One of the strangest wrestling feuds of 2019 so far involves WWE NXT Superstar Bianca Belair and TakeOver pre-show panelist Sam Roberts.
Before the TakeOver: Phoenix event on January 26, Roberts claimed that Shayna Baszler’s NXT Women’s Championship defence against Belair was “not TakeOver-worthy” and “a waste of a match” because Belair did not stand a realistic chance of winning.
The majority of WWE fans were critical of Roberts, whose name trended #2 in the world on Twitter following the controversial comments, while others defended him for saying something that was likely fed to him in his earpiece.
However, speaking on the latest episode of his Notsam Wrestling podcast (listen here), Roberts confirmed that he was not told to say what he said about Belair and added that he will not apologise to “The EST of NXT” for giving his opinion.
On not being fed the line:
“WWE invites me to those kickoff shows and they ask me to give my opinion on things. On Saturday night, I was not fed an opinion in my ear — I know that’s one of the theories. I have never been fed an opinion in my ear. They wouldn’t bring me to give their opinion — I’m no good at that. I go on, they ask me to be me and give my opinion. I had a crisis of conscience. In that moment, I felt like I was just going along with the show, so I decided to say exactly how I felt in that moment.”
On not apologising:
“I know Mark Henry has started a campaign saying I owe Bianca Belair an apology. I certainly will not be apologising to Bianca Belair because my opinion is my opinion. Do I think that she deserves to be at TakeOver after her performance? You’ll have to ask me at the end of March. The next TakeOver is in April. I will tell you in April if Bianca Belair, in my opinion, deserves to be at TakeOver. But I found that match, at the beginning of TakeOver, it felt underwhelming to me, so I talked about it.”
On being spoken to about his comments:
“There were people after the show who had conversations with me about the way I said what I said, but the fact is that I said what I said, so it kind of is what it is. It’s exactly as you saw it and that’s kind of it. Was everybody thrilled with it? No. That’s what I mean about having conversations, but those are, again, maybe things that I don’t exactly want to get into at this moment. However, we’ll see how things go as we move forward.”