Did WWE Exploit a Returning Ridge Holland’s Infamous Reputation in the NXT Main Event?

Published 12/20/2023, 4:30 AM EST

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Not every returning wrestler to the sacred grounds of the WWE is met with rousing applause from the fans. This is the case of Ridge Holland, who returned to the company after being released in 2021. Fans have taken to the internet to voice their mixed reaction to this return. But what is the reason for this reception to a returning star?

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Holland was part of NXT during his initial run and was among the more controversial wrestlers than the liked ones. Many have linked this to the plethora of incidents involving the star, both in the ring and backstage.

What is Ridge Holland’s infamous reputation, and is it a storyline?

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For those unaware, Holland had his initial run in NXT from 2018 to 2021 before getting to the main roaster. During this time, he would make a name for himself for being a very unsafe wrestler to share the ring with. This reputation would follow him back to the WWE even after two years.

During his initial run, he ended up hurting several stars and sustaining several injuries. This led the WWE universe to label him as an unsafe worker after injuring Elton Price during a match on SmackDown. Recently, he made his return and was immediately shot to the top of the Main Event. This is something that fans did not like, but the storyline made it even worse.

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Recently, Holland took on NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov. While fans were not happy about the push Holland got, the storyline in the match was something no one could’ve expected. During the match, Holland dropped the NXT Champion on his head, which resulted in the match being stopped mid-way.

While this could be chalked up to being an accident, it contrasted with Holland’s monologue. After making his return, Holland promised to redeem himself from his notorious reputation. However, this spot seemed to say otherwise.

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Was this a spot or was it just Holland being unsafe?

Fans were quick to point out that this was all work and the storytelling angle was to get a cheap heat on Holland. Being famous for being unsafe in the ring this would easily generate sympathy for the babyface. Dragunov was stretchered out while Holland looked distraught in the ring.

This angle may have backfired, as the entire comment section has fans claiming that the WWE did Holland dirty. This was not an angle the company should have gone with just for some cheap heat.

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What do you think about Holland and his reputation? Tell us down below

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Written by:

Christopher Paul

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One take at a time

My passion for professional wrestling began when I saw Kane ripping the Hell in a Cell door off in the iconic 1997 match. I used to enjoy watching WWE re-runs at 5 in the evening when I got home from school. It was sort of a ritual for me.
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Edited by:

Amal Joyce

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