Appearing on Lilian Garcia’s podcast Chasing Glory, NXT star Matt Riddle reveals how he was inspired by his 2015 WWE release.
The former UFC star, aka “Deep Waters”, went 7-3-0 (W-L-D). Riddle was released by Dana White in 2013 for failing two consecutive drug tests.
Dana White recently spoke with Barstool Sports saying he wished Riddle the best, and didn’t regret his decision to release him. “At that place and that time where we were, it was the right move. I’m happy for him. I’m happy that he’s been successful and he’s doing well. I don’t wish the kid any ill will.”
UFC wasn’t the only organization that didn’t want any part of Matt Riddle, as the WWE rejected him in 2015. The rejection was because of his negative history with UFC.
But, for Matt that inspired him to work even harder. “I tell the coaches here, I tell everybody, I’m like, I love the Performance Center, I really do. I think it’s a great tool and a great thing. But I remember what made me a good pro wrestler was them telling me no. When I had my tryout, and they said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna take a pass because you failed a drug test for weed for the UFC years ago.’ I’m like, ‘Okay.’ And then I was literally, I can do it, I can be me. I’m not trying to please you, I’m not trying to please anybody. I can please myself now. And the second I started trying to please myself, that crowd started roaring,” explains Matt.
Being yourself is an element that Matt feels is key to a wrestlers long term success. “And you can see that with other really popular wrestlers. Its when they can tell they’re real, they’re themselves 100%. And that’s it. But if it wasn’t for that struggle, if it wasn’t for them saying no to a contract and money, and a comfy gym to train in every day, and coaches to help and everything. I had to go do it all my own,” Matt tells Lilian Garcia.
The struggle that came after his UFC release, and the WWE rejecting him, only made Matt Riddle stronger. “I had to go out of pocket and start landscaping, and roofing, with three kids and everything else. And it was brutal, and I had to struggle again. But it made it that much sweeter at the end. And the struggle, if I didn’t have to struggle, I don’t I’d be where I am. I wouldn’t be as popular as I am, I wouldn’t be as good as I am. I wouldn’t be as passionate as I am. But because I’ve gone through multiple struggles and everything, it creates what I am.”