|Birth||Russellville, Pope County, Arkansas, U.S.A.|
Matt Riviera (born May 18, 1983), is an American professional wrestler currently wrestling for the National Wrestling Alliance where he is currently one half of the NWA World Tag Team Champions with Rob Conway as the tag team The Iron Empire. He has wrestled for several of the NWA's promotions as well as various other independent promotions. He also has promoted wrestling events. In addition to the wrestling business, he has also appeared in movies and television shows. Matt Riviera currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Cauliflower Alley Club.
Matt Riviera was born on May 18, 1983 in Russellville, Arkansas. At the age of 12 after coming across a television program, WCW Worldwide, Matt began his love for Professional wrestling after watching Dick Slater wrestle. Pro wrestling's blend of physicality and theatrics appealed to him and he soon became passionate about professional wrestling. After being told at the age of 15 that he was too young to legally being training as a professional wrestler, Riviera began doing everything he could to get his foot in the door of the wrestling business such as creating wrestling programs. This included writing articles and taking photographs. He also began his first foray into promoting professional wrestling events at the age of 17 after meeting his mentor, wrestling trainer and promoter Bill Ash. He began promoting wrestling events under the name of Global Pro Wrestling. Once he finally began to train to become a Professional wrestler, he discovered that the physicality it takes to be a pro wrestler might be too much for him. He quit wrestling school on three different occasions. However, at age 21, Riviera stuck with wrestling as he trained for six months as well as attended wrestling school for four months. Matt Riviera also obtained a college degree in broadcast journalism, graduating from Harding University out of Searcy, Arkansas in 2006.
Professional Wrestling Career
Matt Riviera had his first professional wrestling match in 2001 for the Arkansas Association of Wrestling by teaming with Running Wolf to take on the team of Frank Thornton and "Big" Wes Jones. Matt would go on to wrestle for various promotions throughout Arkansas and expanded to many other states and promotions. While wrestling, he was still involved in promoting wrestling events, as well as beginning college. Riviera promoted Global Pro Wrestling, which after a name change, became Traditional Championship Wrestling. Traditional Championship Wrestling was able to secure a national cable deal in 2013 with Cox Sports Television that would allow people all over the country to see Riviera and other TCW stars perform weekly. After TCW folded in 2014, Matt would then move on to focus more on his own in-ring career.
In 2005, Matt Riviera won his first professional wrestling championship while competing for Arkansas Wrestling Entertainment (AWE) by winning the AWE International Heavyweight Championship. He won this title by winning a tournament, last defeating Frank Thornton.
In 2009, Matt Riviera further solidified his status as one of Arkansas' premier athletes when he won the Pro Wrestling Arkansas Heavyweight Championship. He would also go on to win the PWA Tag Team Championship the same year, with his partner Johnny Morton.
TCW is the promotion where Matt Riviera has wrestled, as well as promoted. Started as Global Pro Wrestling, it was renamed as Traditional Championship Wrestling in 2009. As a promoter, Riviera took a local wrestling show and expanded it to an hour long show that was available to watch throughout the United States. As a wrestler, Riviera has won the TCW Heavyweight Championship as well as multiple tag team championships with various partners such as Jeff Jett, as Reckage & Romance; with Tim Storm as the Natural State Connection; with Greg Anthony as The Empire; and with WWE Hall of Fame member Jerry Lawler. However, as TCW folded, Riviera began to focus more on his in-ring career and less on promoting.
National Wrestling Alliance
Matt Riviera has wrestled in multiple National Wrestling Alliance promotions including NWA Mid South, NWA IHWE-Texas (Iconic Heroes of Wrestling Excellence), NWA Lonestar, and NWA Universal. While wrestling for these NWA promotions, Riviera has also won several regional championships such as the IHWE Heavyweight championship, NWA Lonestar Tag Team championships with partner Greg Anthony, and twice holding the Western States Heritage title. He is also the current NWA Mid South Unified champion, a championship that was unified with the TCW Heavyweight title when Traditional Championship Wrestling folded in 2014.
The Iron Empire
In 2015, Matt Riviera decided to team up with former WWE star as well as 2 time National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Champion Rob Conway. The two would become known as "The Iron Empire" after Rob's moniker, "The Ironman" and The Empire, a stable of wrestlers led by Matt Riviera. On December 4, 2015, The Iron Empire captured the coveted NWA World Tag Team Championships from The Heatseakers at an NWA Mid South event in Robinsonville, Mississippi. The team would go on to face the top teams in the NWA and are the current champions.
Matt Riviera debuted for Diamond Stars Wrestling on September 25. In the main event, he along with Iron Empire tag team partner Rob Conway, successfully defended the NWA World Tag Team Championships in a 2 out of 3 falls match against Rob Terry and Masakatsu Funaki. In the first fall, Conway pinned Funaki under a mask after hitting The Erotic City (Chokeslam/Belly to back suplex combo). In the second fall, Conway submitted to Funaki via a Rear naked choke. In the third fall, Riviera was disqualified after hitting Terry with a chair.
Besides professional wrestling, Matt Riviera has the passion for acting as well. He got his first chance to be featured in a movie in the 2009 thriller, Blood Forest. Riviera played a deputy in the film. In 2010, Riviera had a role in the drama, Step Away from the Stone. His latest appearance in a movie was in the 2011 thriller, Happy Hour.
It was after VH1 producers saw Matt Riviera's acting in Happy Hour, as well as his in-ring career that they invited him to become a participant on a new reality show, Megan Wants a Millionaire. The show's premise was that reality show contestant, Megan Hauserman would eliminate contestants, one by one until she chose the winner, whom she would marry. Matt Riviera was on the show as his net worth was 5.5 million dollars. The show would only go on to air three episodes due to controversy surrounding one of the contestants. Riviera would appear in all three aired episodes. In 2013, he would appear on the Bravo TV network show Millionaire Matchmaker, Season 6 appearing in the episode titled, The Dancer and the Wrestler.
- Finishing Moves
- One Night Stand (Modified Downward Spiral)
- Matt Lock
- Miley Slam (Chokeslam)
- Gedo Clutch
- Signature Moves
- European Uppercut
- Backhand Chop
- Double Underhook Suplex
- 3/4 Nelson Pin
- Folding powerbomb
- Half Boston crab
- Seated Abdominal stretch into Crucifix Pin
- Mr. 5.5
- All Night Man
- Arkansas Oak
- Entrance Themes Used
- Da Ya Think I'm Sexy? by Rod Stewart
- Call Me (Blondie song) (Extended Version)
- Erotic City by Prince (musician) (Used for The Iron Empire)
- War by Vince DiCola
- Mr. 5.5 by Swoss
- Riviera by Zapp
- I Didn't Mean to Turn You On by Robert Palmer (singer)
Championships and Accomplishments
- Arkansas Wrestling Entertainment
- AWE International Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA Elite Championship Wrestling
- NWA ECW Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Greg Anthony (1) and Tim Storm (1)
- Insane Hardcore Wrestling Excellence
- IHWE Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- National Wrestling Alliance
- NWA World Tag Team Championship (3 times, current) – with Rob Conway
- NWA Lonestar
- NWA Lonestar Tag Team Championships (2 times) – with Greg Anthony
- NWA Mid South
- NWA Mid-South Unified Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA Western States Heritage Championship (2 times)
- Pro Wrestling Arkansas
- PWA Heavyweight Championship
- PWA Tag Team Championship – with Johnny Morton
- Traditional Championship Wrestling
- TCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- TCW Tag Team Championships, (5 times) – with Jeff Jett, Tim Storm, Greg Anthony, and Jerry Lawler