Matt Riddle recently spoke with The New York Post to promote his match with Roderick Strong at Saturday's WWE NXT "Takeover: XXV" event. Riddle would not name-drop AEW, but he said he hopes they push the envelope while WWE pushes the envelope, so that we can enter the next great era in pro wrestling. Riddle was asked if he believes we are headed into a special time for the business.
"I felt like wrestling when I got into it, I felt like it was not dead and it was doing OK," Riddle said. "And when I started, NXT started like blowing up and this started blowing up, the [WWE] Network started blowing up and before I knew it, I was in the indies making six figures a year and never wrestling on TV, only the internet and gymnasiums.
And WWE is everywhere, there are all these other brands and companies all around the word and now there's another company. I'm not going to mention names, but they're on that same network that other company was on back in the day. And you know what, for me, I don't think the competition is like real, real, but at the same time [there is] the illusion of competition, that fact that, "Oh my God there might be another war" between two competitive brands. And some people get scared, but me, I love competition. I want them to push the envelope, make us push the envelope. Let's get it going because if we can do that, we are going to enter the next great era in professional wrestling."
Riddle was asked about why he wrestles barefoot and how it benefits him. He revealed that it took a while for WWE to allow him to train barefoot at the Performance Center.
"I picked it up doing all combat sports or whatever barefoot," Riddle said. "I'd work out in the gym. It took a while for them to let me do it here in the Performance Center. But now they even let me work out barefoot. It's probably an insurance thing, but they still let me do it. And when I kick people and do stuff like that, it's a lot more impactful. It's a lot more real for me, and then on top of it I think when people see the strikes to other people's heads or whatever and they see the ability I can do it to, and you know how this business is. They are like "holy crap, he doesn't even need a safety net." I think the legitimacy stands out."
Riddle often speaks out about wanting to be the one who eventually retires Brock Lesnar. He was asked why retiring The Beast is so important to him. Riddle said he wants to break Lesnar.
"At the beginning it was just a gimmick. You know, a goal of mine," Riddle said. "One, I wanted to do it when I saw him beat The Undertaker. So he beat the streak at WrestleMania. So right there he solidified himself in WWE history just by doing that. And then when I see him, I just see a guy who's kind of like bullied everyone from Day 1, and I hate bullies. I know it sounds cliche, but literally the reason I fought is dudes like that fight and I love breaking dudes and watching them go from a bully to a child and be like, 'Now, how does it feel?'
"And honestly, I want to break him. I want to break him and show the world him break and I want to beat him and I want to be the one because I think I'm the only one who can carry what he's done and not like he's carried it but in a better way."