They may not have crossed paths during the men’s Royal Rumble match at the pay-per-view of the same name, but rumors suggest that WWE Champion Brock Lesnar had a heated exchange of words with NXT superstar and fellow UFC alumnus Matt Riddle before the start of the event.
Citing multiple unnamed sources, Pro Wrestling Sheet’s Ryan Satin wrote that Lesnar and Riddle passed each other backstage, leading to a “tense” verbal altercation between both men. One insider claimed that “The Beast Incarnate” was particularly interested in whether the NXT standout has legitimate issues with him. Satin also noted that per three of his sources, the purported argument between the two wrestlers was not part of a storyline, as many backstage encounters tend to be.
As further pointed out, Riddle has long talked about his plans to “retire” Lesnar at WrestleMania, although he and the former UFC heavyweight champion had yet to encounter each other in person prior to this year’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view. In October, the “King of Bros” told Pro Wrestling Sheet that he’s not sure whether Lesnar recognizes him, despite their shared past in the world of mixed martial arts.
“Maybe, I don’t know. I don’t even think Brock knows who I am. He’s never acknowledged me. I’ve been to multiple shows he’s been at and I’ve never seen him in person.”
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) January 24, 2020
As recapped by Cageside Seats, Lesnar dominated the first several minutes of the men’s Royal Rumble match on Sunday night. He was introduced as the first entrant and eliminated 13 wrestlers in quick succession — before eventual winner Drew McIntyre entered at No. 16 and quickly kicked the WWE Champion out of the ring with his Claymore finisher. Riddle, meanwhile, was the 23rd entrant and only lasted a few minutes before he was eliminated by “King” Baron Corbin.
In a separate report, WrestlingNews.co stressed that McIntyre’s victory makes him Lesnar’s most likely opponent at WrestleMania 36, as is customary for the male and female winners of the Royal Rumble’s eponymous battle royals.
Lesnar is not the only major name that Riddle has reportedly feuded with since he joined the NXT roster in the summer of 2018. Last year, the 34-year-old ex-mixed martial artist made several critical comments about Bill Goldberg, stressing that he was never a fan of the WWE Hall of Famer’s high salary and perceived lack of in-ring ability. This reportedly led to a confrontation between the two grapplers, where Goldberg questioned Riddle about the aforementioned remarks and took exception to the NXT star’s penchant for addressing his colleagues as “bro.”