Matt Riddle believes the next boom period in wrestling is coming.
The former UFC fighter made his professional wrestling debut in 2015. Less than four years into the business, Riddle became one of the hottest stars on the Independent scene for his personality and in-ring ability. Over the summer, he was signed by WWE and has begun working NXT live events. His NXT television debut is one of the most anticipated NXT debuts in history. With the current talent in NXT, Riddle believes they are on the verge of something huge.
Appearing on The MMA Show with Ariel Helwani, Riddle discussed wanting to change the perception people have of professional wrestling and how he plans on doing just that.
"I bring a different feel and realism to it. My goal isn't just to be one of the best, it's to change the game. I want to change how things work and how fans see it. I know I can do it. It's not just a wrestling match. It's entertainment, a show, a spectacle. I'm trying to captivate the audience. I want to change it for the better. I want more unpredictably and realism," said Riddle. "The fans would appreciate it and I appreciate it. That's what I've brought since day one and why I'm as popular as I am. I want more grown-ups watching pro wrestling. I hate when people put it down or put the entertainment down because that's what it is...entertainment. You don't put down a movie or cartoon, but for some reason people put down sports entertainment. Open up your eyes."
Riddle elaborated on how he plans on bringing more eyeballs to wrestling by giving credit to his peers in NXT and in the Indies. Finally, he made a bold statement.
"Guys like me, Keith Lee, Ricochet. There's so many guys coming up right now from the Indies and EVOLVE grind," he said. "There's this new generation. It's ready to change. We're on the next Attitude Era, but it's not going to be the Attitude Era. We're on the verge."
The Attitude Era is widely considered as the hottest period in professional wrestling with WWE and WCW doing record breaking business and ratings. The business side of WWE is still doing well thanks to new television deals, but viewership has been down for quite some time and Raw is currently experiencing record low viewership numbers.
Before Riddle can usher in the next big era in wrestling and change how people view the sport, he'll need to make his television debut.