KEY POINTS

  • Matt Riddle spoke to the media via virtual press conference
  • Riddle revealed that pro wrestling has always been his first love
  • He currently holds the Raw Tag Team Titles alongside Randy Orton

When anyone watches Matt Riddle perform in a WWE ring, many would think that he is a natural professional wrestler-- training since his childhood and catching that big break in the independent wrestling scene before signing with NXT.

But for those who do not know, Riddle was a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter first before being one of WWE’s most marketable stars today thanks to his natural charisma and laid-back personality.

However, he revealed that MMA was never his first choice.

Speaking at a virtual media press conference, Riddle revealed that professional wrestling was always on his mind.

“You know, growing up, my family didn’t watch sports often. We weren’t a big sports family. I found pro wrestling one day and fell in love, and that was my thing,” said Riddle.

The Pennsylvania native stressed that pro wrestling was something that he “always wanted to do growing up,” but he got into amateur wrestling to scratch that itch before transitioning to an MMA career.

“[Transitioning to an MMA career] seemed more realistic to me at the time. I wasn’t 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds of muscles, you know? I was like 180 pounds, 6-foot-2, but I was really skinny and I was [doing] wrestling so I went the MMA route,” Riddle remembered.

“Deep down, I was always at least going to try [pro wrestling]. I didn’t know if it was gonna be in my thirties or my forties, but fortunately, my career ended early in MMA. I think it was [a] ‘if one door shuts, another opens’ [type of situation]," he added.

“It was the right time, I struck when the iron was hot. I don’t think there was a better time for a mixed martial artist like myself to transition from MMA to pro wrestling than when I did.”

Riddle was in the independent wrestling circuit in 2014 before signing a deal with WWE’s NXT brand back in 2018.

In his two years with the then-black-and-gold brand, Riddle won the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and NXT Tag Team Championships with United Kingdom wrestler Pete Dunne, dubbing their tag team as “The Bro-serweights”.

Riddle would find success on the main roster after being called up in mid-2020, becoming the United States Champion for 49 days before dropping the title to Sheamus on Night 2 of WrestleMania 37.

Riddle went on to form a tag team with Randy Orton, named “RK-Bro” and then winning the Raw Tag Team Titles off of AJ Styles and Omos at this year’s SummerSlam event in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Riddle Riddle and tag team partner Randy Orton make their way to the ring for a match in WWE. Photo: WWE