As noted on WWE Royal Rumble Sunday, there was reportedly a verbal altercation backstage between WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and WWE NXT Superstar Matt Riddle at Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX, before the pay-per-view began.
There weren't a lot of details available on Sunday, but the original story from Pro Wrestling Sheet noted that the two Superstars passed each other while walking backstage and a tense encounter came out of that. One source noted that Lesnar saw Riddle and wanted him to know the reality of the situation between the two. Furthermore, it was noted by multiple sources that the encounter between Lesnar and Riddle was real, and not something that was a part of any storyline. Apparently both men met for the first time at Sunday's big event.
talkSPORT out of the U.K. was at the event this past Sunday. In an update, Alex McCarthy of talkSPORT reports that Lesnar approached Riddle backstage and grabbed his shoulder to get his attention.
It was alleged that Lesnar then said to Riddle, "Kid, you might as well stop saying my name and tagging me in s--t because you and I will never work together. Ever."
Riddle reportedly tried talking to Lesnar when they first encountered each other, but didn't really get a chance to. Lesnar said what he had to say and kept things moving. It was also noted that The Bro of NXT was his "usual, cool and composed self" during the altercation, and that tensions never really got too high.
It's interesting to note that McCarthy's report mentioned how Riddle was not "punished" during the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match later that night. It was speculated on social media that Riddle's brief appearance was some sort of punishment for the altercation, but McCarthy said Riddle's elimination went down how it had been planned all along. Riddle entered the Rumble at #23 and was the 18th elimination, by King Baron Corbin after being in for just 41 seconds. Lesnar had already been eliminated by the time Riddle was tossed. We noted earlier today at this link, via Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio, that Riddle has backstage heat in the company, which is why he was booked the way he was in the Rumble match. Meltzer noted that "there is a lot of heat" on Riddle right now. While it's still not known exactly why Riddle has heat within the company, it's likely that he has rubbed some people the wrong way over the past few years as he has spoken out against Lesnar and WWE Hall of Famer Bill Goldberg in numerous media interviews, and on social media.
McCarthy also noted that it looked like Riddle would be in the Rumble match on Friday when WWE canceled Riddle's planned media interview for Sunday morning. The interview was likely nixed because Riddle was needed at Minute Maid Park for Rumble Match rehearsals and meetings.
Stay tuned for updates on Riddle's status with the company, and the reported altercation with Lesnar.