After months of anticipation, the rumors were all but confirmed on this week’s rendition of Monday Night Raw that Goldberg will be making his way back to the WWE in a physical capacity to take on Brock Lesnar.
They may not have set a date or even officially scheduled the match yet, but you’d be naïve to think that Goldberg’s appearance on the next episode of the flagship show won’t result in the booking of the match for an upcoming WWE pay-per-view, be it Survivor Series or the Royal Rumble.
But although it will have been an astounding 12 years since Goldberg’s last appearance in a WWE ring, instantly making his clash with Lesnar the biggest fight on whatever card it’s marketed for, it’s quite easy to see the indifference in a lot of WWE fans with regards to this development.
Sure, a lot of the points against Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar are actually understandable. Goldberg is still a huge name, despite what must be several years’ worth of ring rust putting a huge question mark on his return, so many feel that the star power behind him would be put to better use against an up-and-coming prospect on the WWE roster, as opposed to an already established powerhouse in the “Beast Incarnate.”
In a similar vein, Lesnar has been amassing quite the list of victims since his return – Cena, Undertaker, Triple H, and Orton to name a few, so surely if Goldberg was the one to knock him off his pedestal, it would be a monumental victory potentially wasted on someone who likely won’t be around to benefit from it.
On top of that, having two part-timers feuding is always a rough concept, as with neither man appearing each week to build towards the match, who’s to say there will even be a worthwhile backstory? Paul Heyman is damn good, but is he good enough to sell a main event-level feud alone? It’s hard to say.
There’s one critique to this rivalry, however, that has stood out among the rest, and it’s the assumption that the match is likely to on par with the last encounter we witnessed between Lesnar and Goldberg at WrestleMania XX, and the unholy display of awfulness it turned out to be.
While a lot of the concerns behind this rivalry do hold water, it could be heavily argued that the quality of the match this time around almost promises to be significantly greater for a number of reasons.
Right off the bat, just look at how different the circumstances are heading in. Goldberg and Brock Lesnar were already out the door when the two locked up in Madison Square Garden in 2004.
This brought with it a distinct lack of enthusiasm on both sides in their respective final matches, which made for a battle lacking in energy, effort and overall enjoyment from the fans’ perspective.
Things are a lot different now, and Brock Lesnar is arguably the biggest name in the company. Sure, he gives the impression that he doesn’t care about the industry and he’s only in it for the paycheck, but that is one hefty paycheck, and the man has really found his niche since returning from the UFC four years ago.
It’s a simple one that sees Lesnar toss his opponent around the ring for several minutes before landing an F-5 and securing the 1-2-3. Seeing him carry this into his match with Goldberg, one of very few names on the list to have a clean victory over “The Beast,” really turns the tide and makes Goldberg the underdog heading into this one – an interesting dynamic in comparison to that of their previous encounter
Speaking of “The Myth,” ring rust aside, Goldberg should be making it his prime objective to ensure that his return to the WWE is a fruitful one. His 173-0 record in WCW isn’t going anywhere, he’s made a huge impact on wrestling history despite criticism for his lacking skill-set, so aside from a bit of cash, Bill Goldberg does not need to come back to the WWE. In saying that, if his return results in the same bad taste left in the fans’ mouths in 2004, it’ll only serve to tarnish whatever star power his name holds within the industry.
Recent interviews to promote WWE 2K17 make it look like there’s a lengthy list of people Goldberg is interested in facing too, so if this does happen to be more than just a one-off, the first match back is going to be pivotal in setting Goldberg up as a big draw going forward.
The main aim of this feud should be to deliver a monumental match, a true showcase of “The Unstoppable Force vs. The Immovable Object,” and the best way to go about doing so is to deliver what would best be described as the antithesis of WrestleMania XX. The tools are definitely there to make it that, with this potentially being Lesnar’s most evenly matched opponent in quite some time, so there’s really no excuse for this not to end up being a decent story and an even better match.
Nobody’s expecting a mat classic; Brock Lesnar and Goldberg both thrive on in-ring domination, and as such, this match is going to be a brawl. But with the right work from all parties, and most importantly, the slightest bit of optimism on behalf of the WWE Universe, this could be a worthwhile encounter that we look back on as one of 2016’s biggest moments within WWE.
Again, looking at the bigger picture, fan claims that this match is a waste of the company’s best utilities are understandable, but when you take their match from WrestleMania XX into account, it actually stands as grounds to believe that Goldberg and Lesnar will try to leave it all in the ring this time around.
The fans are going to make or break this rivalry right from the moment Goldberg sets foot back in the ring, but if your primary issue with this match is over the last time they squared off, it would be recommended to give them the benefit of the doubt and at least see where they go with it before opting to reject it.