Why WWE Originally Shortened Matt Riddle’s Ring Name

WWE Matt Riddle

A new report has seemingly listed the lid on the reason behind Matt Riddle’s original WWE name change.

When Matt Riddle was moved up to the WWE main roster, it wasn’t long afterward that his ring name was changed to just Riddle. While this didn’t shock many who followed former WWE CEO Vince McMahon and his tendency to shorten wrestlers’ names, it did make some question why the company decided to get rid of a simple first name.

According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Riddle’s previous MMA career and his history with marijuana were the reasons behind the move. Before Riddle was signed to WWE, he fought in the UFC. In 2013, it was found that he failed a post-fight drug test and had tested positive for marijuana. This was his second offense within a year, and he was forced to leave the promotion.

While Riddle would eventually rebound and sign a deal to fight for Bellator, his failed drug test would follow him for the rest of his MMA career. WWE didn’t want fans unfamiliar with the situation to research Matt Riddle and discover what led to his UFC downfall.

“Riddle was given back his first name of Matt. The reason they dropped the Matt name years ago, as silly as this sounds, is because they thought fans Googling Matt Riddle would see articles from his MMA career, which focused on his failing tests for marijuana. But the stigma of marijuana has changed greatly, as they even tease babyface using it in code words on the show now when a few years ago they’d never do so.”

Although Riddle recently got his first name back, his past continues to rear its ugly head. During a backstage interview on this week’s Monday Night Raw, Seth Rollins referenced Riddle’s divorce from his ex-wife in March. The Original Bro has the chance to shut Rollins up once and for all this weekend as the two will square off at Clash at the Castle.