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 many 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. Speaking on Lilian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast, Riddle talked about being rejected by WWE after his 2015 tryout: “I got denied.
I think if it wasn’t for my past with the UFC — which, you would think it would help. Which it did, but it also hurt because I got fired for smoking pot. And not because — to 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 the other route, and I got in trouble for that”.