Former UFC fighter Matt Riddle is now with NXT, but he passed through The Monster Factory wrestling school before landing with WWE. Danny Cage is the owner of the school and he talked about the success his former student is having when he spoke to Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast.
"I'm loving it and this is where I can admit when I'm wrong. I thought that when he was training with us, not that he wouldn't make it, but that he would stand in his own way because he's so out there and so independent," stated Cage. "But it works for him and wrestling needs someone like him. He's a star top to bottom. I'm glad that he proved me wrong and I love when people prove me wrong, because I learn something."
Cage said Riddle was a great student who would listen but they would butt heads and had words from time to time.
"He hated promos; that was it. Keep in mind he's coming from the UFC world and is ready to go. It's like having a kid in the candy store in that you can look at all the candy but you can't eat any. So we'd bring him into the gym for promos for two hours and he'd get antsy," said Cage who then said Riddle's promo style is unique because it contrasts with his character.
"Everything he does is so odd because he's a legit ass-kicker and everyone knows that. But they always say your promos should fit the way you wrestle," Cage said before adding that guys like Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels cut promos resembling their wrestling styles. "Riddle does not. Riddle is not laid back in the ring. He's a badass and his engine can stay 1000 RPMs. As soon as he flips off those flip-flops, then he's not that guy anymore."
"In my mind I said if it was three or four years ago, you just signed your own death certificate," stated Cage. "But since he's proven he can say and do these things and back it up, how can you fault him for that? The guys he's popping off to are the guys that would have been popping off to people when they were his age.
"It's generating pub and it's all good. I would salivate at the change to book stuff like that and see where it could go. We're getting to a point where you don't have to keep your mouth shut about other places. We don't have to pretend that nobody exists except WWE."
Along those lines, Cage talked about the current wrestling environment where talent isn't afraid to speak out.
"I love it and it's welcome because it's saying to the fans that we're not gonna treat you like idiots anymore. We're not gonna give you everything you want because if we give you everything you want, you'll get spoiled and walk away and find something else. So we're gonna keep you on that short leash and every once in a while give you a payoff," said Cage.
Getting back to having heated arguments with Riddle, Cage said that Riddle would then quickly move on from them and actually learned something from the exchanges.
"But that's just Riddle," said Cage. "We would literally yell and scream at each other and then he'd be like, 'You know what? I'm so glad we had this talk. Now I understand and we should have more of these talks.'"
Riddle notoriously criticized Goldberg which seems to be setting up a Riddle vs. Goldberg match, or at least Cage thinks so.
"It only makes sense or at least do something with Riddle, Goldberg and somebody else. How could you not? Jericho did a similar thing with Roddy Piper and Ricky Steamboat," stated Cage. "Why not do something with Riddle, Goldberg, Lance Storm, Booker T? That'd be a lot of fun.
Danny Cage serves as the owner and head trainer for the "World Famous" Monster Factory pro wrestling academy. For more information about the Monster Factory please visit monsterfactory.org.
Danny's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of today's episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post. In it Danny discusses his recent stint guest coaching at the WWE Performance Center, heated arguments he's had with Matt Riddle during training, Matt Riddle's least favorite part of training, why Monster Factory and ROH's relationship didn't work out, the current state of ROH, the launch of AEW, training superfan Izzy and more.