Ever since he joined WWE in 2018 after successful stints in mixed martial arts and independent wrestling, Matt Riddle has been plagued by various backstage heat rumors that have hinted at friction with fellow wrestlers and company officials alike. In a recent interview, the reigning co-holder of the NXT Tag Team Championships opened up about these rumors, clarifying some of the apparent misconceptions about how he is perceived in the black-and-gold brand’s locker room.
Speaking to Sportskeeda’s Gary Cassidy in an interview published on Monday, Riddle discussed a wide range of topics, with the topic of his alleged backstage heat coming up at one point. The former UFC welterweight fighter explained that he doesn’t feel he has “heat” in the truest sense of the word in wrestling parlance, saying that the people who have issues with him tend to be those who don’t understand the business and how it works. He added that he’s had to give “talks” in the NXT locker room where he explains to his colleagues that anything offensive he says online is part of his gimmick and not reflective of his true personality.
“I’m like, ‘Hey. I’m going to tweet or say something that offends you. Realize I’m not trying to actually offend you, I’m just trying to make people think I am. I’m putting out an image, a facade, you know?’”
Expounding on his earlier remarks, Riddle suggested that it cannot be said that he has “nuclear heat” when he and Pete Dunne won the NXT Tag Team Championships just weeks after he was among the surprise entrants in the men’s battle royal at this year’s Royal Rumble.
In addition, Riddle talked about his relationship with WWE chairman Vince McMahon, admitting that while the two of them discussed the aforementioned rumors, McMahon still “signs the checks” at the end of the day. He concluded his discussion of the matter by saying that most of the issues he has with people backstage are of a juvenile, “catty” nature.
Although Riddle didn’t directly address the rumored real-life feud he has with Goldberg, the “King of Bros” said that he found it “unfortunate” that the WWE Hall of Famer was brought back to action to defeat “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt for the Universal Championship so convincingly. He said that it’s a good thing Wyatt was able to recover from what many felt was a bad booking decision, adding that Braun Strowman’s eventual title win over Goldberg at WrestleMania 36 didn’t “really do much” for him at the end of the day.