Maybe, I’m biased. I was a huge stoner in high school and college and utilized a vocabulary to prove it. I have a medical card. I’m a democrat. I used to rock super long hair beneath a bandana. All of these personal facts about me aside – take them all away – and I still say this with the utmost confidence in the world…
Matt Riddle can be – and should be – the next megastar in the WWE.
Let me tell you why.
First of all, his pure athleticism is abundant to the point of embarrassing others sharing the ring with him (not always, but often). I don’t know the guy, but I’m willing to bet that he has always been that super athletic. Like, since birth. He reminds me of my best friend growing up (and he still ranks pretty high) – at twelve years old the kid had an eight pack with, like, sixteen inch arms and loose scholarship offers from a variety of prestigious D-1 baseball schools. I’m willing to bet that Riddle was just like that, except he wrestled and had a lot more aggression.
I’d be super shocked if I am wrong. I could do the research, but the satisfaction of having my intuition serve as a valid point of reference is just too sweet (if irresponsible) to deny.
Athleticism aside, and more importantly for the business, Riddle is extremely charismatic. You cannot help but like the guy. I know that some folks that live super irritable lives might find the stoner schtick annoying, but the vast majority of the population finds it pretty hilarious and more significantly than that: they find it welcoming. I have heard from multiple sources that the guy is extremely cool to the fans – just like he appears to be on television. Everyone likes a good, happy stoner. Happy stoners are approachable and beloved by everyone with any remote semblance of a sense of humor. Whether you smoke weed or not, you cannot help but laugh with the guy. You want to hang out with him. You want to smoke weed with him (if that’s your thing). Riddle works the mic with both confidence and ease. That, as we know, is a major, major factor in the creation of a megastar.
Roman Reigns might sell a lot of t-shirts to children under 12, but he’s never made me laugh, gave me chills, or even held my interest while on the mic. Judging by what I see on Twitter and the internet (even despite his battle with cancer, which he won, thank god), you folks all feel the same way.
An additional, rather astonishing fact when coupled with the Bro’s outstanding in-ring game, is that Matt Riddle’s career is only FIVE years old. The guy is learning and excelling at warp speed. In fact, Riddle’s in-ring game gets better with every single match. I have seen constant improvement since he first set foot in NXT – and to be honest, when he came in – before all of the massive improvement – he was still a better, more exciting in-ring performer than, I’ll say: 70% of the wrestlers employed by WWE, AEW, NJPW, you name it. Right now, as far as in-ring talent and performance goes, I would put Riddle in one of the top ten – MAYBE five (oh god, I shouldn’t have said that…should’ve stopped at 10…too late now) – spots that WWE has to offer. I’m crazy, but I’m not THAT crazy. I will totally stand by that statement once I am medicated properly. This improvement and high level of success proves something hugely important: Riddle wants it more than most do.
That, and in this day and age of post-modern kayfabe and the whole world being “in” on the joke/take, perhaps the most important factor of all is this: Riddle’s legit.
He’s a badass.
His MMA record is a convincing 8-3-2 (his UFC record WOULD be 10-3 if he had not been suspended for testing positive for marijuana). He unofficially holds the record of “biggest knockout in The Ultimate Fighter history” as recalled by Dana White, who is the Vince McMahon of UFC (Stupp, 2008). After his second positive drug test for (you guessed it) marijuana, Riddle was subsequently released by UFC. He finished third in UFC history in “takedown defense” and eighth in “total strikes landed” (UFC Official Records, 2013).
So, the guy can go.
He’s believable. Like, the result of a potential fantasy match featuring Riddle versus Lesnar is nowhere near a forgone conclusion for me. Lesnar’s big, but Riddle wants it so much more than he does.
Another thing? No one else on any of WWE’s extensive rosters could pull off the “barefoot approach.” Riddle’s hippie “AF” and we love him for it. Again, you want to like him. You want to root for him. He has, “it.” He possesses the X-factor that a great minimal few are birthed with. You can’t teach it. You can’t coach it. Rocking an ankle bracelet as one’s only foot apparel would be a recipe for disaster for 99.9% of the great professional wrestling roster in the sky, and that .1% that the barefeet angle did work for? Samoans. Superfly Snukas. Islanders. Not a super-stoner white kid from fucking Allentown, Pennsylvania. Look, guys, I hate feet. I HATE EM! They’re ugly, they’re disgusting, and if it were not for the bleed-out amongst other negative side effects, I would likely have cut mine off years ago.
Somehow, some way, the Bro makes it work.
Somehow, you couldn’t imagine this guy any other way.
Somehow, I would now consider buying an anklet.
