As previously reported, Alex Riley will be making his return to pro wrestling for the first time since 2016. This is the first time he is back in the ring since being released from his WWE contract that year. He will be wrestling at GCW’s “We Run This Town” event at Tampa, FL during Wrestlemania weekend on March 31 and April 1.
Riley was able to speak to Chris Van Vliet about his return to the ring and discussed his history with John Cena. The two had issues with one another that Riley claimed to have affected his career.
Riley detailed his history with Cena with Vliet, noting that the two ultimately just did not like each other.
“It is hard to put a label on it… I think it came down to in the end, two men just not liking each other,” Riley stated. “As sad as that is, it had an impact on my career. He is who he is. I don’t think that goes without saying in other businesses, I just happened to be in a situation where right from the start he didn’t like me. I just don’t think he did. I tried to change that, I worked very hard, tried to grow and learn and fit in in the way a wrestler fits in. He wanted me to fit in. It just kind of got to the point a little bit with, even some of the other guys were asking what was up.
“It was a tough situation. I would hear from other wrestlers from time to time (that Cena didn’t like me). It certainly didn’t seem that way when we would interact. It is a tough thing… it’s wrestling. It is something where you do the best you can to learn in a way that is productive and that will get you better. I tried the best I could and it just didn’t work out.”
Following his release, Riley was known for calling Cena out on social media, especially on Instagram. Despite his past social media posts, Riley believes that there are no hard feelings between the two.
“No, not for me,” Riley went on to say. “There was one mistake that I made or he made, where we got really crossed and got into an argument. I went to him immediately the next day and apologized. I think he was pretty offended. It was two grown men that just didn’t see eye to eye at the time. I’m not holding any grudges or anything. It is not something that I… I certainly don’t want it hanging over my neck for the rest of my life. There are a thousand stories like this.
“Towards the end of it, I think we patched it up and figured everything out. It was a tough situation while I was there, but I respect John, I respect his work ethic. I certainly didn’t expect to be on the wrong side of it.”
Riley returns to the sport he got into after his football career. Back in 2007, Riley started with WWE in the company’s developmental promotions, Florida Championship Wrestling and NXT. He would transition from wrestler to color commentator and then back as a wrestler before being released in May of 2016. Riley has since focused on his acting career, making an appearance in Netflix’s GLOW series.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chris Van Vliet with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.