Earlier this week on “Monday Night Raw”, Paul Heyman all but confirmed that we’re going to be seeing Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg II at some point in the future (likely at “Survivor Series 2016” if reports are to be believed). This is the sequel to their match at “Wrestlemania XX” which, shall we say, sucked. Today we’re going to look at why that’s not the worst idea in the world.
For the sake of simplicity, we’re going to assume that Lesnar vs. Goldberg is made official for “Survivor Series 2016.”
Let’s get the big part out of the way first: this match is designed to advertise the “WWE2K17” video game. It’s not about selling “Monday Night Raw”, “Survivor Series 2016” or either of the two wrestlers. Goldberg as a playable character has been the main selling point of most of the game’s advertising and having him show up is a way to push the game and if a few wrestling shows are sold in the process, good for WWE. Expect to hear the game mentioned time after time during the buildup and probably more than one simulated match to be shown. It may be annoying but if it makes the company money, so be it.
Now on to the wrestling aspect. WWE has made it pretty clear that Lesnar isn’t going to be losing to anyone soon. Other than a screwy loss to the Undertaker at “Summerslam 2015”, Lesnar hasn’t lost a singles match since “Night of Champions 2014” via DQ to John Cena and hasn’t been pinned since “Wrestlemania XXIX”, over three and a half years ago.
In that span, Lesnar has beaten/squashed Triple H, CM Punk, Big Show, Undertaker, Cena, Kofi Kingston, Seth Rollins, Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus, Rusev, Dean Ambrose and Randy Orton. That would be ten former World Champions, many of whom were defeated in almost completely dominant fashion. Orton and Cena, with nearly thirty World Titles between them, were treated like any given jobber when they were in the ring with Lesnar.
That brings us up to modern day, with Lesnar facing Goldberg, who hasn’t wrestled in over twelve years. Despite the incredible layoff, Goldberg still has a legacy (more on that in a bit) and a victory over him still means something. Over his career, Goldberg has lost a total of six singles matches. These losses came to Kevin Nash (Hall of Fame), Bret Hart three times, (Hall of Fame), Booker T., (Hall of Fame) and Scott Steiner (should be in the Hall of Fame).
The key though is that Goldberg has no value in WWE other than nostalgia and a handful of matches at most. Goldberg, who turns 50 years old in December, doesn’t have a long future in WWE. It’s not like Ambrose who would be World Champion a few months after losing to Lesnar or one of the top stars like Punk. A loss to Lesnar really doesn’t hurt anything as Goldberg can come in, lose, maybe have one more match, and then probably get inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017. It’s a short term story and doesn’t take away credibility going forward.
Let’s go back to Goldberg’s legacy for a minute. When you think about it, Goldberg’s career is one of the most fascinating in wrestling history. Goldberg debuted on “Monday Nitro”, September 22, 1997 in a huge upset over Hugh Morrus. He appeared almost weekly for the next two years (save for missing most of the summer of 1999) and then missed the first five months of 2000 due to an arm injury.
The rest of the year was pretty normal but he was gone again in January 2001 due to another injury and didn’t wrestle in WCW again. We’ll call that a very rough three years combined. Add that to exactly one year in WWE (debuted the night after “Wrestlemania XIX”, finished up at “Wrestlemania XX”) and Goldberg’s career is about four years from beginning to end.
Think about that for a minute. Goldberg’s entire career in the ring was about four years long. Has anyone ever made the kind of impact that Goldberg has made in that kind of time frame? Other than Lesnar, whose original WWE run lasted two years, I certainly can’t think of anyone who comes close.
For the last twelve years people have been asking if Goldberg would ever come back for one more match. Look at Ryback’s run a few years ago. What name were they chanting? Goldberg. Whenever anyone starts running through jobbers, it’s said to be something like the Goldberg formula. That’s not the kind of impact anyone else has in such a short span of time.
The point of this is simple: despite how little time he spent in the ring and how long he’s been gone, the fans still remember Goldberg and still want to see him again, even if it’s on a short term basis. There’s a lot more value in him than almost anyone else that can be thrown against Lesnar and that’s a good thing. Lesnar’s value seems to be declining a bit as he just mows down anyone that comes near him so why not throw a special attraction out there and see what can happen?
Finally, there’s the 800lb white elephant in the room: the match quality. The original Lesnar vs. Goldberg match was one of the worst matches in Wrestlemania history and quite possibly one of the worst matches ever. Given the stage they were on and the dream match nature of the showdown, it’s hard to come up with many matches that are flat out worse than that mess.
Therefore, it’s not a stretch to suggest that the rematch is going to be better. Simply put, it’s almost impossible for it to not be better no matter what they do. Their first match lasted about thirteen and a half minutes with the first five minutes consisting of two lockups and a lot of stalling and staring at each other. No matter how you look at it, the match was much closer to a cruel joke than anything entertaining or competitive. Both guys were leaving the company and they made no secret of the fact that they weren’t exactly giving it their best effort.
I know Lesnar isn’t the most popular performer in the world right now, but his German suplex-athon style is at least more entertaining than standing around looking at someone for over a third of the match and laughing at the fact that they’re not even trying to entertain the fans.
Couple that with Goldberg probably coming back for one night only and this being a big part of his legacy (when you have a career as short as his, a single match can be a big piece of what people are going to remember) and it’s almost impossible to imagine that this won’t be better. Like I said, it almost can’t be worse because matches don’t get that bad.
I’m not expecting a classic when these two fight again. It’s going to be a hard hitting brawl with both guys using big power moves that are going to look really impressive. I can’t imagine Goldberg winning under any circumstances and that’s really the right idea at the end of the day. Lesnar is going to be treated as the king of the monsters and it’s going to be a big deal when someone takes him down. That someone however is not going to be Goldberg, because all he is is next.
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