After Night 3 of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla‘s 2016 Battle of Los Angeles in Reseda, I had the chance to speak with former UFC fighter and current rising indepdent wrestling star Matthew Riddle about various topics such as marijuana, media sensationalism over jokes he’s made, wrestling with Jeff Cobb, transitioning from MMA to pro wrestling, his Twitter feud with Dan Hardy, the growth of independent wrestling, and more! Oh, and he also likes smart wrestling fans, bro. Check it out!
Andrew: Ladies and gentlemen, I’m Andrew from SoCalUncensored.com here with former UFC fighter and current professional wrestler Matt Riddle. Matt, how you doing?
Matthew Riddle: What up, bro? How you doin’?
Andrew: I’m kinda baked. I had a bowl before my way over here.
Riddle: Good, good.
Andrew: You just had a 10 man tag team match here at BOLA. How was that? I heard you had a cool exchange with Jeff Cobb.
Riddle: Yeah dude, it was pretty sweet. It’s the first time I’ve did more of a comedy based match. I came out with Sami Callihan on my shoulders, with a cat mask, our faces were painted like cats, so it was a little unique for me. But, uh yeah, that exchange I had with Cobb, amazing. I can’t wait to wrestle him at AAW in a couple week.
Andrew: I’ve been training to do MMA and doing jiu-jitsu for the past four years or so, and one of the things that interested me about doing an interview with you was not because you’re doing professional wrestling now, but because of your marijuana stance and how you have, um, outspoken views and opinions on that shit.
Riddle: It’s probably cost me a lot of opportunities, but yeah.
Andrew: Yeah. But what do you think of the attitude now towards marijuana in Mixed Martial Arts with commissions raising the testing thresholds?
Riddle: Well, the threshold was raised probably two or three months after I was fired, and they banned T.R.T. which I thought was good, and they raised the (marijuana) metabolite (testing) levels, which I totally they think should do. When I got popped, they were .50 ng/mL, now they test for .150 ng/mL. So, it is what it is, you know? I guess I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time, but I think I was saying the wrong things at the wrong time too, but I was just being honest!
Andrew: Funny you mention, I was going back and listening to podcasts this morning you were on at that time, and I remember this one you had this sorta controversial quote…
Riddle: Awww, yeah!
Andrew: About the kids, about the wife, and all that, and I listened to it and nobody got the context that it was a joke! I heard it and I was like “dude, this guy is obviously joking!”
Riddle: The people on the show got it was a joke! I got it was a joke! Everybody laughed on the show! If you heard the show, everybody laughed, it was in the context of the show. What the New York Times (it was actually the New York Post) did was they heard that snippet, and made a headline in the New York Times (New York Post) and were like, you know, “UFC cagefighter says…” and then it’s like “really?” And I’ll be honest, the UFC wasn’t even upset about it. They were just “don’t worry about it” because at the time they were trying to get into New York, and they finally did, but at the time they were trying to, the New York Post and everybody else was trying to do everything they could to stop it.
Andrew: Another thing about that time was you said something about British fans…
Riddle: Yes, Buttered-Toothed Brits!
Andrew: Are you going to be going to wrestle in England soon?
Riddle: I am! I will actually be there the 18th. I actually got into a little Twitter feud with Dan Hardy the other day with the whole Conor McGregor thing, and I called him and Conor a mutt. They’re Europeans that they gotta push way too fast, which is true you know. And, you know, of course he retweeted back, blah, blah, blah, and then of course he brought up the quote! The kid quote, and I was like “really, bro? It was sarcasm!”
Andrew: What were your thoughts on the Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor fights.
Riddle: I thought the second fight was good, the first fight was good. You know.
Andrew: Who won the second one in your opinion?
Riddle: You know, it depends on the way you judge a fight. If you judge a fight on like trying to finish primal style, like in PRIDE in Japan, Nate Diaz won. He was trying to finish, he was going for it. Conor was trying to win on points. If you go by the American standard of scoring, like boxing…
Andrew: 10-9 rounds.
Riddle: 10-9, yes, Conor won. He was out pointing him slightly, and yeah, he was moving.
Andrew: Now let’s get into wrestling, how has your transition been going from MMA into professional wrestling? Was it easy, was it hard? Did you adjust well?
