It appears that Matt Riddle, who recently lost the NXT Tag Team Championships when his interim teammate, Timothy Thatcher, turned on him, may be due for a main roster call-up in the coming weeks.
Citing a report from Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WrestlingNews.co wrote on Monday that Riddle’s main roster debut is “imminent,” which could mean he could be showing up on an upcoming episode of Monday Night Raw or Friday Night SmackDown. As the former UFC fighter is also scheduled to face Thatcher in a cage match on Wednesday’s episode of NXT, with Hall of Famer Kurt Angle serving as the special guest referee, the outlet added that it’s possible that would be Riddle’s final match on the black-and-gold brand.
As further explained by WrestlingNews.co, it seems that certain WWE officials, including Triple H, appear to be quite high on Riddle despite the various rumors of backstage heat that have surrounded him since last year. The publication’s Paul Davis also shared some feedback from an internal source, who told him in November that WWE chairman Vince McMahon sees some similarities between the personalities of Riddle and Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels.
“Vince like guys like Shawn who have that rebel mentality and he sees some of Shawn in Matt. Matt can rub some people the wrong way but he’s a good guy and he will do great when Vince calls him up. I think he’s a future world champion. Vince will try to tweak him but his personality will get him far.”
Fist bumps for EVERYONE, and NO ONE at the same time! ????????????????
— WWE (@WWE) March 26, 2020
Regarding the subject of backstage heat, Riddle commented on the rumors earlier this month, telling Sportskeeda’s Gary Cassidy that the people who have issues with him tend to be those who don’t understand much about the wrestling business. He added that he has had to repeatedly explain to his NXT colleagues that the offensive things he says on social media do not reflect how he is away from the ring, as he’s mainly trying to stay true to his in-ring character.
It’s still unclear how WWE plans to use Riddle if he is indeed heading to the main roster, and the above report did not mention any potential feuds for the former mixed martial artist. However, WrestlingNews.co brought up one possible reason why the company is apparently ready to move Riddle to Raw or SmackDown, noting that viewership figures for both shows have gone down since WWE switched to empty-arena shows amid the coronavirus pandemic.