After SummerSlam, newly crowned Raw Tag champ Riddle made some comments about Roman Reigns that everyone knew wouldn’t play well backstage.
Responding to the Universal champ’s boasts about being
pro wrestling sports entertainment’s prime needle mover, Riddle said he could beat Reigns “in a real fight”. He also implied Roman had his spot because of his family, specifically his cousin Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
The International Business Times asked Riddle about those comments, and rumors they got him in trouble behind-the-scenes.
“I’m not trying to rub anybody the wrong way or say anything [wrong], but I made some comments [and] I’ll say this: I think they were all factual, just so you know. Kind of like I said, [I am] kind of telling the truth here. But I think, maybe, even if they were factual, they weren’t the most professional things to say, especially with me being on the Raw brand and him being on SmackDown.
“I’m not even in that realm of competing with the Tribal Chief. He’s on another level at this moment. I think maybe I got a little too big for my britches, you know what I mean? Maybe I got a little backstage heat. Maybe a tiny bit.
“Unfortunately, I said some things that some people may not have liked and I’m not going to mention names, but they didn’t like it. I won’t say it again. I get it. Right now, all hail the Tribal Chief. Good for Roman. Acknowledge him. Everybody, acknowledge him, okay? That’s all I’m saying.”
There were a few things that stood out about the original quote (with “I can beat you up in a real fight” being a big one, and why it’s a little surprising Riddle seems to be doubling-down even as he apologizes here). The key point from WWE’s perspective is likely the fact there are no plans to put Riddle & Reigns in a program together. That also seemed to be an issue with the former UFC fighter’s comments about Brock Lesnar; top stars and management don’t want talent getting attention for things WWE doesn’t plan to promote.
But as was the case with Goldberg, and Lesnar, and Seth Rollins, Riddle’s unlikely to get more than “a little” heat for this. Comments like the ones he made about Reigns are essentially part of Riddle’s gimmick now, and WWE is having success promoting his act.