From fans to WWE Hall of Famers, NXT Tag champ Matt Riddle certainly rubs some people the wrong way.
Riddle’s “backstage heat” have been covered on everything from the dirt sheets to WWE Network specials. The King of Bros talked about it in depth with Sportskeeda’s Gary Cassidy. It’s real, but it’s also not anything he’s worried about hurting his career.
“I’ll tell you this. Do I have heat with WWE or NXT, or the people that run the show? No. Do I have heat with some people who think I’m disrespectful at times because they don’t understand how business works? Yes. Do people take things too seriously? Yes.
And honestly, I’ve had to give talks at NXT, is not like I stopped the place, but it’s like, interjecting. I’m like, ‘Hey. I’m going to tweet or say something that offends you. Realize I’m not trying to actually offend you, I’m just trying to make people think I am. I’m putting out an image, a facade, you know?’
If I talk a certain amount of trash, people are like, ‘Oh, man, that guy’s uncontrollable, he does what he wants.’ You know what I’m saying? I’m doing the job, I’m in the business I’m in. I’m a tag champ, I was in the Rumble, so how does this guy have so much nuclear heat?”
I was in Vince McMahon’s office just three weeks ago, before this thing broke out. I was in headquarters talking to him – and, yeah, we mentioned the heat I have with certain people but, at the end of the day, he signs the checks, he makes it happen for me and they’re in control, not the talent.
If employer’s happy and I can make them money and make them a profit, and I’m worth my weight and I’m pulling my weight, I don’t see a problem. To answer your question, yes, some people I have heat with. But most of it’s just high school, catty, ‘He said this’, people who just can’t take a joke or a work.”
It’s a very reasonable take on the whole situation. And it’s believable, if kind of incredible considering how willing Riddle still is to shoot straight on just about any and everything. Take his breakdown of Goldberg’s recent Universal title run from the same interview:
“You know, it’s unfortunate. It’s not that he wasn’t a money-making machine in his time, and this and that, and that he’s not entertaining. I get it. But, at the end of the day, this is a really hard thing to do. It’s hard on your body and there’s a reason why, you know, people come and go.
Then to not only bring him back but then to almost destroy... if Bray Wyatt wasn’t as good as he is and so charismatic as he is and everything else, he wouldn’t be able to survive. Most characters would die after that and probably be released shortly after. He was billed undefeated then just to have him Speared a couple times, barely Jackhammered, one, two, three.
The other thing, too, is you’re putting other athletes that are in their prime or trying of having their run, you’re putting them in jeopardy because somebody wants to come back. You know? And the landscape of professional wrestling has changed since the ‘90s. Not that it’s better or worse, but it’s a little bit more sport, it’s a little more competitive, it’s a little harder hitting.
Not that there wasn’t hard-hitting stuff or there wasn’t that style then, there was but I feel like now, overall, it’s different. Getting in a World Title match and you can’t deliver a good forearm, or this or that, people are going to call you out.
I don’t think it was a poor move bringing him back for a match, but to bring him back to win the title, to destroy the character like The Fiend being being so unstoppable and then just have Braun Strowman beat him... You know, it doesn’t really do much for Braun Strowman beating him. It’s not like it was a passing of the torch or a great match. It was a couple of Spears and a Powerslam.
And I don’t want to knock on Braun or anybody, I don’t want to knock on people’s work but at the same time, realise where you are, realise how hard people work to get where you are, realise how lucky you are and maybe you just want to put a little bit more effort into what you’re doing.
As a fan, like yourself and myself, we all agree and every fan that watched that, even if they wanted Braun to win or whatever, was disappointed. Even if you wanted Goldberg to win, you probably didn’t want him to win like that. It’s one of those things. You know me, I think it was a bad call but I don’t make those calls, I can only give my input, my insight and my opinion, and that’s all I have.”
You can listen to and read Cassidy’s entire chat with Riddle - which also includes lots of talk about his fellow Stallions Pete Dunne & Timothy Thatcher, and if he ever found out how much fish Bobby Fish could fry if Bobby Fish could fry fish - here.