He’s that cool. Riddle is actually, pretty much the personification of cool. He’s just like The Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin, but you’re not quite so afraid of what he might say about you behind your back. The Rock and Stone Cold wore sharper edges on their personalities, BUT there was something about them that was relatable and FAMILIAR to you. You were drawn to them. It’s the same with The Bro. He fits the “locker room criteria.” The Rock was your acid-tongued star wide receiver (or tight end, if we’re being real about it) with a screw loose that would bust balls and keep you laughing before, during, and after the game. Everyone knows him, everyone loves him. Austin was the no-nonsense linebacker that would get drunk and start a fight – with the other team, maybe, yeah, but it wouldn’t have to be. He wouldn’t need back-up, either, as he would likely finish the fight the second it started – with that first back-pocket haymaker. Then, you’ve got Riddle. The lovable, wildly athletic, stoner prom king that was friends with literally everyone. Everyone roots for him, because he’s never given you reason not to, sure, but also because he’s not a dick! He’s the opposite of a dick. Sure, he might make fun of you, but chances are, you’re laughing with him.
Even Pete Dunne likes him, folks.
Not to mention, the “stoner prom king” indicates that there is another massive gun in Riddle’s megastar arsenal: the guy looks like a star. I’m comfortable enough in my sexuality to admit that Riddle is a good looking dude. That means that right off the bat, he appeals to half of the population – or whatever percentage of the viewing audience that straight females and gay/bi/trans/i’m-sorry-if-i-left-someone-out create. Unfortunately, despite it being totally unfair if you adhere to the “merit system,” good looking people tend to be more well-liked and receive more opportunities. They’re more successful, because people like when they’re around. They get more chances and they receive a wider net of approval. Don’t get mad at me, now. I didn’t write the unwritten rules, I just know them like the back of my hand. So do you, if you ever went to high school.
And at the end of the day, that’s all this article has been an exercise in.
Riddle is the coolest kid in high school. The Rock, Austin, they were the coolest kids in THEIR high school. Matt Riddle is the inclusive millenials’ version of the coolest kid in school.
Not to mention, The Original Bro is dying to be a top guy. As stated, he has vehemently pushed for a match with Brock Lesnar. He wants to take Lesnar’s career. Lesnar has reportedly told him to, “kindly fuck off,” (paraphrased), but if things keep going the way they’ve been going for Riddle, I have no doubt that it will happen. If it’s not a work as of now, it will be.
The last point I’ll make as I bring this one home is an important one.
Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne just won the NXT tag team championships amidst a road-trippin’, odd couple angle and it is fucking fantastic.
In my opinion, just by winning them, the Broserweights have elevated the NXT Tag Titles to a level that I had yet to see from that brand. Triple H and the NXT Creative are CLEARLY in love with Riddle and Dunne’s portrayals of complete opposites coming together to be the most cohesive team in, perhaps, all of the WWE, right now.
The Broserweights, for the very first time in my life, have made me care about tag team wrestling. Like Vince McMahon, I have never really seen the value in tag teams. I don’t know why, they just never appealed to me. However, history shows (and will show) that tag titles CAN be major stepping stones. Shawn Michaels started out in WWF with The Rockers. Bret Hart became Bret Hart while he was holding it down with Jim Neidhart, forming The Hart Foundation. The Shield. There are countless examples – but there haven’t been too many of them in very recent times. I guess, you could say Rollins and Murphy were in that category, but Rollins needs no further building and Murphy lost half of his steam when he lost half of his name, so I’m not too sure we include them on the grand list of highly successful tag teams that yielded not just one, but two great superstars. The Broserweights, both Riddle and Dunne, are going to utilize these titles and the love that’s been showered upon them by the good folks at Full Sail University (where I am attending graduate school…just fyi, I throw that in whenever I can) and Riddle’s fellow pro-marijuana crowd at Takeover: Portland to leverage their position within the company.
The Broserweights are going to be huge and I seriously doubt that they will be NXT exclusive, despite the fact that The Original Bro may have some heat with the boss. I think that any supposed heat he’s got is going to fade away quickly as the Broserweights do their thing and reach a height of popularity that maybe only The Young Bucks have experienced in the last ten or fifteen years.
Call me crazy, but I think that’s where it’s going – AND, I think they are headed to that top shelf light a lot sooner than we all realize.
Then, they’ll break up and have an amazing feud – I see a potential series of matches that could rank with the best in NXT history.
If you don’t believe me, just watch. That being said, I cannot be the only one that would rather see almost anything than see the Broserweights break up. Overnight, they have become the best tag team duo in World Wrestling Entertainment, and I hope they take a tour of the brands while they continue to elevate one another to near megastar status as they go.
[PS: Coincidentally (or maybe not coincidentally if the WWE sees what I see): marijuana is now only a finable offense ($2,500). Riddle’s free to ride that “loveable, cool pothead” gimmick all the way to the top – like Rob Van Dam COULD have if he had half of Riddle’s charisma and comfortability on the microphone.]
It’s hard to believe that the word, “bro,” could be any more ubiquitous than it already is, but by the time Riddle’s finished, the title/term might have its own damn cabinet post.
Pretty sure, I’m not being biased.
Matt Riddle is gonna be the man.