Photo credit: WWE.com.
Newly minted SmackDown Superstar Matt Riddle provided some insight Friday on what went down between him and Brock Lesnar backstage at the Royal Rumble in January.
Alex McCarthy of TalkSport reported in January that Riddle and Lesnar had an “altercation” backstage and that Lesnar told Riddle they would “never work together.”
Riddle essentially confirmed the story to McCarthy on Friday: “[Paul] Heyman and his security guard—I won’t mention his name [laughs]—him and his security guard come up to me and basically told me I had no chance in hell—it was very Vince McMahon like [laughs]—no chance in hell that I was going to get that match with him and I’d have better luck doing something else.”
The former NXT Tag Team champion admitted that he was disappointed, but he suggested that he isn’t giving up hope about potentially facing Lesnar in the future:
“So, I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t sad, I was more just heartbroken. But it’s like when a girl turns you down on a date; hey, it doesn’t mean give up completely. It’s like OK, let’s go back to the drawing board, maybe I came on a little too strong this time. Maybe I’ll try something different to convince him, ya know? So that’s how that scenario played out.”
Riddle has been outspoken about his desire to face and retire Lesnar over the years, and he admitted that he hoped he would get to interact with Lesnar in some way during the Rumble match, but The Beast Incarnate had already been eliminated by the time Riddle entered.
Like Lesnar, Riddle is a former UFC fighter, and of anyone on the WWE roster currently, he is one of the few who could believably go toe-to-toe with Brock in a fight.
Riddle was among the most popular Superstars in NXT, but he is now set to take his talents to SmackDown. It was announced last week by WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle that Riddle is now part of the blue brand, which suggests that WWE has big plans in place for him.
A rivalry with Lesnar won’t be immediately possible since Lesnar is part of Raw, but they could cross paths at some point down the line, as the rosters are shaken up fairly regularly.
Until then, Riddle has no shortage of intriguing potential matchups ahead of him on SmackDown against the likes of Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro, Sheamus, Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt and many more.
Riddle’s unique personality and legitimacy as a fighter should make him a surefire star on WWE’s main roster, and it is possible that he will get so big that WWE won’t be able to ignore the fan interest in a Riddle vs. Lesnar rivalry.
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