Riddle opens up about his transition from MMA to professional wrestling and discusses the effect the WWE Network had on his love of wrestling.
Matt Riddle is one of a handful of wrestlers who successfully made the transition from the world of MMA to WWE. Having competed in the UFC, Titan FC, and Bellator, Matt Riddle made the transition to professional wrestling because, according to him, pro-wrestling respects its athletes more than mixed martial arts.
Riddle expands upon this belief in a new interview with WWE Deutschland on IGTV.
“So when I got fired from the UFC, I went to Bellator, and was trying to make that work, and that didn't work out. I can't get into it. But then, I went to Titan FC. I remember I was fighting the UFC for $25,000 to show up, $25,000 to win. When I fought in Titan, my last fight in MMA, I fought for $5,000, flat,” Riddle recalled. “After that fight, I was thinking, I signed another fight, to fight Ben Saunders, and I was just like, ‘This isn't what I want to do,’ and I felt like I put enough hard work and time into it, where I just felt extremely disrespected and when I would watch professional wrestling, because I always did growing up and even at this point, I saw the amount of respect the fans had for the athletes, but in turn, the company had to respect the athlete, and I felt like that was missing from MMA.”
He continued, “I felt like I didn't want anything to do with it in that world and that light, and I always, ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted to be a professional wrestler. I just didn't see the time, the opportunity. This was my time. This was my opportunity. I was trying to fight back into a sport that wasn't happening to me anymore. I was like, ‘You know what? This is it. It's time to change. It's time to try something new. It's time to like, get that passion back. Sometimes MMA is great because if you get tired of doing jiu-jitsu, I'm going to start kickboxing. Then, when you get tired of kickboxing, you go to some wrestling or Judo, you know, there's always something to stay fresh.
“So for me, and for me, it felt like I was coming full circle. When I was a kid, we didn't watch sports in my family, but I found pro wrestling, and then I did amateur wrestling, jiu-jitsu, UFC, and I felt going back to pro wrestling, my life was going full circle, and that was it.”
Furthermore, Riddle spoke about recapturing his passion for wrestling while watching WrestleMania 30 and his belief that the WWE Network brought wrestling back to its peak
“Also, I'll be honest, I saw Brock Lesnar beat the streak of The Undertaker. I was like, ‘I should probably get into WWE.’ That same night, Daniel Bryan became a double champion, I believe against Triple H and Batista. It was a big night for me. That was when all the MMA stuff was happening with me. I was happy with the WWE and I also saw a resurgence in pro wrestling. I think if you talk to any top guy that was on the indies, or even in WWE, [they’ll say that] the WWE Network brought wrestling back. Wrestling wasn't dead, but it wasn't at its peak. The WWE Network brought it back to its peak, you know, and it was like, wrestling was big. I remember when I was on the indies. When I first started, there weren't that many wrestlers [or[ that many wrestling shows. By the time I left the indies, there were thousands of indie wrestlers not just in America, but in Germany, Japan…”
Daniel Bryan did defeat Triple H and Batista that evening, but he defeated Triple H in a singles match and Batista in a triple threat match that also included Randy Orton. Riddle is now working closely with Randy Orton as part of a tag team on Monday Night Raw.
As for Brock Lesnar, Riddle has tried in the past to call Brock Lesnar out for a match but has had no luck. Learn more here.
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