This news is not exactly news to anyone who has had their ear to the ground in wrestling this week, but on Friday Night SmackDown we got official confirmation that Matt Riddle would be the latest superstar to join the brand.
WWE Hall Of Famer and fellow former combat sport athlete popped up in a vignette on Smackdown to officially welcome Riddle to the brand.
In time honoured, territory wrestling tradition, The Original Bro finished his stint in NXT on Wednesday night by ‘doing the honours’ for newcomer Timothy Thatcher, losing via submission in the first ever ‘NXT Fight Pit’
Riddle is a former professional MMA fighter with stints in UFC and Bellator. He left the sport in 2014 with an 8-3-2 career record.
When he joined the pro-wrestling world in 2015, he was considered something of a prodigy, quickly becoming one of the most sought after acts on the independent scene as he fought all over the world in promotions as varied as Evolve, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Progress Wrestling and Rev Pro. He was perhaps most famous for his match at the event named after him during WrestleMania weekend in 2018. Under the GCW banner at Matt Riddle’s Bloodsport, he fought Japanese superstar Minoru Sukuzi in a hard-hitting, no rope singles match.
Later that year he signed with WWE and debuted in NXT in October with a victory over British former Rugby League player, Luke Menzies.
After approximately 18 months, Riddle moves to SmackDown after a well received partnership with Pete Dunne that saw the team nicknamed ‘The Broserweights win the Dusty Classic Tag Team Tournament and defeat The Undisputed Era for the NXT Tag Team Titles.
The partnership was brought to a premature end (Imagine the inevitable match between those two!) due to Dunne’s inability to travel amidst the global Coronavirus pandemic. Thatcher took the Brit’s place before turning on Riddle as they lost the titles to Imperium, leading to last week’s match between the two.
Riddle’s pool of potential opponents and allies on Smackdown is mouthwatering. A match with Cesaro, AJ Styles or Shinsuke Nakamura anyone? How about updating Evolve’s Catch Point stable? Drew Gulak was the main man in that group and Daniel Bryan has teased adding the similarly amateur wrestling influenced Chad Gable to their group recently. Throw Matt Riddle into that and you have one heck of a line up!
Watch this space.