This past Saturday night, former WWE and UFC star Matt Riddle faced off against Jacob Fatu in a first-time-ever match at MLW Kings Of Colosseum. The commentators for the action were veteran play-by-play broadcaster Joe Dombrowski and former WWE star Matt Striker. In the end, Riddle was able to pick up the win over the Samoan Werewolf, but it was a controversial comment on commentary by Striker during the contest that overshadowed the contest.
During the match, Striker can at one point be heard putting over Riddle’s addition to the MLW roster and how it was a huge loss for WWE. Striker played up how he had no idea how the sports entertainment juggernaut could let Riddle go but, unfortunately, took his comments too far when he noted that “this guy is a mega-million dollar star. I don’t care what he does.”
Riddle was accused of sexually assaulting independent pro wrestling Candy Cartwright in the summer of 2020. Cartwright alleged that the incident took play in May 2018 and took place after she declined to have sex with Riddle. She claims Riddle then choked her before forcing her to give him oral sex. Riddle denied the allegations and filed a restraining order against Cartwright not long after. Cartwright sued Riddle but dropped the case in July 2021.
“Let’s talk about the elephant in the room,” Striker continued on commentary. “The court of public opinion would like to see Jacob Fatu slap the taste out of Matt Riddle’s mouth. But the court of public opinion does not convict. I’m sorry; I know it’s the world in which we live, but it’s not the case.”
Striker’s comments were met with condemnation by the internet pro wrestling community, and he attempted to defend himself in the immediate aftermath.
“Playing a character isn’t always easy but getting the desired and necessary reaction is,” he noted in one X post. “Sorry.”
“I play a heel (bad guy) character in wrestling,” he wrote in another X post. “It’s my job to raise the fan’s ire and their job to have their ire raised. Tonight, we ALL did our jobs. It’s a symbiotic relationship. With that said, please remember, that it’s a character. my job is to get you to react.”
Striker’s attempts to defend himself were also met with blowback and resulted in a female fan alleging Striker sexually assaulted her at an independent event.
“I once had to push striker off of me when he tried to put his hands down my jeans at an Indy show years ago because he was cool with one of my friends and thought that was enough of a go ahead,” she wrote. “None of this remotely surprises me.”
On Sunday morning, Striker penned the following apology post that was deleted earlier today with no explanation given. His defenses are still live on his X account.
“I’ve given this a lot of thought,” he said. “Could not sleep. My critics are right. I was wrong. Tone deaf. Trying to use the guise of art or character portrayal is self preservation. Thank you to those that shone light on this. It is now on me to stand in that light. I will be better.”