Just three years into his pro wrestling career, TUF veteran Matt Riddle has made it to the big leagues.
Matt Riddle has graduated into the major leagues of pro wrestling just three years after switching over from MMA. After impressing a lot of people with his natural abilities, the WWE has announced he’ll now be a part of their developmental NXT roster.
Via the WWE:
Matt Riddle, or as he is often referred to by fans, “The King of Bros,” has been announced as the newest Superstar to wave the NXT flag. Fittingly, the news was revealed as he was ringside for tonight’s huge WWE Network special event in Brooklyn.
The former wrestling champion and UFC fighter made a name for himself in the indie circuit, capturing titles such as the EVOLVE Championship and the PROGRESS Atlas Championship.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) August 19, 2018
The former UFC fighter first appeared on many of our radars on The Ultimate Fighter 7, making it onto the show despite only holding a 1-0 amateur record at the time. While he was eliminated from the tournament in the second round, he went on to build up a decent 7-3 record in the UFC … one that would be 9-3 if not for two post-fight drug test failures for marijuana.
Riddle was unfortunate enough to compete in the days before the trigger for a marijuana violation was raised from 50ng/mL to a more reasonable 150ng/mL. That didn’t stop the UFC from releasing him in 2013 after the second violation, even as they allowed fighters to submit therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone. That hypocrisy led to Riddle and UFC president Dana White getting into a couple of public spats over the years, with White calling Riddle a ‘weak minded dummy’ and Riddle calling White a ‘cold blooded asshole.’
They say success is the best form of revenge, and Riddle’s success on the pro wrestling circuit came fast, with the TUF veteran winning the Wrestling Observer’s Rookie of the Year award in 2016. Now he’s arrived in NXT and his many fans are filling arenas with his ‘Bro’ chant.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) August 18, 2018
It’s at times like this where we have to wonder whether the UFC would have done as good of a job building Riddle up as he’s done for himself in pro wrestling. Many editorials have been written about the UFC’s difficulty in creating new stars, and when you see people tossed away by promotion gaining fame in other areas, it makes you wonder if something isn’t fundamentally broken about the way the UFC builds up (or rather tears down) its fighters.