On Monday evening, Friday Night SmackDown superstar Jaxson Ryker — who performs on the blue brand as one-third of The Forgotten Sons — took to Twitter to express his support for President Donald Trump, adding the words “God bless America” and dropping his faction’s catchphrase at the end. However, it wasn’t long before the grappler got blasted by several other wrestlers, who appeared to take issue with the timing and sentiment of his tweet.
Among the first to reply to Ryker’s tweet was Monday Night Raw’s Kevin Owens, who, in his Twitter post, seemed to be pointing out that the SmackDown star was being tone-deaf by trying to get his catchphrase over during such trying times.
“The freedom you speak of entitles you to speak your mind all you want. I’m not here to argue that. I just really need to tell you that I think you pushing your sh*tty wrestling catchphrase as all of this is happening is absolutely f*cking pathetic. Good night.”
Other WWE superstars, including Ryker’s blue brand co-workers Sami Zayn and Mustafa Ali, had similar reactions to his comments. Zayn countered Ryker’s “built of freedom” remark by saying that the U.S., as it currently stands, is “literally built on oppression,” while Ali accused the Forgotten Sons member of praising “someone who refuses to acknowledge” the pain felt by African Americans following the death of George Floyd.
— WWE (@WWE) April 11, 2020
Unlike the aforementioned performers, Ricochet tweeted that he hopes Ryker was simply playing up his heel character. However, the Raw superstar stressed that he’ll be “really sad” if it turns out the former U.S. Marine’s comments reflect his real-life views.
Outside of WWE, All Elite Wrestling stars Joey Janela and Adam “Hangman” Page chimed in on the issue, with the former replying to Ryker’s tweet and warning him that one day, one of his colleagues will “take a nice sh*t” in his gear bag. Page, meanwhile, replied to a wrestling writer who posted a short clip of the grappler profanely asking someone to shut up, simply using the word “politely” to agree with those sentiments.
Additionally, WWE and Impact Wrestling alumnus Austin Aries tweeted that Ryker should “lay off the Red Kool Aid,” adding that the “blue” version “isn’t any better.”
Ryker is not the only superstar who has been on the receiving end of criticism from colleagues over their apparent pro-Trump views. Three years ago, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter wrote that then-WWE wrestler Big Cass had some backstage heat for being a “strong” supporter of the president. However, it was also noted that he still had the backing of the company’s management at that time, especially since WWE chairman Vince McMahon’s wife Linda was then part of the Trump cabinet as head of the Small Business Administration.