TSC Interviews: WWE Tough Enough's Jeremiah Riggs
WWE's Tough Enough reboot has been a hit thus far, featuring unique personalities, a great cast of trainers, and world class athletes. Well, one world class athlete--Jeremiah Riggs.
Riggs is no stranger to competition or adversity. The former Army Ranger served a tour in Afghanistan and just recently closed the door on a solid mixed martial arts career. He was even a preliminary competitor on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rampage vs. Team Forrest.
By the time the fighter-turned-wrestler tried out and won a spot on USA Network's Tough Enough, Riggs already experienced things other contestants could only dream of dealing with. Though Riggs is quick to admit that the trainers didn't break him, learning WWE Hall of Famer "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was the show's host made Tough Enough a bit more nerveracking.
Riggs spoke to The Sports Courier on May 13 about his MMA career, getting into wrestling, becoming a Tough Enough contestant, his experiences this season, and what it means to become a WWE superstar.
Fast Facts about Jeremiah Riggs:
- Professional MMA record 7-5 (ended career with five straight wins)
- Competed in Strikeforce and Bellator MMA promotions
- The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rampage vs. Team Forrest alum
- Trained by Memphis wrestling legend "Dirty" Dutch Mantell
What came first. Your love for MMA or professional wrestling?
Definitely professional wrestling. I didn't really know what MMA was until I got a bit older. As a kid though, I always used to watch wrestling with my dad. We would just have fun watching and wrestle each other all the time. Some of my best memories with my dad involve professional wrestling. When you're a kid, you grow up with your pops. That's something all the kids do is wrestle their dad and that's something we enjoyed doing.
I've always liked wrestling. I'm more of an honest kind of person. I can't say I am one of those obsessed fans that knew every single thing that was going on because I had other stuff I was doing in life, but I always followed wrestling. I always kept up with what was going on as I got older.
Did you train in MMA first or pro wrestling?
Just MMA. I didn't do wrestling until years later. I started training six years ago. I never dreamed I'd be where I'm at now. I had a lot of fun in MMA and I climbed the ladder. I had a few people in Nashville keep telling me I should get into wrestling. They said my personality and charisma would fit in perfectly. Me growing up the way I did, a goal like that is a big dream. I always aimed my sights high, but I could have never imagined how far I'd go so far.