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Wrestling / Matt Riddle

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The Original Bro.

Matthew Fredrick Riddle (born January 14, 1986) is an American professional wrestler and former mixed martial artist formerly signed by WWE on its Raw brand, known for working for various indie promotions like EVOLVE Wrestling, Progress Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Guerilla (PWG). Starting out on The Ultimate Fighter with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), he became known for knocking out Dan Simmler, a fellow MMA fighter, by hitting him in the jaw three times and breaking it in two places, which was called "the knockout of the century" by Quinton Jackson and "the biggest knockout in Ultimate Fighter history" by Dana White. He had a fairly successful career in UFC with 8 wins, 3 losses and 2 no contests before getting released from the company in 2013 after testing positive for marijuana twice.

In 2014, however, his popularity arguably skyrocketed when he started his Professional Wrestling career training in Monster Factory. He signed with WWN in 2016 and began working with EVOLVE, gaining fame for his hard-hitting style, sheer strength and lack of shoes. He debuted for PWG in the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles Tournament, being beaten in the first round by Kyle O'Reilly. He signed with WWE in 2018, competing on its NXT brand before moving to SmackDown and later Raw in 2020. He is a former two-time Progress Atlas Champion, the inaugural WWN Champion, PWG World Tag Team Champion (with Jeff Cobb), EVOLVE Champion, WWE United States Champion, and has won the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, NXT Tag Team Championship with Pete Dunne and Raw Tag Team Championship with Randy Orton. Riddle would be released from his contract on September 22 2023.

The Original Bro Tropes!

  • Action Dad: He has three children. When Seth Rollins brought them up in a promo and told Riddle that he's never going to see them anymore on account of being divorced from his wife, Matt got enraged to the point that he dropped multiple f-bombs.
  • Arch-Enemy: Outside of Kayfabe, he really doesn't like Dana White. Or Bill Goldberg. The feeling's mutual on both counts.
  • Agony of the Feet: His bare feet have been subjected to biting by Tommaso Ciampa, toe snapping by Marty Scurll, a foot superkick by The Young Bucks and many more. It comes with wrestling barefoot.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: He looks laid back, talks like a stoner, and doesn't even wear shoes into the ring, but he will knock the fuck out of you. Just ask Kassius Ohno, who Riddle took exactly seven seconds to knee in the face and pin.
  • Blood Knight: Riddle may come off as relaxed and even mellow outside the ring, but he definitely relishes a good fight. His expression and demeanor noticeably change once the bell rings, and he can be focused, even borderline sadistic.
  • Call-Back: The Bromission, which is an actual submission move used in MMA, might be one to Matt's MMA career. His lack of shoes is also one, as MMA forbids the use of footwear in their matches, as well as his logo-littered trunks.
  • Calling Your Attacks: "BRO! TO! SLEEP!" (cue knee to the face)
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Stoner on the surface, unhinged hurricane of a Blood Knight in the ring.
  • Crowd Chant:
    • "BRO! BRO! BRO! BRO!"
    • The chorus to 'Gold' by Spandau Ballet, with "bro" replacing every syllable possible.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Against Trent Seven in the first round match of the Super Strong Style 16 tournament for Progress Wrestling. After Trent cut a promo on Matt "not being able to cut it in UFC or NXT", then calling him a "pussy", Matt hit him with a devastating running knee and pinned him for the 3-count. The match lasted for a grand total of six seconds.
    Jim Smallman: The winner of this match, by virtue of knocking Trent Seven the fuck out! MATT! RIDDLE!
    • The exact same thing happened to Kassius Ohno on Riddle's first match on NXT Takeover: Wargames II.
  • Expy: Has been compared to a young Kurt Angle, both of them having made the switch to professional wrestling extremely well from their respective sports (amateur wrestling for Kurt, MMA for Matt).
  • Finishing Move: In contrast to most WWE wrestlers, Riddle has an absolute gaggle of these. In addition to a veritable treasury of submissions - most notably the Bromission, his variation on the Twister - he has the Busaiku Knee, a tombstone Styles Clash called the Bro Derek, a corkscrew senton called the Floating Bro, and finally Randy Orton's greatest gift to him: the RKO.
  • Fratbro: Pretty much his whole persona.
  • Honor Before Reason: He thinks Goldberg doesn't care about wrestling and wants to be the one to retire Brock Lesnar. He's been outspoken on these things... to the point that many of his peers see it as going beyond passion into unprofessionalism, WWE corporate has seen fit to give directives to NXT talent not to call out Raw and SmackDown talent unless prompted to for approved storylines, and most importantly, his first meetings backstage with both Brock and Goldberg at pay-per-views has been acrimonious. Goldberg had an awkward conversation with him at the 2019 SummerSlam where he told him to knock it off and rebuffed his standard bro-speak by telling him he's not his bro at least twice, and Lesnar flat-out told Riddle at the 2020 Royal Rumble that he will never work with him because of his attitude.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Whatever you do, do not German Suplex Matt Riddle. You will regret it.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Most tapouts in WWE come via submission hold - and Riddle has a fair few of these in his repertoire, including his Finishing Move. Occasionally, though, Riddle's striking has been so devastating and vicious that he's won matches simply by punching and elbowing the holy hell out of a grounded opponent until they submitted or the ref stopped the match, echoing the way legit MMA fights end on occasion.
  • No-Sell: Part of his comeback offence. Unlike other examples, it doesn't always work.
  • Odd Friendship: Subverted in NXT with Pete Dunne. Other than the commonality of enjoying knocking people's faces in (which, to be fair, isn't a bad thing to have in common in Professional Wrestling), the two's personalities seemed to be polar opposites. But as the two spent more time together it became apparent that Dunne (even as a Straight Man) had a better sense of humor than anyone anticipated, while Riddle had found one of the few people that could match his in-ring intensity. The two actually won the NXT Tag Titles together before Real Life Writes the Plot stepped in and turned this partnership into an Aborted Arc.
    • Repeated on the main roster with Randy Orton, with Orton playing the Seen It All veteran mildly annoyed by Riddle's antics also slightly intrigued by his obvious talent, and Riddle playing the exuberant (or at least as exuberant as his character gets) younger talent trying and mostly failing to take a Living Legend's interest in him in stride. It works better than you'd think.
  • The Pollyanna: Outside of in-ring competition, his character is friendly and optimistic to a fault. He tries to make friends with everyone, heel or otherwise, and he assumes everyone is as good-natured as he is.
  • Prefers Going Barefoot: He frequently wrestles without any shoes on. Part of his entrance is even flipping his shoes off. However, this does allow his opponents to go straight after his feet as a weak point.
  • Red Baron: "Deep Waters" in MMA, "The King of Bros" and "The Original Bro" in pro wrestling.
  • The Rival: Totally one-sided, but Matt is laser-focused on someday ending Brock Lesnar's career.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: His way of wearing a suit also involves him wearing a baseball cap and slippers.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Stoner: Subverted. He looks and talks like one, but his wrestling ability has not been affected in the slightest. In an interview, he stated that he uses marijuana for medical reasons, and has a license for it.
  • Tag Team: With Jeff Cobb as The Chosen Bros, Pete Dunne as The BroserWeights and Randy Orton as RK-Bro.
  • Tournament Arc: Has won EVOLVE's Style Battle in 2016 and the 2020 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic with Pete Dunne.
  • Verbal Tic: Broooo...
  • Wrestling Monster: A truly bizarre comedy face version as of his run on NXT. Despite being a picture-perfect, weeded-out stoner, Matt almost never loses and is taken deadly seriously by everyone on the roster except heels with a death wish.