Matt Riddle’s been doing some press surrounding his United States title win at Elimination Chamber last Sunday (Feb. 21), and we’re learning it’s not just Goldberg that Bro’s willing to offer his unfiltered opinion about.
Just yesterday, we shared Riddle’s take on Undertaker’s January comments that today’s WWE is “kind of soft”. It included the former UFC welterweight saying that pro wrestlers from days gone by “were dumber” than current stars, and that the current locker room features “real savages, not pretend ones.”
It didn’t take long for one of those stars of yesteryear to comment. Spoiler alert: they didn’t say, “good on Matt for sticking up for his era and speaking his mind.”
Booker T addressed Riddle’s comments on the latest edition of his The Hall of Fame radio show/podcast. Book admitted he hadn’t listened to the interview firsthand, but he and co-host Brad Gilmore had seen reports online. After a small rant about “dirt sheets” and “clickbait”, the two-time WWE Hall of Famer explained his issue with the new U.S. champ:
“If he did say it, it should be a problem. That’s where I am on that. If Riddle did say anything about what The Undertaker said... it should be a problem. Cause I’m gonna tell you right now, that’s the first real interview The Undertaker has ever given. And for someone to be giving him push back on what he sees what the business is today, that person should go and talk to him. Not some reporter. You know what I mean? So that’s just my take on it.
“Should it be some pushback as far as from guys like myself if he did call guys from our era, ‘oh, those are just dumb guys’? What do you mean by that first and foremost? How do you come to that conclusion? And then I was reading about the part as far as... MMA guys, you know, they’re really really tough. Well then, go and work for Dana White, remember what Dana White said at the end of his run in the UFC. Go back and do that if that’s what you want to do. If you’re doing this and you’re confusing it with doing that, it’s a problem. If someone doesn’t address it, it’s going to continue to be a problem, it’s that simple.”
“The Undertaker, he’s not Goldberg. He’s not me... He’s a guy that if he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about, none of us do, and we should all just quit the business. We should all just stop even looking at it, we should stop commenting on it if that’s the way... when I hear that kind of stuff it just irks me that no one other than people like myself are saying anything about it.”
Where Booker has a valid point is in saying Riddle should take his issues to people one-on-one before taking them online or to the media. As to the latter, just because you’re asked doesn’t mean you have to answer.
But maybe he had spoken to Taker, or tried to. Or maybe he just doesn’t care (and both as a purveyor of “clickbait” and a lifelong sports fan, it is refreshing when people like Matt who don’t speak in cliche and soundbites come along)?
That’s where pro wrestling’s culture of respect comes in. I understand, and was raised such that my own personal default setting is to not talk back to my elders. But I was also taught that respect is a two-way street. Going on Joe Rogan and calling a bunch of people “soft” isn’t respectful. If you do it, you should expect some clap backs from those people.
And I still think Taker - a lifer who’s talked about wanting to coach at the Performance Center - knew what he was doing when he critiqued the current product. You’ll notice he hasn’t gotten defensive about today’s wrestlers reacting to his comments.
Or maybe the Dead Man just knows plenty of his peers will get defensive?
No matter. Either way, this dirt screen guy wins (bwah-ha-ha).