It appears that Brock Lesnar is just one of multiple WWE superstars who has issues with NXT standout Matt Riddle, as a new report suggests that the former UFC welterweight fighter was tossed out so quickly in this year’s men’s Royal Rumble match because of backstage heat.
According to WrestlingNews.co, Dave Meltzer said on Tuesday’s edition of Wrestling Observer Radio that Riddle appears to have rubbed a number of people in WWE the wrong way, hence the company’s decision to have him eliminated by “King” Baron Corbin in just 41 seconds during the men’s Rumble match on Sunday. The publication noted that this was mentioned as Meltzer and co-host Bryan Alvarez were discussing the wrestlers who were in the running to face Lesnar at WrestleMania 36 in April — a list of superstars that supposedly did not include Riddle, in specific.
As explained by Meltzer, it isn’t clear why there’s a “lot” of backstage heat on Riddle. However, he stressed that it was WWE owner Vince McMahon’s call to book the 34-year-old NXT star in such a way, adding that this was also done in order to underscore Corbin’s status as a top heel.
“I’m not there, I can’t speak for his attitude. I can only speak for his performance, his performance is really good. I haven’t heard anything negative on his attitude but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing there. It doesn’t mean that somehow he just rubs somebody the wrong way with whatever it is that he’s done. I don’t know what it would be.”
Commenting on the new rumors, WrestlingNews.co speculated that the purported heat on Riddle may be the reason why he hasn’t been given a main-event spot on NXT. As noted, it appears that former NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa will be next in line to fight for the black-and-gold brand’s top belt against the current titleholder, Adam Cole, at NXT TakeOver: Portland.
The latest update from Meltzer is not the first time it’s been hinted that Riddle might be unpopular among his colleagues. In September, the “King of Bros” took to his Twitter account, ostensibly in character, to say that he “hates” several unspecified co-workers for refusing to give him a ride to work because their cars were “too full with so much talent.” It was also around that time that he was in a notable feud with Bill Goldberg, who reportedly approached him over the comments he made about the Hall of Famer’s perceived lack of talent in relation to his WWE paycheck.