NXT star Matt Riddle was a recent guest on TalkSport's Pro Wrestling Show to talk about his transition from the independent circuit to the WWE, as well as sharing his thoughts on NXT, possibly facing Brock Lesnar, trash-talking Bill Goldberg, and the prospect of getting called up to the main roster. Highlights are below.
Indies to WWE:
For me, it was more of a step up in professionalism. Not so much the wrestling, per se, but more so how you handle yourself in and out of work and how you go to work, showing up, looking proper and things like that; well, you know me, I’ll just show up in some flip-flops and that, which, they still kind of let me do because it’s a part of my character. So, I still get away with a lot of stuff I probably shouldn’t! I think it’s changed in that sense and I think if anything it has made me more professional and better at what I do.
I was blown away. A couple of years ago at an Evolve show, it was Royal Rumble weekend and I went to a TakeOver and Shinsuke Nakamura came out. And I’ve seen him on TV but I was never impressed. I was like, yeah his moves are cool, but I just don’t get it. And then when I saw him in person and I saw the atmosphere that was created for him and what he did with it, I was like ‘holy crap, this dude is a star!’, my mind was blown. I’m doing the Nakamura thing now! [gestures like Nakamura’s hands]. But on the indies, you don’t really get that. You’re larger than the show but in WWE, the show is larger than you because it’s such a big production and there are so many moving pieces. And that’s why it’s so attention-getting.
Thoughts on Bill Goldberg:
The thing for me is, and one of the reasons I was never a fan of Goldberg in the beginning when everybody was like ‘oh, he’s so good!’ I was like ‘no, he’s terrible, he’s hurting people’ and there’s nothing else. He just has three-minute matches. And that was my thing and when people say ‘who was your favorite wrestler?’ I really don’t have one. I just liked really good wrestling. That’s why I fight and I do that. So for me, I don’t care how much money he makes, I’m just glad people were entertained. But, stick to your wheelhouse, bro. And stop headbutting doors before you wrestle. And I’m not hating – I’m not hating – I’m just spitting facts and these are all facts and things he should take into consideration. And not just for me, not because he got made fun of, but for his health as well.
His respect for Brock Lesnar:
I have a huge amount of respect for Lesnar. You know, he’s done everything since he came into it. He works hard. You don’t look like Lesnar without working hard. You don’t pick up things, get to the top of multiple industries and sports without working hard. Do I like his work, per se, and his attitude right now? No. But, I think that’s why it’s good [between them]. He’s the complete opposite of me, but we’re the same.
On his NXT Takeover New York Match With Velveteen Dream
I’ll be honest – not that Dream didn’t put his pieces in – but I feel like I called that, I called that. I was just like ‘this is what’s happening. I want to look like a killer, but you’re still going to beat me.’ Because I still want to look strong, I don’t want to look weak in a loss. You can lose a match and look a million dollars and I lost that match but I knew I was money afterwards with the crowd reaction and everything else. And I think I showed that angry side. People just see the happy-go-lucky, smiling bro so when they got to see the intensity turn up… and you know, it’s good for me too, I like to be pushed that way. I’m aggressive, I’m trying to win.
Getting called up to the main roster:
I’ve heard about the ‘curse’ or whatever it is. I think that’s on you. Because there is other people that have gone up there and they have run with the ball. And I do believe you have to have a certain look that Vince likes, or they like; it’s not one person. One person might make the decisions at the end of the day, but a lot of people talk to that one person. If everybody is on your side, probably not going to hurt, right? So I like at it like this, got to play politics. But I’m not worried, I think once I get up it will be the right time. They’ll know what to do with me. They’re not just going to pull me up and just be like ‘let’s get him now’. I think when I go up, I’m going to come after Lesnar and I’m going for him. That’s it, I don’t know what else I would be doing! Unless they want to give me Bill Goldberg as a warmup first, I’ll take him. Then I’ll take Lesnar.