NXT Superstar Matt Riddle was today’s guest on E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness and opened up on a myriad of topics related to both MMA and professional wrestling. Highlights appear below.
(Transcription Credit: Michael McClead, WrestleZone)
On What It’s Like Working For Dana White:
Up until him ripping me apart on Fox Sports and being really mean, it was pleasant [laughter]. It seemed like a really nice working relationship. Everybody in the office seemed to like me…at the time in the UFC they would allow fighters to use a lot of prescribed drugs as long as they have a doctor’s order. I was prescribed medical marijuana. They didn’t agree with it because it wasn’t federally legal, but they were allowing other fighters to use prescribed testosterone and prescribed other things. I was like, ‘You’re letting fighters use performance enhancing drugs and I don’t think that’s appropriate,’ and they didn’t want me talking about that. That was probably the only back and forth we had that was negative. Other than that me and Dana had a great relationship and he was super nice…it was fine and then one day things just went really sour.
On Wrestling Audiences Being Slow To Accept Him:
It started off pretty bad. I could work decent. I wasn’t great, but I could work. The crowds didn’t like me. They didn’t respect me. I didn’t put my time in. I was just some MMA guy that was on the same pedestal as guys that were wrestling the indies for 10 years, so I was getting a lot of heat, as one would say. I remember my first match at Evolve 40 and when I came out the crowd chanted, ‘Baby [Brock] Lesnar’ and then the next night in Long Island, the crowd chanted, ‘You can’t wrestle.’ I’ll say this. I wrestled all over, wrestled for Evolve and started getting booked, wrestling for companies like Beyond and CZW and AAW in Chicago and PWG and a bunch of other places just because I started getting better. I started wrestling for PROGRESS in U.K and OTT in Ireland and Rev Pro and by the time I got back to that one building where they said I couldn’t wrestle all they kept chanting was, ‘Bro.’ I was wrestling Ricochet and Tony Neese and all they were chanting was, ‘Bro.’ It was not like I was wrestling terrible matches. It was the lack of me being there long and proving myself. Even in WWE, if you didn’t prove yourself on the indies it’s also like you get crap for it here as well.
On Being Able To Use His Own Personal Creativity In Matches:
It’s the best. I basically get to make a live action fight every time I go out there in front of a live crowd that reacts to my fight. We use a ring, but you can use any platform and that’s why we can and do. It’s just like a movie. It’s a movie.
On Who He’s Most Looking Forward To Wrestling:
In NXT, there’s a laundry list. One that stands out at the top of me that I haven’t had since I was really new in wrestling is Aleister Black. I wrestled him in Evolve when he was Tommy End years ago, but it was my first year in Evolve. Now, he is where he’s at. I’m here and I definitely evolved to a point where I think we can really have a crazy one. Me and Kyle O’Reilly have wrestled all over the world. We have good work. I’ve wrestled Keith Lee. I like wrestling the bigger guys, personally, because I can lay into them harder and then they can dish it back out and I don’t mind. There’s a lot of big guys, but I feel like not a lot of the big guys are in that position right now like the top 5 title contenders. Lars [Sullivan] was in NXT, but now he’s going up. Same thing with Heavy Machinery. They’re going up too and I wouldn’t mind mixing it up with the big Doze. He’s just fantastic and can talk too. He’s hillarious.
On What His Next Steps Are:
Me and Kassius [Ohno] have some unfinished business. I don’t know if we’re gonna finish that in the next coming weeks or maybe we’ll finish it at TakeOver. I don’t know. I know the dates are coming up. You never know what’s going to happen. There’s only so many slots available. I’ll be around. If it’s NXT related, I’ll be there. I’m pretty sure.
On The Possibility Of Entering The 2019 Royal Rumble Match:
I’m really hoping in this new year because I know TakeOver is the same weekend as the Royal Rumble and I’ll be honest, I’m a big Rumble guy. You never know. There might be a spot open. Maybe I get in there. Maybe I make some history. I’m aiming for the stars. Star stallion. Dude, it needs to happen. If not this year, it’s definitely this year, yeah, it should happen.
Readers may listen to Riddle’s full conversation with Edge and Christian below: