innovator and still exciting the masses with his in-ring style of hybrid lucha libre and bastard American Cruiserweight/Indie which is a hybrid unto itself. Of the numerous high flyers in the world right now that do crazy stuff off of every surface, Ricochet is of the elite class along with guys like Ospreay and Neville. There are guys in wrestling already emulating Ricochet's style. Guys like Sammy Guevara's gotten loads of heat from fans and even Ricochet over these guys stealing spots he created and perfected to enhance his matches.
However, Ricochet could be viewed by less knowledgeable outsiders of independent wrestling as just another flippidy doo guy, and in a sad way he kind of is, and the more that his move set and innovations assimilate into the common indie vernacular of storytelling in-ring, the less special it will, and has, become.
So, with that long book report out of the way, I'm narrowing it down to what really matters, and that's how each did against their best opponent.
In the foggy airbrushed corner, we have RVD vs Jerry Lynn in Lynn's second historical rivalry, but not his last, although it's probably the one he's going to be remembered for the most. Lynn and RVD created gasps and cheers for the most cynical audience in wrestling in their various encounters. No one had seen such fast paced counter wrestling before, nor had they seen the brutality that both men were willing to dish out with chairs, guardrails, and the bare arena floors. I'll be honest, Lynn vs RVD was the thing that got me to see a redeeming side to ECW. I stuck around for the names who went through, along with crazy Awesome vs Tanaka matches, but RVD and Jerry Lynn became draws for me, as they did for many of the Philly faithful.
In the puma print corner we have Ricochet vs Ospreay. If any combo of two individuals has caused more controversy than these two with their encounters, I don't know who it is. These two went out there and defied gravity and redefined a genre of wrestling in front of an oohing and ahhing Japanese crowd who didn't sit on their hands during the most notable match by any means. My sole argument is that I don't think they fully duplicated the magic of the first match in followup matches. They were great matches, but that first match that pissed off half the internet and elated the other had a charge to it. Something was in the air that made it feel special while you watched it. Ironically enough, there was gravity to the match on a sport's fan emotional level to it. I can't attest to RVD and Jerry Lynn having that aura because ECW's fans only give enthusiasm in inches. Then again, this series of matches against Jerry Lynn made Rob Van Dam a highlight reel that fans did look forward to seeing on the card. I don't know if Ricochet's appeal really grew from him doing essentially what he'd do in a moose lodge in Reseda, CA in front of almost equally as jaded PWG fans whom came to see PWG and not necessarily just one aspect or entertainer involved in it.
I'll say that RVD was more exciting simply because he was peerless in what he did, and that made him Mr. PPV, Mr. Monday Night, The Whole F'n Show. Now, if you put them on the same card today I think it's obvious Rob would draw more fans because he became a name for what he did in the 90's, but on a clean slate with no era bias, Ricochet would be the more exciting wrestler if these were just two jabronis opening up an indie show in 2018. My answer remains RVD, but with that caveat.