Matt Riddle has taken a unique approach upon leaving mixed martial arts for the world of professional wrestling.
The 31-year-old independent wrestling star left MMA in 2014 to pursue his dream of wrestling; however, if it weren’t for two drug-related suspensions while under contract to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Riddle may have never made the switch. However, the current Progress Atlanta Champion says those failed drug tests have deterred WWE from signing him.
Riddle recently spoke to The Irish Daily Mirror about why WWE has yet to bring him aboard.
“I’ve talked to [William] Regal and I’ve talked to Triple H,” Riddle said.
“I’ve talked to everyone important there. They all like my work, they dig my stuff.”
Triple H himself acknowledged that both he and WWE officials saw “promise” in Riddle when he had a tryout with the company in late 2015. However, “The Game” also noted that due to those past issues, there has to be a period of time where the person has to prove themselves by staying out of trouble.
“I’m all for second chances and guys moving on and proving themselves in their lives and stuff,” Triple H said on a conference call with international media to promote NXT Takeover: San Antonio.
“Without getting into the details, I felt like he had a lot of the promise and I sort of nudged along the process of getting him taken care of the scene and see him cultivated to see if there’s more than just promise there.”
Riddle admitted in his interview that while the failed tests may have slowed the WWE hiring process, it hasn’t hurt him
“I think the reason I was fired from the UFC [failing two drug tests within a year] is probably holding me back from signing for WWE,” Riddle admitted.
“But at the same time the fact I’m not a UFC fighter or a WWE Superstar isn’t exactly ‘holding me back’, it’s given me opportunities.”
Riddle left MMA with a record of 8-3-2; he was on a four fight win streak when a second positive drug test triggered his termination. In an interview with the Inquisitr in November 2015, Riddle discussed his firing.
“I really couldn’t believe, not because I wasn’t in the wrong. If I fail a drug test that’s on me, I’m in the wrong. I couldn’t believe it because a week earlier, Dana White said he would never fire anyone if they were on a winning streak.”
Riddle also slammed UFC for allowing fighters to use steroids or painkillers like oxycontin to prolong fighters’ careers but fired him — while on a winning streak — to make a point.
Luckily for Riddle, he was able to parlay his love for wrestling into a career. Since entering the profession, he has worked for numerous prominent independent promotions around the world; among the federations, Riddle has worked for include House of Glory, Pro Wrestling Guerilla, and Progress Wrestling.
However, it was Riddle’s evolvement with EVOLVE that got his name on the map, something he admitted came out with the help of the WWE following his tryout.
“I did not sign with WWE, I will say my tryout went well with them and I am looking forward to working with them in the near future.Them hooking me up with EVOLVE, I think they might have said something for me and that’s how Gabe [Sapolsky] got my information. But I wouldn’t say I’m signed with WWE and that’s why I’m at EVOLVE.”
The future can be unpredictable but neither side is ruling out joining forces in the future.
“Clearly very talented, clearly somebody that has a bright future,” Triple H said.
“We’ll see where it goes.”
[Featured Image by Paparazzo Presents| Wikimedia Commons| Cropped and Resized | CC BY-SA 4.0 ]