Matt Riddle has often drawn comparisons to Brock Lesnar, largely due to their MMA backgrounds. Before Riddle became a NXT superstar, he starred on the Ultimate Fighter and was on his way up the UFC rankings before his love of marijuana led to multiple failed drug tests and subsequent release from the company.
In 2014, Riddle turned to wrestling, making his professional debut in 2015. While he would go on to become out of the top talents on the Independent scene, he didn't receive a warm welcome on he first stepped foot in the ring.
It started off pretty bad," Riddle told Edge & Christian on the Pod of Awesomeness. "I could work decent. I wasn't great, but I could work. But the crowds didn't like me. They didn't respect me. I was just some MMA guy that was on the same pedestal as guys who had been wrestling the Indies for 10 years. I was getting a lot 'heat,' as one would say. I remember my first match for EVOLVE, when I came out, the crowd chanted 'Baby Lesnar.' Then the next night, they chanted 'You can't wrestle.' I wrestled all over -- EVOLVE, Beyond, CZW, AAW, PWG, PROGRESS, OTT -- by the time I got back to the building where they said I couldn't wrestle...all they were saying was 'Bro.'"
Riddle continued, "It's not like I was having terrible matches. It was a lack of being there long enough and proving myself. Even in WWE, it's a big thing. Even if you didn't prove yourself on the Indies, you get crap for it here."
Riddle signed with WWE this summer and made his NXT television debut on Oct. 31.
In July, Riddle spoke to Fightful in his last interview before signing with WWE. You can listen to the interview here.