The Original Dud: The Failure of Matt Riddle’s ‘Bro’ Persona

In professional wrestling, where charisma often reigns supreme over raw skill, Matt Riddle’s incessant “bro” shtick stands out like a sore thumb. Rather than providing comic relief or an ironic touch, the former United States Champion’s juvenile catchphrase grows more tiresome with each reiteration, indicating that Riddle is running on the fumes of a worn-out persona.

The problem lies not only in the lazy, repetitive character work that degrades Riddle’s otherwise notable athleticism, but also in a disheartening lack of growth and evolution. It is a disappointing regression for a man who once graced the indie wrestling scene with his relentless style and undeniable skill.

Moreover, the “Original Bro’s” unchanging demeanor does not lend itself well to the various narrative arcs, allies, and rivalries that form the lifeblood of wrestling storylines. There is little to no intrigue in how a man, forever stuck in the ‘bro’ gear, would navigate complex plotlines or undertake compelling character transformations. In contrast to performers who grow, evolve, and keep audiences on their toes, Riddle’s character feels one-note, mired in the swamps of lower mid-card predictability.

The reality is, Riddle’s character lacks the depth and versatility required to hold the spotlight in a main event. His character simply doesn’t possess the multi-dimensionality that top-tier stars such as Roman Reigns or Kenny Omega exhibit, making it hard to imagine him stepping into the prime-time limelight without his persona becoming an instant liability.

Adding to Riddle’s on-screen shortcomings are his off-screen controversies that raise questions about his reliability as a performer. In June 2020, fellow wrestler Candy Cartwright accused Riddle of sexual assault. The allegations resulted in a lawsuit against Riddle, eventually settled out of court, but the incident caused significant reputational damage. As if these serious allegations weren’t damning enough, Riddle has also had run-ins with WWE’s Wellness Policy, resulting in a 60-day suspension in December 2022 for a second violation.

Given Riddle’s unreliable track record, coupled with the already cutthroat competition in WWE, one might question the company’s faith in his potential to rise above mid-card status. Riddle’s controversies have surely done nothing to bolster the company’s confidence in his prospects, making his path to the top of the card even more daunting.

The sad reality is that Riddle, despite his in-ring prowess, is undermined by a blend of tired gimmickry, off-screen controversies, and an apparent lack of growth. As it stands, the ‘Original Bro’ persona is ill-suited to main event status, and unless there’s a significant overhaul in Riddle’s character and conduct, the ceiling for his WWE career seems painfully low. The harsh truth is, the wrestling world doesn’t need another ‘bro’ – it craves compelling characters, reliable professionals, and captivating storylines. And until Riddle can deliver on these fronts, he’ll remain in the shadows of those who can.

Robbie Vice