On Sunday night at WWE’s long-running pay-per-view Survivor Series, the unthinkable happened. In a rematch no wrestling fan expected, the unstoppable beast Brock Lesnar was cut down in record time by returning legend Bill Goldberg. As the WCW icon celebrated in the ring with his son, fans around the world were gobsmacked by the incredibly quick finish. But was it the right decision?
Let’s look at the facts. On one hand, Brock Lesnar has been built up as a colossal force of nature, holding landmark victories over John Cena, Randy Orton and The Undertaker. He dominates his opponents in brutal fashion and takes his fair share of damage along the way. Whether it’s destroying Taker on the grand stage of WrestleMania or being smashed through a table at the Royal Rumble, Lesnar is consistently one of the most impressive physical specimens in the industry today. In today’s PG-era of ‘sports entertainment’, a brawl with Lesnar almost guarantees high-impact violence and bloodshed. Though some fans are starting to feel fatigued by the antics of the Conqueror, there’s no denying Lesnar’s star power still shines bright.
On the other hand, we have Bill Goldberg. Famous for holding an impressive, albeit greatly inflated winning streak in World Championship Wrestling, Goldberg had a short yet memorable run in the WWE during the ‘Ruthless Aggression’ era, facing off against a young Lesnar in his final match at WrestleMania XX. The battle should have been incredible, but both men had lost faith with the company and were planning their next career moves. Their match was a lumbering mess that was booed by the capacity crowd in attendance. Though Goldberg picked up the win, it was far from a highlight on his resume and it seemed that the icon would never again compete within a WWE ring.
Following his heavily-promoted appearance in the latest WWE videogame, Goldberg returned to answer the challenge set by Brock Lesnar and his advocate Paul Heyman. Like fellow WCW legend Sting before him, fantasy became reality and at Survivor Series, the world saw Goldberg fire off Spears and nail a Jackhammer suplex between the ropes on WWE programming. In under two minutes, the most powerful competitor in the industry today lay broken on the canvas, squashed by a man with twelve years absence from the ring.
No matter what side of the fence you stand on, there’s no denying that the demolition of the Beast is a shock ending. Though there are undoubtedly several reasons behind the decision including worries regarding Goldberg’s in-ring abilities and endurance, it’s hard to argue that the result isn’t the best possible outcome for this match. Yes, some fans will have felt robbed of a spectacular main event and paying customers in attendance definitely have a right to feel short changed. Yes, the match had awkward similarities to CM Punk’s UFC debut. Yes, it dropped any potential of a legitimate back-and-forth match between two powerhouses. But without a doubt, the pros outweigh the cons.
At the end of the day, when the WWE as a company decide on the conclusion to a match of this scale, they are always looking ahead. Match endings open up doors and pathways into new rivalries, storylines and character development. Goldberg humiliating Lesnar at one of the four major PPVs on WWE’s calendar leaves the company in a great place to progress. The talk is that Goldberg is set to return for the Royal Rumble and if he lands a similar spot on the card to Sting, he may well work his way into a title picture feud.
Despite throwing out quips like “You’re last!” and “one last Jackhammer”, it’s clear that Goldberg has the potential to have a solid run in 2017. He still looks fantastic in the ring and can still pull off a convincing offense, plus the potential for future opponents is incredible. Imagine the icon taking on names like Kevin Owens, AJ Styles and Seth Rollins. If he is booked and billed as a legitimate competitor and not a special attraction, it would be hard to argue with Goldberg earning a title opportunity from both business and fan perspectives.
As for Brock Lesnar – It had to happen at some point. Someone had to come along and bring the Beast to his knees. Many fans feel like Lesnar’s monstrous warpath has been wasted following the outcome of Survivor Series, but the fact is someone had to come along and humble him. There would have been complaints regardless of who did the deed, but at least with Goldberg it follows the loose logic that is threaded throughout the WWE’s narrative. Now Lesnar has a challenge he needs to return to, Goldberg has a huge presence within the WWE roster and the fans want to see him return. Whether or not the two men battle a third time, the future is both unpredictable and exciting for both superstars.
What did you think about the match? Happy with the result? Shaking your fist in anger?! Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!