Matt Riddle has been garnering a ton of headlines recently and for a variety of reasons.
While his tag team with Pete Dunne - the Broserweights - has been wildly fun and their Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic win was a breath of fresh air, that's not what people are primarily associating Riddle's name with.
The former UFC standout - who was on a five-fight win streak before being fired for testing positive for marijuana twice inside a year - has been claiming he will be the man to retire Brock Lesnar since he got into professional wrestling.
Lately, that notion has finally gotten him in trouble.
At the Royal Rumble, multiple sources who are actual WWE employees told me that the backstage talk they had was very real. It wasn't a row or even heated, but Lesnar made a point of telling Riddle that he should stop talking about him because the pair would never work together.
Following that, Dave Meltzer reported that Vince McMahon had a problem with Riddle, saying: "The issues with Vince McMahon and Matt Riddle are due to his social media posts and challenges. Brock Lesnar doesn’t like him for it and Lesnar has tremendous pull with Vince. Vince also sees him as an outside guy and feels Riddle has no respect for the hierarchy of the business by challenging Goldberg and Lesnar."
Triple H has since denied that Vince has a problem with Riddle, or at least that he has heard that he does, but has acknowledged that they had words.
Speaking to me last summer hot on the heels of some pretty outspoken comments about Goldberg in the ring, Riddle said Triple H loves how outspoken he is.
"Just like with the Goldberg stuff – I’m me. I let them know before I signed - because I had opportunities to go work other places - my thing was, I didn’t want to let them down. I’m going to tell you who I am, I’m very honest and even with [Matt] Bloom, we’ve gotten into it where I’m like ‘hey man, I think you’re disrespecting me’ and he’s like ‘what!’ and we get into it but then we’re better afterwards because I don’t hold anything back.
"I’m very honest. I’ll talk, and I’ll talk some sh*t, I’ll say some stuff. But, at the same time, it’s usually true, I back it up and I think they [WWE] respect that. I think if I was a bad worker and then I did everything that I do, they’d be like ‘hate this guy’. But, all the talents like Triple H and Shawn Michaels, they know I’m legit as hell and they love it. They love how I am. Same thing with [William] Regal and [Robbie] Brookside or anybody else, they all know."
Whether the Vince reports on Riddle were accurate or not, there's no doubt that Triple H is super, super high [excuse the pun] on Matt Riddle. I've been told that by Triple H himself, Riddle himself, and multiple people who work inside the company.
Triple H thinks Riddle's penchant for writing cheques with his mouth is a vital part of the performer and the character, especially because he can back it up.
Whether he ultimately gets to retire or even face Lesnar is up for debate, but Riddle told me he'd be 'shocked' if it didn't happen.
Triple H encourages Riddle to be as provocative as he is. If you read that WWE aren't happy with The Original Bro's character or persona, I wouldn't take much notice of it unless he does something truly outlandish!
While Triple H has his back the way that he does, Riddle's path to stardom remains strong.Published 13 Feb 2020, 06:23 IST