Why WWE Signed Matt Riddle In 2018

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Matt Riddle is no longer a WWE superstar after a five-year run in the company.

The Bro is no longer a WWE superstar despite being a former US and Raw Tag Team Champion. Matt Riddle was released last week due to having heat for going off script at times and also for behavioral issues.

In this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer wrote about when WWE decided to sign Matt Riddle perhaps as a way to keep him from going to New Japan. It was also noted that Riddle’s usage of marijuana was a factor.

“Things changed based on the stigma of marijuana changing. New Japan made the call to bring him in, and when WWE found out, they signed him in 2018 largely because of the feeling he could have become New Japan’s No. 2 foreign star at the time.”

“He would have been signed easily by WWE by 2015. It was so silly that they, for a time, took his first name away from him because of the idea that somehow people wouldn’t see the link to marijuana as often as they would for Matt Riddle.”

“And then that changed to the point they gave him back his first name, and on the main roster his character was portrayed as a stereotypical surfer stoner.”

Matt Riddle has several options post-WWE

As for what’s next for Riddle after his WWE release, it’s possible he could go back to Mixed Martial Arts, which is something he did before he was a pro wrestler. Meltzer wrote that “both PFL and Bare Knuckle Fighting had expressed interest due to his name value from WWE and the fact he was a decent MMA fighter.”

However, Riddle is 37 years old and hasn’t done real fighting in about nine years, so he may be more interested in exploring his options as a pro wrestler rather than go back to the MMA route again.