Riddle: Everything was pretty easy. The only hard parts were like the business aspect of professional wrestling, and then the selling. When you’re in a fight and you get punched in the face, you know, you don’t fucking let people know you’re hurt. You’re like “yeah, come on brother.” And you don’t even do that because if you smile they’re like “Oh, I hurt him…”
Andrew: Cause they know you’re hurt.
Riddle: Yeah, because why are you smiling? Unless you smile all the time! *Matt starts to smile and laugh* Then nobody ever notices you’re hurt! But yeah, so, yeah.
Andrew: Have wrestling promoters been more accepting of your views on marijuana?
Riddle: You know, eh, not the WWE.
Riddle: Been told not there. But yeah. Most of the people, let’s be honest, in society today if you did a vote or statistic, probably over 50% of the people would be on my side. In my eyes, it’s a medicine. And actually, I won’t even say medicine. It’s a supplement. You know, like, somebody takes their Ultra Cordyceps, or their greens and their rebs.
Andrew: Dana White, he’s a guy you’ve been very outspoken about, but now you’re on the independent wrestling scene and you’re dealing with independent wrestling promoters. Who do you think is better? Independent wrestling promoters, or Dana White, like when it comes to dealing with them, their attitudes, and all that.
Riddle: I’ll tell you this, the wrestling business in general is a more personable business. You have to be more personable, period. While fighting is more like, “do what you’re told, jump when I say to jump and you’ll get this much money.” It’s like, what choice do you have? Only one big show is in town. And the thing about professional wrestling at this point is I’m wrestling on the indies, and I could really, and I don’t mean this negatively to anybody, anywhere, but I couldn’t really care less if if TNA, or WWE, or Lucha Underground, or anybody picked me up right now, because I’m making really good money, I’m having a really good time, I have creative control in my matches. They just tell me a time and I get to do what I want to do.
I know if I went to one of those bigger places, you’ve got people, agents, and other things that tell you tell how they want you to say something. They’ll say “well. why don’t you do it like this” and other things, and there’s a lot of politics in that thing too. So I think where I am right now is perfect for for me, and maybe in a couple years I’ll blossom into the bigger show, maybe, but right now it’s like I’m really happy doing what I’m doing, and as you can see the indys are fucking bigger and better than before!
Andrew: I remember 10 years ago it was hard for shows, even PWG, were struggling to draw good crowds, but now they’re selling out all their shit, so it’s really amazing to see what’s going on.
Riddle: I think a lots changed, i think.
Andrew: Technology for instances.
Riddle: Yeah, there’s a lot more styles of professional wrestling coming to the forefront as well. With MMA being so relevant, there’s the “World Of Sport” professional wrestling, then there’s “Strong Style” of professional wrestling…
Andrew: Lucha Libre….
Riddle: You know! There’s so many different things.
Andrew: So what are your impressions on the Southern California wrestling fans?
Riddle: Amazing! You know, and this is the biggest thing. In my eyes, my favorite fan is a smart fan. A fan that like, they don’t have to know who I am, cause there was people when I came out who didn’t know who I was when I came here but once they saw me start moving, they were like…“he fucking knows what he’s doing” and they can tell that by just looking at me, and it takes an educated eye. Because somebody can just be like “Eh that’s boring.” But that crowd respected what me and Cobb could do. And they fucking lit up.
Me and Jeff Cobb, we’ve been doing this shit since we were kids! We know what we’re doing! They know what we’re doing, and it’s that mutual respect. And that’s what I like about crowds like this. Even the EVOLVE crowds, and Beyond’s (Beyond Wrestling) crowds. It’s a different group of people. It’s almost like, you know, you go to certain festivals or Comic-Con, it’s almost like that, but’s professional wrestling. We’re our own, unique group, you know? We’re different.
Andrew: Definitely. Now to wrap this up, you have a show coming up in October with Adam Thornstowe out here in Baldwin Park. Any thoughts on that?
Riddle: I’m pretty excited! I’ll be back in LA you know, and uh, you know he’s wrestled good people, he puts on good matches, and he’s a performer! So, I’m just excited to get back out here and perform for the fans.
Andrew: Man, thank you a lot Matt for this interview.
Riddle: No problem. Anytime.
For actual stats on marijuana legalization support, check out this article published in April by CBS news. Yes, they posted it on 4/20. Har. Har.