WWE Superstar Matt Riddle Voluntarily Dismissed Restraining Order Petition Against Candy Cartwright
2 days before the hearing was scheduled to begin...
During the #SpeakingOut movement, independent wrestler Candy Cartwright (Samantha Tavel) claimed WWE Superstar Matt Riddle sexually assaulted her in May 2018.
She tweeted: "I'm posting this because I have been so sad for so long. I didn't realize that what he did to me was not ok. I realize now, reading these other brave women's stories, that I can't be afraid anymore and I have to #speakout.
"Back in May of 2018 I was riding with Matt Riddle and a few other wrestlers. During the van ride, when the 3 other wrestlers had fallen asleep, Matt asked me to "hop on his dick". When I refused (although we had previously been together I was incredibly uncomfortable in that setting ) When I said no, he grabbed me by my throat, choked me and said "what if I just made you?" I ended up giving him oral sex (praying someone wouldn't wake up) to get out of having intercourse with him. It was incredibly humiliating. It is never ok to put your hands on a woman, it's also not ok to not listen when she says no."
Riddle later released a video to address the allegations. He confirmed he and Tavel had an affair but he denied sexually assaulting her. He claimed Cartwright "fabricated" the story because she was "still mad" about their affair being over. Riddle then said Tavel had been harassing him since the end of the affair.
Following the allegations against him, Riddle, through his attorney Daniel J. Rose, filed a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Stalking in an Orange County, Florida court on July 13. David Bixenspan obtained copies of the court records and he gave a detailed account of the case here.
Within the filing, Riddle alleged Cartwright committed stalking, previously threatened, harassed, stalked, cyberstalked or physically abused him, threatened to harm him or his family members, used or threatened to use weapons to harm him, and destroyed his personal property.
The WWE Superstar also gave an account of the stalking he allegedly experienced. He noted they started an affair on November 6, 2017. He tried to end the affair in June 2018 and again in July 2019. Following the end of the affair, he claimed: "Ms. Tavel has systematically stalked, cyberstalked, and harassed myself and my wife which has caused me substantial emotional distress."
With the petition, Riddle entered evidence of Cartwright allegedly messaging him from "burner phones", a direct message exchange between himself and a fan who claimed Cartwright asked him to message the WWE Superstar on her behalf, the sexual assault allegations Cartwright posted on Twitter, and a Cease and Desist letter Riddle's attorney sent to Tavel on June 19, 2020.
On July 27, the court found "that based upon the facts, as stated in the Petition alone and without a hearing on the matter, there is no appearance of an immediate and danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence; repeat, dating or sexual violence, or stalking or that stalking exists. Therefore, there is not a sufficient factual basis upon which the court can enter a Temporary Injunction for Protection Against Domestic, Repeat, Dating, or Sexual Violence, or stalking, prior to a hearing."
The hearing was scheduled for September 9, 2020. Cartwright's attorney Allison S. Lovelady filed a motion to dismiss the petition on August 27 on multiple grounds. Riddle's attorney responded to the motion to dismiss on August 31 and they later filed a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal on September 7, two days before the hearing was scheduled to begin.