As the shock of Goldberg’s win over Brock Lesnar is starting to subside, the question that keeps running through my head is not “Who’s Next?”, but “What Next?” Sure it was an exciting moment. A man at the age of 50, coming out of a long retirement, not just give The Beast a decent challenge, but handing out a sub three minute domination. The next night on Raw, Goldberg announced that a question posed by Stephanie McMahon, regarding whether he had “one more title run in him”, spurred him into entering the Royal Rumble. This announcement produced the reaction that the WWE assumed it would, massive cheers from the crowd. But amongst all those cheers, I could hear the little cynical voice in my head asking, “well now what”? I think the WWE messed up here, and painted themselves into a corner with “title run”.
It’s a problem I’ve had with the WWE writing staff since the Attitude Era ended. They rely on the fan’s nostalgia for those golden years of professional wrestling. They bring back superstars past their prime, and at least half of the time whatever match they are in is lackluster. As it is now I can’t think of anyone on the roster that would create the type of hype that the WWE is looking for to drive PPV sales. It seems like they just want to get Goldberg into a title match at Wrestlemania, but aren’t really focusing on the storyline before or after.
Let’s assume Goldberg wins the Rumble and gets his title shot. Who carries a big enough name, and is also in the world title conversation, to make the match “Wrestlemania Moment” worthy? If we assume that Goldberg is going to be “Team Raw”, The current Universal Champion Kevin Owens is certainly a great competitor, but I don’t think the WWE wants to push him as a legend killer. The same goes with Seth Rollins. On the opposite side of a pinfall, I don’t see a loss to Goldberg for either of those superstars providing them with much more fan respect than they already have. Roman Reigns is always a possibility, if you want to completely solidify him as a heel. Finn Balor will probably be back by the Royal Rumble, and he could win the title back. A Goldberg vs. The Demon King match would be great, but the chances that they would let Finn lose the title again, after having to give it up immediately the first time he won it? Unlikely.
We can abandon all the matchup speculation and just focus on the simple fact that Goldberg has a finite amount of time left in the ring. That fact alone will make it almost impossible to create a scenario where Goldberg wins the title at Wrestlemania and have it make sense. Even if he did win, the fans have so much access to contract information nowadays we could probably predict the exact time that he would lose it, which I’m assuming would be shortly after Wrestlemania. The opposite doesn’t make sense either. Why create so much hype for him just to have him fall short?
This is the point that I would like to conclude with. It would have been much more compelling to have Brock beat Goldberg in the same devastating way that we saw Goldberg deal out at Survivor Series. It would have been a much more compelling story to capitalize on Goldberg’s “family man” attitude that he has been showing lately. Have him brutalized in front of his family. Create a storyline focusing on him healing up. Have him deal with serious mental turmoil wondering if he still had it, whether his son sees him as a hero anymore. Have Brock taunt him and his family the way only Brock can. Imagine months of this leading up to Wrestlemania. That is something that would certainly get my attention, and the attention of mainstream media as well. That would be a “must see” event, instead of what we have right now, which is a “we’ll see” event.
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