“It doesn’t matter if you like me, hate me, I beat your favourite wrestler, it doesn’t matter, by the end of the show: “Bro”. “Bro. Bro…””
That wasn’t just a promo Matt Riddle cut to Vice Sports. Something happens when Riddle makes his entrance. The crowd, in unison, chants “Bro!” Bro!” Bro!” under his spell. To conflate our ’90s hip hop references, they are hypnotised when the opening synth whistles to “Regulate” creep onto the PA system. To borrow his phrase, it doesn’t matter if you yourself don’t ascribe to bro culture. It doesn’t matter if you’re a boring, bespectacled geek off the street, more likely to drink wine than smoke weed. It doesn’t matter if you hate jocks, or if you hate dude-bros. Riddle, with his massive, beaming, almost dumb grin, makes everybody feel like they belong.
There’s something of The Rock about him. He’s so obviously the coolest man in the room—with a subcultural aesthetic at odds with the geekier pro wrestling fandom—but he’s not remotely detestable. He’s just popular, in a word.
He makes sure to fist-bump as many of his fans as possible. He nods along to his entrance theme—it helps that it is a total jam—and transmits a sense of fun. He’s having, or has had, the time of his life on the Independent circuit with an act precision-engineered to put smiles on faces, not that he does any cynical engineering. It’s all so effortless to him, or at least, that’s how it appears.
He’s unique, as well as transcendentally charismatic. He was a real fighter - and a d*mn good one - and comes equipped with the attendant badass, legitimate aura. In addition to winning over crowds, there are few if any better acts out there at allowing them to suspend their disbelief. He is a phenomenal and credible pro wrestler like no other. He is still inchoate, but incredible, and improving all the time.