Matt Riddle has a reputation for pissing off the wrong people in WWE with his ill-advised trash talk. He repeatedly promised to retire Brock Lesnar, to the point where Lesnar allegedly confronted him and told him the match was never happening. Riddle then buried Goldberg, which led to a hilariously awkward confrontation between the two wrestlers. Riddle also had some beef with Seth Rollins at one point. Just last month, Riddle said Roman Reigns isn’t a needle-mover and can’t beat him in a real fight. That one got Riddle into some hot water, as you might expect.
During an interview on Out of Character with Ryan Satin, Riddle explained the method to his madness:
“I am extremely confident, but I’ve also put the work in to be as confident as I am in what I say.”
“And I do think Vince [McMahon] respects it. I think he likes me a lot. I do think he thinks I’ve definitely overstepped my boundaries a couple times, and he has definitely told me that I have...I really don’t mean to rub people the wrong way, but at the same time, it’s like, we’re in the world of professional wrestling, and I talk trash. That’s what I do. That’s part of my job, is to talk trash on people. And I feel like if I talk really good trash, people get upset, but I just think I’m really good at my job.”
“You know, me and Goldberg don’t see eye-to-eye on some things. Me and other superstars, not gonna mention names, don’t see eye to eye on some things. But to me, that’s the beauty of professional wrestling sports entertainment...these differences, these qualms that we have is what’s great about what we do. And the fact that we might actually have to work together one day, and people know this, it makes what we do even bigger, more real, and better if you ask me. And I think the fans agree as well.”
“...I feel like when you keep it real, that people are like, ‘Whoa, [is] that disrespectful? What’s gonna happen?’ And I want people to talk. If people are talking, it’s good. And that’s what I do, I get people talking.”
Today’s wrestling fans are collectively much more informed about what’s going on behind the scenes than at any point in the past, so it can be harder for pro wrestling angles to get fans to suspend their disbelief. Riddle believes talking this kind of trash will plant that seed of doubt into fans’ heads for a big payoff down the line.
It’s not clear if Riddle’s strategy will ever result in a heated match against Goldberg or Lesnar, or when the payoff will come for a program with Reigns. But even if those matches never happen, Riddle at least wants to elevate his own star by getting people to talk about him. He has certainly succeeded on that front, given how often many fans and wrestlers work themselves into a shoot over his latest words.
Riddle says talking trash is part of the job description of a professional wrestler. Do you think his trash talk is helping his career in WWE?