Whether or not Brock Lesnar is next or last, Goldberg did one thing right Monday in Denver.
He sold us on the story.
Goldberg stepped foot inside a WWE ring for the first time in 12 years this past Monday. He was received warmly by the Mile High crowd, a reaction that even shocked him a bit.
In the past few weeks as talks of a Lesnar/Goldberg match at Survivor Series gained steam, there was a mix reaction from WWE fans about seeing Goldberg back in action. There were the young fans who have never seen him perform live before, be it on television or in person, and there were the older fans who loved him growing up while watching WCW and thrilled to see a bit of their childhood resurface.
Then there were the fans who were never fans of Goldberg’s style. He was two moves and done for most of his build in WCW. Those same fans mockingly chanted his name toward a similar star in Ryback the past several years. Goldberg, simply, wasn’t that good nor ever that interesting.
I can be lumped into the latter along with my co-host for the video podcast, Nicholas Huba. And as someone who recently grew tired of seeing Brock Lesnar do his thing in the ring after decimating The Undertaker, this match looked terrible on paper.
Let’s look back at their only other match – WreslteMania XX on March 14, 2004 with Stone Cold Steve Austin as the special guest referee. You can find the full match on YouTube somewhere, but if you have the WWE Network, enjoy the much higher quality.
Coincidentally, this was Goldberg’s last match in WWE, and it was Lesnar’s last match before he went to New Japan Pro Wrestling, and then UFC.
That match wasn't very good. The Madison Square Garden booed both competitors mercilessly. In the end, Goldberg won after hitting the Jackhammer, and then Austin stunned them both, receiving the biggest cheers of the match.
So why should we care to see these two wrestle again?
When it was announced Goldberg would be on Raw, it felt uninteresting. I knew it was going to be at the end of the show, and going by his previous promos, it wasn’t going to be interesting.
But Goldberg surprised us, telling quite possibly the best story they can tell with this. He was real about his feelings, laughing off the early whispers of the match being a possibility. He enjoyed going around promoting a video game that he and Lesnar are heavily featured in.
My favorite line was how he felt like a super hero to the kids who said they enjoyed playing as his character in the game. Goldberg frequently visits children’s hospitals and is very charitable toward the Jimmy V Foundation and is a spokesman for the ASPCA. He’s a good role model outside of the wrestling world.
Despite all of that, it was a feud perhaps best left inside your X-Box 1’s and PS4’s.
“But then, Brock Lesnar challenged me to a fight,” Goldberg said during his promo. “But he didn’t have the balls to do it himself. He made Paul Heyman, his fat little stooge, do it for him. And I thought to myself, maybe, maybe I have one more ass-kicking left in me. I thought to myself, maybe I have one badass spear left in me. And I thought to myself, maybe I have one last devastating jackhammer left in me. Brock Lesnar, not only does that mean that you’re next, but most importantly it means, Brock Lesnar, you’re last.”
This promo doesn’t scream trilogy. It doesn’t call for more than one match. This is Goldberg coming back to be a hero to not just all the kids out there but his family and his son.
Does that make the actual match more exciting for me? Maybe not. But it makes the build and the story leading up to it a helluva lot more interesting. This is how you book a match like this.
- Outside of the build for Goldberg’s return, Raw was a bit lackluster. This isn’t the first time WWE announces a big return at the end of the show, leaving the first 2 hours and 45 minutes as filler.
- Chris Jericho almost called Kevin Owens a stupid idiot! I hope next week Owens finds Jericho’s list and sees his name on it. This is going to be a fun fun feud once they officially separate.
- New Day is trying their damndest to sell this feud with Cesaro and Sheamus and it just isn’t working. I think the big reason is because it’s hard to get behind a strange bedfellows pairing to win the titles so early when clearly it’s against a team going for Demolition’s title reign record.
- I don’t think I’ve ever seen a human thrown as far as Braun Strowman threw one of the Mile High Trio on Monday. That was a laugh-out-loud moment for sure. I did groan, however, when Sami Zayn stood up to Strowman. Hopefully this is a way to tell the underdog story while continuing to build Strowman as a monster.
- Lita is a terrible interviewee. I wish they’d stop treating this match like it’s more history for the women and get down to selling it like a Hell in a Cell match should be sold. They should want to make each other bleed for that title, not make history.
- They’ve officially killed Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Shame on you, WWE.
- Brian Kendrick continues to be an excellent veteran for the young cruiserweights.
- I can’t believe James Ellsworth is 2-0 against A.J. Styles. I also can’t believe he pulled off such a nice superkick out of nowhere.
- Are they setting up a casket match between Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt? Why?
- Alexa Bliss is doing a solid job selling her feud with Becky Lynch while the champ is off television with a non-wrestling related injury.
- A lot of irony in Carmella claiming Nikki rode her boyfriend’s coat tails in WWE when it was Big Cass who got Carmella into the business.
- A member of the Spirit Squad just pinned a member of the SmackDown Tag Team Champions. Please don’t tell me that in 2016 the Spirit Squad are going to get a tag title opportunity.
Power 7 Rankings
Week of Oct. 17 (previous ranking)
A ranking of the top seven wrestlers on Raw, SmackDown and NXT.
- Kevin Owens (1) - He may be losing his partner Jericho.
- Seth Rollins (2) - Impressive win over Jericho.
- Roman Reigns (3) - Did the dumb thing by disrespecting Rusev’s family.
- New Day (4) - #420 days as champs. Nice.
- Sasha Banks (5) - Less history, more wanting to beat a rival.
- Charlotte (6) - What lengths will she go to in order to regain her title?
- Brian Kendrick (UR) - He’s done an excellent job trying to lead the CW division.
Out: Cesaro/Sheamus (7) - I’m not convinced anymore.
On the bubble: Braun Strowman is just murdering people.
- Dean Ambrose (2) - Twice now he has made Styles look foolish.
- A.J. Styles (1) - He has to get Ambrose’s antics out of his head.
- Dolph Ziggler (3) - Spirit Squad lingering or not, this is about him and The Miz
- The Miz (4) - He’s doing everything he can to get that title back.
- Heath Slater/Rhyno (5) - Slater being pinned by Kenny looks bad.
- Alexa Bliss (UR) - 5 feet of fury, whether it’s in the ring or on the mic.
- Randy Orton (UR) - He has Kane by his side
Out: John Cena (6) - a no-show; Becky Lynch (7) - We won’t see her for another month.
On the bubble: Bray Wyatt can go for a major feud win.
- Shinsuke Nakamura (1)
- Samoa Joe (2)
- Asuka (3)
- The Revival (4)
- Bobby Roode (5)
- Austin Aries (6)
- Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa (7)