NXT Superstar Matt Riddle has become a staple of WWE’s black-and-gold brand since signing with the company in 2018. In an interview with PWInsider.com, ‘The Original Bro’ looked back on his journey to NXT as well as his relationship with the WWE Universe.
Riddle explained how, despite his career in UFC and MMA, he wasn’t a big enough star within the sport to get an instant “round of publicity.” Because of that, he committed to travelling the world, honing his craft on the indie scene.
“[…] you’re still going to have to grind through the Indies and just honestly it was years and years on the Indies where I just kept working,” Riddle explained. “UK shows, Canada, Mexico, America, Ireland, Germany, until the point where it was my goal because I knew I needed to do this is, that’s where I had the trial with WWE earlier, they’re like, ‘we can’t sign you because of your past,’ but then I knew I had to become undeniable. I knew I had to make everybody want me or need me to get a job. And that’s what I did until I worked hard enough for every company under the sun was offering me a contract.”
When it comes to connecting with fans, Riddle credits the fact that fans knew his story coming into pro wrestling. He believes this helped make him more relatable.
“I think the connection was made and it was organic, just because they know my story. I know a lot of people like you, they might not know. But if one fan knows, he’s probably going to tell another fan and another fan, and I think people can relate to me,” Riddle said.
“I think a lot of people have had an opportunity or break and something went wrong or they made a mistake and that’s it for them. And there’s never a rebound, there’s never a comeback, there’s never anything. So I think for me, that part of my story is motivating and people like that. Plus, like you said, I’m the kind of guy that would go in the crowd, hang out with everybody. I’m extremely friendly with people and I also think I’m pretty good at pro wrestling so I think all those things help out.”