Thursday, April 18

Why Matt Riddle Failed To Become A Bigger WWE Star, Explained


  • Matt Riddle’s WWE career was filled with controversies, including allegations of sexual assault and failed drug tests.
  • Riddle was released from WWE after an incident at JFK airport where he accused a cop of sexually assaulting him while intoxicated.
  • Despite claims that he was supposed to win the Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank, Riddle’s issues with Brock Lesnar and Goldberg, as well as trips to HR and a high salary, hindered his success in WWE.

Matt Riddle recently made his NJPW debut at Battle in the Valley and won his first match, teaming up with United Empire’s Jeff Cobb against Zack Sabre Jr. and Bad Dude Tito. Fans will remember that WWE released Riddle in September 2023. A Fightful Select report said that Riddle had “burned through too many chances” in the company, which led to his release.

Riddle had become increasingly popular in the past few years, and his association with Randy Orton had even turned him into a major fan favorite for a while. Riddle was one of the wrestlers who fans thought would become even bigger in the next few years, so why didn’t he?


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Matt Riddle’s WWE Career Was Filled With Controversies

Matt Riddle Was Released After The JFK Airport Incident

WWE Tenure

Matt Riddle’s current status


Signed with MLW and debuted in NJPW in 2024

Matt Riddle’s WWE career started back in 2018. It had been only three years since he started wrestling, and before that, Riddle used to be an MMA fighter. There were already some controversies surrounding him coming into WWE.

Riddle had a decent run in NXT; he won the NXT Tag Team Championships with Pete Dunne in 2020 and was moved to the main roster the next year. 2020 was the same year when the Speaking Out movement happened, and some of wrestling’s beloved wrestlers were immediately blackballed from the business after many women revealed their dark side publicly. Matt Riddle was one of the popular wrestlers who was also accused of sexual assault by another wrestler named Candy Cartwright. Riddle did confirm an affair with her, but denied all of the allegations against him. Cartwright later filed a lawsuit against Riddle and a few other parties, including WWE. A judge removed WWE from the lawsuit in March 2021, and in June, Candy dropped the lawsuit. This wasn’t the only allegation made against Riddle at that time.


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In 2021, Riddle started teaming up with Randy Orton and their tag team, known as RK-Bro, became a fan favorite. They won the Raw Tag Team Titles two times during their run. Orton had to leave wrestling for over a year to recover from a back injury, and during that time, Riddle faced some high-profile wrestlers such as Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. Shortly after, in December 2022, Riddle failed a drug test, and it led to a 60-day suspension. This was Riddle’s second Wellness Policy violation.

A few months before, he had failed his first drug test, which led to his match with Seth Rollins getting delayed until Clash at the Castle. WWE told him he would have to go to rehab or lose his job if he failed another drug test, according to He returned to WWE in April 2023, and for the first few months, everything was okay, until he had anincident in September where he accused a cop of sexually assaulting him at the JFK airport. It was revealed that Riddle was drunk during this incident and he was denied boarding the plane due to this. This was likely the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Riddle was released from his WWE contract on September 22, along with many other wrestlers.


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Matt Riddle Claims He Was Supposed To Win Royal Rumble & Money In The Bank

Matt Riddle Blamed Brock Lesnar For Changing The Script At Royal Rumble


While Riddle did enjoy a fair bit of success in WWE, he was supposed to become an even bigger star. In his own words, Riddle was supposed to win the Royal Rumble 2022 match, but he claimed that because of Brock Lesnar, it didn’t happen. However, Dave Meltzer debunked this rumor on Wrestling Observer Radio. Riddle also claimed that he was supposed to win the Money in the Bank, but Vince flipped the script at the last minute. Aside from his controversies, which put WWE in a bad light along with him, Riddle also had issues with Brock Lesnar and Goldberg. Lesnar told Riddle during the same Royal Rumble that he’d never work with him.

However, the feud between Goldberg and Riddle seems to have died down now, according to the Original Bro. It’s true that Riddle was liked by a lot of people backstage and even many fans thought he’d become a big star, but there were also so many times when Riddle held himself back. He made trips to HR multiple times and also cited Dana White – someone who doesn’t like Riddle much – and his high salary as one of the reasons he got fired from WWE.

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