When independent wrestling star and former UFC fighter Matt Riddle started dropping out of indie bookings, including PWG‘s Battle of Los Angeles, it sparked rumors that he had signed with WWE. Last year, Riddle thought staying on the indie scene was a better option for him than going to NXT. He went on to even more success on the scene, including producing his own shoot style wrestling show — Bloodsport, which he main evented against Minoru Suzuki on WrestleMania weekend — while continuing to have great matches in EVOLVE, PWG, OTT, and more. Kenny Omega expressed interested in seeing the King of Bros in NJPW, but that seemed unlikely after his UFC test failures for marijuana had kept him from wrestling in the 2017 World Tag League with Jeff Cobb.
The whole weed thing is apparently not an issue for World Wrestling Entertainment though, because Bodyslam.net reports that Riddle has indeed signed a three-year deal with WWE and will debut at NXT TakeOver the night before SummerSlam. This is definitely a loss for the independent wrestling scene, but a gain for WWE. Plus it will, of course, expose Riddle to a wider audience.
If you haven’t seen Riddle before, you can check out a bunch of his full matches for free on YouTube, including in Beyond Wrestling against current NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa.
Here’s Riddle vs. Mae Young Classic competitor Mia Yim.
And here he is against recent NXT signee and probably the best wrestler to sing their own theme song (at least, on the indies) Keith Lee.