Matt Riddle is one of WWE's biggest stars who is not currently on the main roster. The former UFC fighter has been with NXT for about one year and gets to showcase his abilities on a bigger stage now that NXT is on the USA Network.
Riddle talked about the opportunity in front of him with USA when he appeared on Lilian Garcia's podcast.
"I am really excited. I love NXT, but I am really more excited to be on live TV," revealed Riddle. "I have been waiting to be on that platform in that position and have this opportunity for a very long time. I think in this situation is that people shine and live TV is a high-pressure situation and I love high pressured situations like fighting and being on camera and doing things like that.
"When you have the gun to the back of my head, I got it. I am really excited and getting that rush feeling every week, I think it's going to be good. I know we are going to be in Florida more at Full Sail, but I think the Florida audience is going to bring it. We have two hours a week so I think it's going to be good. We have a lot of talent here and I think it's just going to get more stacked as time goes on."
Riddle competed in amateur wrestling in both high school and college before transitioning solely to MMA. He then began training in pro wrestling in 2014 and even received a WWE tryout a year later but says he was rejected for something that had nothing to do with his ability in the ring.
"I got denied. I think if it wasn't for my past with UFC, which you would think would help, which it did, but it also hurt because I got in trouble for smoking pot," stated Riddle. "Let me clarify, I wasn't just smoking pot, I had a medical marijuana license and I was legally allowed to use it in the state of Nevada because I had a couple of hand surgeries and knee surgeries and I was prescribed all of these pharmaceutical drugs that I didn't want to take that were addictive. I chose to go that route and I got in trouble for that."
"I wanted to finish [in UFC] but after they fired me and then Dana White went on FS1 and buried me and called me a loser. One of the statements was, 'Where is this loser going to get six-figures a year?' Now, I am here making six-figures," Riddle said of wrestling. "People always asked me if it fired me up, it really didn't. The reason why I started wrestling was because I was fighting but I felt like an unwanted prom date at the UFC. I just felt like I was too expensive, too valuable and nobody wanted to pay me what I was worth and nobody wanted to fight me because I was a top-tier fighter and in order to get to the UFC you have to win.
"But after MMA, I just felt like it wasn't working out and I was sitting at my house and was just like I didn't want this to be the end. This is the story? I was happy with my life. I was living in Las Vegas. I had a house that was already paid for. My kids were going to school, my wife was substitute teaching, so we had a little thing going. I was doing some privates with MMA and we were fine, but I just felt like there was more. I literally called my buddy and said, hey, I want to become a pro wrestler, what do you think? He said that I would be stupid if I didn't try. I sold my house in Las Vegas and moved to Pennsylvania because one of my family members was from there and there was a bunch of wrestling schools in the Northeast."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chasing Glory w/Lilian Garcia with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.