Back in June, Matt Riddle made his official main roster debut on Smackdown. After an up and down run in NXT, it was really only a matter of time until he got ‘the call up.’ Like many, I had made the assumption that he would immediately make an impact. Like many, I was wrong. Sure, he mixed it up with AJ Styles and other well known names, but it was not exactly the main event run I had pictured for him right out of the gate. He seemed like such a sure bet to get an instant boost.
Since then, it has been just like NXT – an up and down ride. One week, he comes off like a true main event start with loads of potential to be a Universal or WWE Champion. The next week, he is handing out donuts (bro-nuts) and giving the camera a stupid smirk like he’s supposed to be the funniest guy in the room. The entire entrance, the music, the catchphrase, the sandals pose, the entire presentation – it gives us all differing opinions.
Is he supposed to be taken seriously as a former MMA fighter but with a personality…or just a goofy clown making jokes that sometimes wins wrestling matches?
According to Dave Metlzer of the Wrestling Observer, he has a big fan in Vince McMahon. Obviously, if you are going to have a supporter in the company, Vince McMahon is who you want backing you. Apparently, he thinks Riddle is ‘very funny in his own weird way.’ The report notes that he isn’t sure that will translate to a main event run, but he likes him. Thus, television time. Good or bad.
Let’s also not forget to mention the fact that his name was recently shortened from Matt Riddle to Riddle. According to Fightful, that was due to Vince McMahon being a fan and wanting to give him a more serious approach. Riddle was supportive of the idea. Well, I am sure he was supportive. If he wasn’t and disagreed with his boss, um, yeah. Good luck there pal.
Anyways, the question still remains. If Vince McMahon is such a fan, why all the wacky crap week in and week out? Is that all he sees in him?
My guess is no. Vince McMahon likes his personality and wants to show it off. Also, what do we always hear from wrestling pundits and legends? A character on TV should be YOU in real life but with the volume turned up. Riddle is usually a joking, sarcastic, and goofy guy regardless of the setting. On and off camera. Isn’t that Riddle right now? Kinda like how people are up in arms over Miro being a video gamer and Twitch clown on All Elite Wrestling TV? That is HIM! That’s him folks. He is on AEW Dynamite being himself. Isn’t that what we all preach and want?
We want wrestlers to be themselves and act authentic, but then when they do…it’s bad?
I don’t know. Yes, Riddle is certainly playing WAYYYYYY too much on the comedic side currently. However, that is him. The entire stoner gimmick is what I think of when the name “Matt Riddle” is said. I picture the goofy smile, the barefoot wrestling, and a ton of marijuana. Smoke coming from his locker room; that’s my image. Thus, why is it so shocking and horrible that that’s his character for Raw, Smackdown and to a lesser degree, NXT?
My hope is that this is all short-term. Assuming Riddle sticks around and excels in WWE, he is just like Big E – at some point, we want to see a wrecking ball. Riddle is legit, has competed in MMA, and has the look/personality to be a real money drawing performer. If Vince is truly a big fan of the act, then a slight shift in character may not be the worst thing. Riddle already has challenged Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg, so those feuds are ready to go whenever he is ‘over’ on a main event level.
Where do you stand on Riddle’s potential? Is he in a good spot right now acting like a goofball giving out stupid nicknames to the roster…or is it wasted potential?
Let me know your thoughts bro…
By Justin Watry (Twitter: @JustinWatry)