Why Matt Riddle Doesn’t Wear Shoes To Wrestle, Explained

Hamish Woodward

WWE Superstar Matt Riddle is famous for his unique in-ring attire. Riddle wrestlers barefoot in the ring, being the first WWE Superstar to wrestle without wearing shoes since Rusev in 2014.

It hasn’t hindered him however, as he is a former WWE Tag Team Champion and one of the most popular wrestlers on the roster.

Despite being one of the top wrestlers in the WWE, this was not always his dream. Matt Riddle was originally an MMA fighter, competing at the highest level in the UFC.

He was first discovered in the reality show The Ultimate Fighter in 2008. He didn’t win the show, but impressed enough to actually be signed by the company on a full-time basis.

Matt Riddle was well on the way to becoming a legend in UFC, but his drug habits caused him to get fired from the company.

He was popped for smoking weed, which is now not something you can be fired for in the UFC and is legal in many different US states.

After he was kicked out of the UFC in 2013, Matt Riddle turned to wrestling. His became a hit on the indies with his unique style, quirky personality and wrestling with his shoes off, which ingratiated him to crowds in promotions like PWG.

He impressed so much that he was signed to NXT in 2018, just four years after he started professional wrestling.

He moved up to the main roster just a year after debuting and recently formed a tag team with Randy Orton. This odd-couple duo were named RK-Bro and were the last team to hold the Tag Team Championships before The Usos legendary run with the titles.

Why Does Matt Riddle Wrestle Without Shoes.

Matt Riddle wrestles without shoes on due to a childhood injury making wearing footwear incredibly painful for him.

Many thought that the choice to go barefoot was simply a throwback to his days in the UFC, where fighters are not allowed to wear shoes, boots or any kind of footwear.

Instead, the reason Matt Riddle doesn’t wear shoes in the ring is because he suffered frostbite as a child.

He revealed in an interview with Michael Cole in WWE that during a vacation in Wisconsin when he was a child, he put his feet in the freezing cold water. This caused a burning sensation which turned to frostbite.

Doctors considered amputating his entire foot but managed to save both of them. However, he still gets a burning sensation whenever he puts on shoes, which is why he walks to the ring in flip flops and wrestles completely barefoot.

“When I was a child, my family took me on vacation to Wisconsin and it just so happened to be winter time and they had this sweet indoor pool.

I’d swim in the indoor pool and then I’d go outside and play in the snow. I did this back and forth, back and forth, one day I kinda stayed outside a little too long because when I came back in to go swimming and I put my feet in the water, my feet were on fire.

When I told my mom, she said, ‘I’m pretty sure you have frostbite, Matt.’

We went to the doctor, sure enough, I had frostbite. They were even thinking about amputating the bro’s tootsies, the feets, the foots, bro. Bro, luckily, I pulled through and that didn’t happen, but that’s why I never wear shoes.

Whenever I put a pair of shoes on, I get that burning sensation. I never wear shoes, I don’t care if it’s a wedding, a bar mitzvah, I don’t care if I’m hanging out with a bear, I never wear shoes anywhere, bro.

Also that day, I learned something, I learned you could lose everything in a moment. Even though I can’t feel anything with my feet, my feet allow me to feel everything else that much more,” 

Matt Riddle on why he wrestles barefoot.

Riddle was not been seen on TV for some months. He is currently suspended by the WWE due to his second failure of the Wellness Policy, being popped for drugs that were not marijuana.

He recently went to rehab for an unspecified addiction, but returned to the WWE on the Raw after WrestleMania 39.

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