Matt Riviera is someone who could easily be called a renaissance man. On one hand, he is a top notch professional wrestling star who is adored by fans all over the United States. On the other hand, he is a Reality TV Star having been featured on the VH1 show, Megan Wants a Millionaire. And on the other hand...I need more hands.
Movie Star, Celebreality TV Star, Professional Wrestler...where to start?
Matt Riviera started out as a wrestling fan. When he watched WCW on TV, he had aspirations of one day entering the squared circle as a wrestler himself. But that was to be years away. He could not train in the ring legally until he was 16 and he had the wrestling bug in him. So he did the next best thing. He asked local promoters what he could do until he was old enough to start training.
The first thing promoters told him was that shows don't happen without sponsors. And if he could help find sponsors, that would go a long way to helping him get in the business. They also told him that he could help put posters up around town to promote the next show. In exchange for that, he would get free tickets to the show. The best part of that is that he started meeting a lot of the wrestlers that would one day be his contemporaries. From town to town in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, Matt would be driven around by a father who made sure his compassion for wrestling would not diminish. And the wrestlers and promoters remembered that kid who embraced the business at a young age.
When he reached age 16, he began training in Paris, Arkansas with two gentlemen who would loom large in his life in later years. Pine Bluff's Tim Storm and Fort Smith's Jeff Jett would help train Matt in the beginning. He decided the best way to find wrestling dates was to open his own promotion and Global Pro Wrestling was born.
Matt would bring stars in from around the country and promote shows that most folks today would be jealous of. From "Hacksaw" Butch Reed to "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, Global Pro Wrestling set the standard for professional wrestling shows in Arkansas. And this even before Matt got his college degree. He took some time off from promoting to attend Harding University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism, a perfect lead-in to where he was to go next.
Although Hollywood was calling because of his dashing good looks and charm, Matt still had the wrestling bug in him. He had continued his training and done some spot appearances for other promoters throughout the Midwest while in college. The urge to promote, though, was stronger than ever. But time was a premium for Matt. How to train and run a promotion at the same time was tough. So he took on a partner/trainer and opened The Wrestling School in Russ Vegas, Arkansas. That partner would help him train up and coming wrestlers while Matt gained the valuable gym time on his own.
Global set up a separate promotion that could be run while he devoted his time to another calling, acting. Matt was featured in a movie shot in Arkansas, "Blood Forest - Legend of the Cave Tribe". With this, he could film during the week and still wrestle on selected weekends. Matt moved from that film to another Arkansas-based film, "Happy Hour". It was during the shooting of this movie that Matt's third calling came.
A production company for VH1 had seen some of Matt's work (and his wrestling work as well) and invited him to audition for a new Reality Show, "Megan Wants a Millionaire", featuring Megan Hauserman. Although the series was cancelled prematurely due to legal issues with one of the bachelors, Matt was in all episodes that aired before the cancellation.
When Matt returned to Arkansas, he felt he needed to take the wrestling business one step farther. With the creation of Traditional Championship Wrestling, Matt finally had a promotion that was destined to succeed big time! The TCW crew was assembled and featured not only local wrestling stars, but also stars who had made their name in other national promotions. Television started slow and was seen only on the promotion's web site. But in July of 2011, TCW premiered in the Fort Smith, Arkansas and Little Rock Arkansas markets on broadcast television. The half hour show was seen by over a million viewers each week. In January 2012, TCW was picked up by MeTV Arkansas which would triple the potential viewers each week. In June 2012, TCW Television is projected to move from 30 minutes to one hour per week.
So you decide... Movie Star, Celebreality TV Star, or Professional Wrestler. Where will you see Matt Riviera next?