Matt Riddle recently spoke with Total Wrestling Magazine. Here are some highlights from the interview:

Difference between MMA and wrestling: “The difference between MMA and pro wrestling is in MMA, you train a lot more, you train really hard, you train like three times a day, but you only fight three times a year, so you train all that time, and you only get three big shows, three nights of glory. In pro wrestling, I’ve literally been wrestling the last ten days straight, every night,“This is awesome”, crazy chants, “Bro Bro Bro” whatever, getting the crowd on their feet and the reason I got into fighting, wrestling, all of this is so that I can entertain people like I was entertained growing up. That is the biggest difference between MMA training, fighting and pro wrestling training and fighting – pro wrestling is constant, gruelling all the time, but you get the privilege of performing and putting your craft out on the line. MMA is a very high reward, but it’s a very big risk as well – and only get a couple of shows a year, and each show means so much, if you lose, you might not get another. People ask about going back to fighting, I’m like no – because I look back at fight of the night, a slobberknocker, and people would point out that I lost.”

What part of the transition was hardest for him: “Be more of a showman, that was definitely part of it, but selling. It’s funny because people compliment my selling all the time now, but when I first started wrestling, I was like everybody else when they started, when they punch you on your chin, you grab you chin, when they hit your back, you grab your back, it looks fake and corny – when you watch a real fight, when the boxer gets punched in the face, does he grab his eye? When he gets hit in the stomach does he grab his stomach? No, of course not. You have to show the audience you’re getting hit in certain spots, but you can’t be cartoony about it – at least in my world, you can’t be cartoony about it, I like the more realistic approach.”

Relationship with WWE: “WWE hit me up just before my first Mania weekend, not this Mania, the one before and they told me they were gonna take a pass on me and I said that’s perfectly fine. They made me wait almost eight months after the try out, but I was perfectly fine and in the back of my head I was just thinking they didn’t even know what they just did, I felt like there was a weight off my shoulders, less stress. With less people watching me I thought I can be a Chris Hero, I can be a Sami Callahan, I can be a Ricochet I can make my own money on my own terms, work my own schedule, work the way I want to work, work the match I want to work – I don’t have to worry about the WWE style, I can work my style. I was actually happy when I got the news. I think I was holding something back for some reason, to appease the WWE, and once I knew it wasn’t happening, I could be me. Once I was me, the people could see that. The matches were getting better, and I was looser out there, more myself and that was it.”


Not working for WWE: “There was a period where every guy I wrestled, from Tommy End to TJ Perkins, I worked them and then they went to the WWE. It just seemed like a couple of us didn’t and I’m like honestly fine with me, bro. This is a big misconception. I love the WWE, it’s great – it’s what I grew up watching, it’s a great product- I love the WWE. Do I think the WWE fans are ready for someone like me? No. I don’t think they’re ready for Matt Riddle, not right now. I think in a year, the way things are going, they’ll be ready for me. Maybe they’re ready for me now? I just don’t think it’s the time. I’m loving what I’m doing, I’m very content, I don’t have a rough schedule, it’s super easy. I tend to overbook myself because I refuse to hire an agent.”

Steve Carrier

Steve is the Founder of RingsideNews. He has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He first got into website development at the time and has been focusing on bringing his readers the best professional wrestling news at it's highest quality.

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