The WWE is currently making her “universe” believe that buckets of nerdy drool is falling from the mouths of fans in the wake of Paul Heyman’s challenge on behalf of Brock Lesnar to face Goldberg. After all, Goldberg’s undefeated streak in WCW ranks up there with Brock Lesnar’s legacy of destruction as being one of most influential and memorable factors in the history of professional wrestling, right?
On March 14, 2004, Goldberg and Lesnar faced off at WrestleMania XX in a match that was promised to be a showdown between two genetic mutations that blurred the lines between athleticism and brute strength. Instead, what I like to call the “Dawn of the Smark” occurred, as the fans at Madison Square Garden booed both men out of the ring in protest of their leaving the WWE immediately following the event.
A match that should have been one of the primary athletic events in the annals of the WWE was an impotent windsock of physicality that ended with guest referee Stone Cold Steve Austin stunning both men right out of the company, an undoubted creative jab to the ribs of both men.
Although both men originally left the WWE in equally shameful fashion, their careers since WrestleMania XX could not have been more unalike.
Brock Lesnar tried his hand in the NFL, remaining on the Minnesota Vikings roster until the final preseason game in 2004 (he is in the books as having one tackle). He would then go on to be the first American wrestler to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, the UFC heavyweight champion, end The Undertaker’s undefeated WrestleMania streak, and have the most important run with the WWE Championship in the last decade by a wrestler not named CM Punk or Daniel Bryan.
Since, WrestleMania XX, Goldberg has built cars (I think he speared a minor league baseball mascot, too).
Hobbies are lovely, and have been scientifically proven (I think) to stimulate one’s senses and reduce one’s heart rate. But they shouldn’t warrant this sort of opportunity.
Goldberg did have an undefeated steak while in WCW that could possibly be considered the best creative decision the company ever made. As the programming in Atlanta was becoming stale due to not only Chris Jericho’s 1,004 holds, but 1,004 incarnations of the New World Order, Goldberg was a fresh fish among a sea of power-hungry WWF cast-offs. He was the man who singlehandedly crumbled Hollywood Hulk Hogan and the nWo, a feat that not even Sting, Lex Luger, Diamond Dallas Page, or the immortal El Dandy could accomplish.
After defeating Hollywood Hogan for the World Heavyweight Championship, Goldberg’s star would fall as his company fell around him. He would resurface in WWE in 2003, defeating a semi-retiring Rock before having a largely forgettable run with the World Heavyweight Championship before departing after his “match” with Lesnar.
Indeed, Goldberg’s time at the top of the industry was brief, but it was very much memorable; he was briefly the face of the company was almost put Vince McMahon and the WWE out of business. A Goldberg vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin match was once looked upon has being the ultimate dream match amongst fans during wrestling’s boom period in the late ’90s.
Goldberg was arguably the biggest draw in the wrestling industry for a brief period of time However, since that time, the wrestling industry has evolved, and Brock Lesnar found a way to evolve with it, transitioning from the uber-athletic, shooting star press-attempting beast to a prizefighter appearing only when the purse is fat to induce blunt force trauma.
When he picks his fights, Lesnar is the biggest draw in the business. Goldberg has stayed in his garage, choosing rather to remain the shooting star that could once eviscerate planets, but has since faded into the twilight.
Twilight is an aspiration in the wrestling industry, as most barely make it past the VFW entrance. Goldberg’s time at the top was brief, but was profound enough to allow him to enjoy his remaining years as he sees fit. It is in this twilight, unfortunately for him, where he should remain, as his presence is no longer required. Brock Lesnar’s presence restarts the throbbing pulse of the WWE each and every time he reappears, and this dominating, iron-clad grasp on the company that needs to be utilized for progression of business, rather than nostalgia.
Lesnar has far surpassed Goldberg. WWE needs to lose the illusion that reality holds a different result.