NXT, the WWE's third brand, has proven its ability to produce marquee talent. With Wrestlemania season now behind us, it's time to anoint the next superstar to steer the ship. The recent NXT call-ups left a void that needs to be filled, but WWE won't have a hard time finding their new face of Takeover. The "Bro Movement" is happening before our eyes. Here's why Matt Riddle is primed to join NXT's elite:
Riddle showcased success in MMA boasting a career 8-3 record with two no-contests. He was in the midst of a four-fight win streak before testing positive for marijuana and ultimately being terminated, which actually helped him set his sights on a career in professional wrestling. Following in the footsteps of mixed martial artists to join WWE such as Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler, Riddle brings an element of realism to his in-ring style.
Riddle captivates with a unique striking approach, and combines that with jujitsu-style submissions. NXT Takeover: Los Angeles set Riddle up for success in his debut victory over Kassius Ohno. Shocking the Staples Center crowd by defeating the "Knock Out" artist in a matter of seconds. The cool, calm and collected Superstar that can knock your teeth out lends credibility to the brand.
Riddle hasn't wasted anytime leveraging his social media following. Riddle has been active on social media and in interviews, he's as been open about his desire to retire Brock Lesnar. He also lobbied to be Kurt Angle's farewell match opponent at this past Wrestlemania. Tying a rocket to the back of Riddle should be in Triple H's immediate plans. Most Superstars have to grow their brand within the NXT Universe, but the "King of Bros" came equipped with his own fan base. With the main roster loaded with talent, the company would be wise to allow Riddle's ascension to happen slowly, but steadily.
In doing so, they can build off his persona with merchandise such as Riddle slides, track jackets and snapbacks. Merchandise sales are one of the main drivers of the company. Riddle could be right alongside main roster powerhouses like The New Day and Bailey. Riddle is already a fan favorite and once he becomes profitable, he'll have staying power in the main event picture.
NXT Takeover: New York gave fans a better look at Riddle on the biggest weekend of the year. His contest with Velveteen Dream has a case for being the best all weekend. Riddle showcased his ability to be a workhouse, dominating 90% of the match. This very well could have been a look into a future Wrestlemania main event. Despite suffering his first defeat, he looked every bit of a champion.
Moving forward, Matt Riddle has a chance to be etched into the Mount Rushmore of NXT. The remainder of 2019 should be focused on creating hurdles on his road to greatness. Allowing him to properly climb the ranks from the bottom.
The feud that will get Riddle over is against the Undisputed ERA, which is being tested at live events. A program between him and the heel stable could see Riddle eventually battle Adam Cole, who may be NXT champion if pulled off correctly. Cole is seasoned enough to shoulder the promo load. Having an entourage continuously keep Riddle down would tell the perfect story. Matt eventually would overcome the Undisputed ERA and cement his place atop NXT. In the meantime there are endless dream match scenarios that the company can use with Riddle. With him, NXT is in very capable hands, and the best is yet to come.
Cedric Welton is an aspiring journalist. In addition to creating content for TSFJ, he works part time at the NFL in Next Gen Stats and is a Reporter/Host for Torrance CitiCable's Sports Desk. He is a proud Arizona State Alum and enthusiast of all things WWE and combat sports.
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