In 2014, Matt Riddle began training for a career in professional wrestling, and made his debut in February 2015. In 2016, readers of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter recognized him as the wrestling Rookie of the Year and the Most Improved wrestler of the year.
Between 2015 and 2018 Riddle worked on the independent circuit, wrestling for promotions such as Pro Wrestling Guerrilla in California, World Wrestling Network, Evolve on a regular basis and individual matches for a large number of other smaller promotions.
Riddle was one-half of the World Tag Team Champions with partner Jeff Cobb (as The Chozen Bros) as well as a former Evolve champion, WWN Champion, and two-time Progress Atlas Champion. In July, Riddle started a feud with the returning Killain Dain.
On the August 7 episode of NXT, Riddle was supposed to face Dain but it never happened since they brawled before the match happened. The two brawled at NXT Takeover: Toronto and eventually faces each other on the August 21 episode of NXT where Dain was victorious but Riddle attacked Dain after the match.
During a recent interview with Sportskeeda, Riddle spoke about his first year in NXT: “Well, the past year was good. It’s been busy, and ah, I don’t know. It’s great. When you wrestle in the WWE and stuff like that, there’s so much going on.
But it’s all one company, you know. When I was on the indies and stuff, I would wrestle every weekend, four times a weekend, but it was for four different companies every weekend, or at least three. So now just working for one company all the time, it’s just as awesome.
And I think that was the biggest transition. And then, you know, TV and stuff like that. But it’s been a great year. I mean, I’ve gotten like, a bunch of raises. I’m making decent money. I spent a lot of time at the house, you know, during the week.
I live in Florida, and I train in Florida and all of that. So yeah, you know. Trying not to get beat up by WCW legends, or maybe I’m trying to get beat up by him. But, you know, it’s been a good year, and NXT has been treating me pretty good. Not too bad”.