Jaxson Ryker has opened up about the controversial tweet he made in 2020 which led to him and his Forgotten Sons teammates being taken off WWE TV, saying he “said nothing wrong”.
After a stint with IMPACT Wrestling Jaxson Ryker signed with WWE in May 2017. During his time in NXT, the US army veteran teamed with Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler, forming the Forgotten Sons. The team arrived on the main roster in April 2020 initially performing as American patriots.
However, the team were later removed from television after a tweet from Ryker caused a huge amount of controversy. When Cutler and Blake returned to TV they were without Ryker who made his way to Raw.
In the tweet in question, Ryker expressed his support for then-President Donald Trump. However, many took exception to this as it came just hours after an incident that saw Black Lives Matter protestors tear-gassed to clear a path for Trump to make his way to a church for a photo opportunity.
Thankful for the @POTUS we have! God bless America. Built of freedom. Forgotten No More
— CwLail_Gunner (@CWLail_Gunner) June 1, 2020
In a new interview with the Wrestling for the Faith podcast, Ryker went into detail about why he believes there was nothing wrong with what he said.
“Well, yeah, June 1st, 2020, sent at 7:52 p.m. I had just moved into my new house here in Mooresville, North Carolina. You know we’ve all got our own views on who’s — anytime there’s a President, there’s a leader, that’s what makes America great. That’s why I served four years in the Marine Corps so I could Tweet about my approval for a certain President.
“It wasn’t one of those where I was trying to bash anybody else. I was simply putting out my support for a President that I thought was doing a good job for this country. Gas prices were down, unemployment was down, jobs were up. There was so much going on. The economy was flourishing. You can do the studies and look at it.
“That was basically just my Tweet to show my support, which the funny thing is prior to that, Lord I mean I was looking through some history of things, I would Tweet or Instagram certain things about Donald Trump but for some reason that day, and I believe you touched on it before we started, some things that were going on in America at the time, I tweeted my support for him before.
“To me, there was nothing wrong with that tweet. There was no racial undertones. There was no jabs. Nothing but me saying ‘God Bless America,’ and thankful for the President of the United States that we had at the time. Like I said, I served four years in the Marine Corps from ’02-’06, does that give me the right to be an idiot on social media and go out and say stupid stuff? Absolutely not. But does it give me the right to support a President that I voted for? I do believe it was.
“Look, we’ve never talked about it. First time right here for people getting a chance to hear about it. I am excited to kind of let it out. But I could see if there was something wrong with that Tweet, but in my eyes, I said nothing wrong, so that’s where I stand on it.”
Jaxson Ryker went on to talk about the immediate aftermath of the tweet, claiming he received death threats from strangers.
“Within a matter of an hour or so, I’m getting death threats, I’m getting cell phone calls. If I could number the amount of voicemails that came over my phone from the time it happened for at least a week, well over 100 voicemails, people threatening my family.
“My address within a matter of an hour was tweeted out. A new address. People were saying they were going to come burn down my house. People said they were going to come murder my family. Dude, it was the most extreme thing I’ve ever been through to the point where the old Chad back in his 20s wanted to come out.”
Later in the interview, he elaborated on what he meant by “the old Chad”.
“I’ll talk about it, and it was one of those things where in my 20s I would have been ready to — and I was mad. I’m a gun owner and, you know, I had them loaded and ready. Didn’t sleep much that night. Didn’t sleep much for a few days because I was like, ‘Is somebody really going to come to my house? Is somebody going to come know on my door?’
“I got a cousin that lives up the street that heard about it and instantly, he would walk by my house throughout the night, little did I know, just to keep an eye on things. Thank God no one ever came to my house or anything and nothing stupid came in my mailbox.
“I can see if I had gone on social media and dropped the N-bomb or started all this racial stuff, but it was basically a tweet, and I’d tweeted it before my support for the President and it was just one of those times where the enemy, the devil used that to try and sidetrack me and knock me off course.”
Besides the issues the tweet caused for his home life, Jaxson Ryker also said the reaction from some of his WWE co-workers took him by surprise. It also led to the Forgotten Sons’ programme with The New Day being halted.
“Not only that, and we’ll touch on this too, I’m not going to ask for anybody to defend me, what I would say is folks that I worked with that I thought were my friends or thought were my companions were quick to turncoat. There were some tweets that went out from coworkers, not going to name any names, don’t think it’s important but there were tweets that went out from coworkers that fueled the fire. I was like, ‘What in the world?’ The majority of you guys know who I am as a person and for you to do this to make it look like this tweet was some kind of racial-hate-speech-bigot, whatever you want to call it, that’s really what started to bother me.
“So yeah man, my address tweeted out, people started threatening my family. It was ridiculous. I mean, people were calling my phone, random numbers. So of course it’s 2022 now, it’s very easy to access all this stuff and I was just blown away. I was sitting there on my couch and my wife when she found out the tweet even she was like, ‘There was nothing wrong with that tweet. What is going on?’ Here I am on WWE SmackDown, we had just got called up with the Forgotten Sons, hence the forgotten no more or whatever line at the end. Dude, instantly, there was like a stop right on the storyline that we were on with New Day. There was a complete halt on everything on our career there for basically the foreseeable future.
After Jaxson Ryker returned to WWE TV on Raw, he briefly teamed with Elias before ‘The Drifter’ turned on him and the two entered a lengthy feud. Although Ryker won against Elias, following the rivalry he was not seen on Raw again.
Ryker was eventually released from his WWE contract on November 18th, 2021 alongside Superstars such as Hit Row and John Morrison.
H/T to Fightful for the above transcription.