Thursday afternoon, Fightful.com Podcast co-host Matt Riddle elaborated on his falling out with Absolute Intense Wrestling, a prominent indy promotion based in Ohio. Riddle made claims that he was booked without confirming dates, among other reasons. After the Podcast aired, Fightful reached out to AIW's John Thorne for his side of the story.
"Honestly, this all came out of left field. He never made any indication that he was unhappy with anything. He was always a super polite guy, really laid back and chilled out. He was very like, I don’t want to say soft-spoken, but he never questioned anything or said anything. I had booked him for a ton of dates back in August. This is kind of how this whole ordeal started this week. We announced his match for 12/30 and then I get a text from him saying, ‘Hey, I never confirmed that date,’ and I took an actual screenshot confirming the date. I sent it to him and said, ‘Hey, you confirmed the date back in August.’ Those little iPhone bubbles started going up like he was responding and he never responded and then yesterday morning, I woke up and I had, what I considered, a pretty rude text message of him complaining of how he was booked and how he has been misused in AIW and he does not want to come back and I need to remove the advertisement right now. I was honestly really shocked, because he never indicated he was unhappy or he had a problem doing anything. He was a guy we wanted to book. I sent him our entire 2017 schedule and I wanted to book him full-time. So it kind of caught me off-guard," said Thorne.
According to Thorne, despite Riddle saying he hadn't committed to Absolute Intense Wrestling for their 12/30 show, he intentionally books talent electronically to avoid hiccups like that. AIW did send Fightful the screenshot that showed Riddle had confirmed for December 30, saying "awesome man, can't wait!" He noted that Riddle was actually booked for an AIW show in late November, but had to cancel for a trip to Las Vegas.
“Really, our only interaction was via text message because that’s how I book everybody, either through text message or email, because I want just to have a paper trail so I can say, ‘Hey, this is what you agreed to or this is what we agreed to,’ just so it can be pretty cut and dried so things aren’t left out to, ‘Oh, we had this conversation in person,’ and things like that. I try to put everything in writing, either everything in text or in email. He had never once even mentioned anything about EVOLVE or anything about clearing dates. He just said, ‘Should I mark all these dates down for AIW?’ and I said, ‘Yeah man. Let’s do it,’ and he said, ‘Awesome, looking forward to it.’ Then he was booked on November 25th and he just said, ‘Hey, I apologize, but I forgot I booked a vacation to Las Vegas. I can’t do that one.’ I said, ‘Okay man. Cool, no problem.’ That was literally our only interaction before this," Thorne explained.
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