At Survivor Series, Goldberg returned to action for first time in 12 years, a move that prompted much speculation among fans, how would the 49-year-old perform after such an extended absence? Furthermore, as I penned in a column prior to the event, the Brock Lesnar bout from WrestleMania 20 is memorable for all the wrong reasons, so how would the rematch be presented? This match was under very different circumstances and it was a much better bout, depending on your prospective.
After Goldberg was moved to the corner, he shoved Brock to the canvas and a confused former NCAA national champion looked to his adviser Paul Heyman for answers. As he stood up, he was hit with a spear out of nowhere and that was followed up with a second spear before the former WCW champion hoisted Lesnar up for the jack hammer for the win.
Goldberg defeated Brock Lesnar in less than two minutes.
It was a complete shock and a result that nobody expected. It generated outrage from some fans that consider the events of WM 30, when Lesnar defeated The Undertaker and snapped the streak, to be useless because he was “squashed” by the former WCW champion. Again, it’s really all a matter of prospective. Was it actually a squash match? It’s a colorful term and often brings to mind memorable jobbers such as “Iron” Mike Sharpe and Frankie Williams. If the definition of a squash match is strictly that only one competitor gets offense then yes, Brock was squashed. But, I disagree with that observation, it wasn’t as though Goldberg dominated the former UFC Heavyweight champion for five minutes and then won. It was presented in such a way that it actually maintained Lesnar’s credibility and didn’t exposure any potential ring rust for Goldberg.
It was done similar to a flash KO in boxing or MMA, Brock was caught off guard and didn’t recover before the three count. It also gives Paul Heyman, who cuts the best promos on WWE TV, a perfect way to promote an eventual rematch. Heyman will explain to the audience that Survivor Series was a fluke and such an event couldn’t happen again. At the same time, someone like Big Show, who was used to reignite Lesnar’s momentum before, could be used to give him another dominate win.
Despite the “controversy” about how Survivor Series was booked, if you look at the situation objectively, it was probably the best option to maximize the money that Goldberg can draw during his current WWE run. In fact, the set up to draw more money was already put in place on Raw last week when Heyman explained that Lesnar suffered cracked ribs after the initial spear and that he would enter the Royal Rumble to confront Goldberg.
Keep in mind, the Rumble will take place at the 65,000-seat Alamodome and WWE brass will need something unique to pack the Wrestlemania type venue. Bill Goldberg received a tremendous reaction when he returned to the WWE and the logic behind his entry into the battle royal is potentially another title run. While that’s probably not the plan, it gives the Alamodome another selling point aside from the Rumble itself, will Goldberg win it to main event Wrestlemania? The Lesnar storyline provides the reasoning for his entry and since Brock is a part-timer, his rare appearance adds to the potential draw. Finally, the actual confrontation is another angle to build toward to sell tickets, which is possible because of the type of finish at Survivor Series.
Chances are, Brock and Goldberg eliminate each other from the Rumble to set up another bout at Wrestlemania 33, another major venue where the company has to sell a lot of tickets. Essentially, management is getting more longevity from Goldberg’s run. If Survivor Series featured a 15-minute match that exposed his ring rust from 12 years outside of the sport, the buzz around his return would’ve diminished. If the path that appears to be set is followed, the WWE gets three draws for major events over the course of about six months instead of a one-off appearance.
Plus, it should be noted that much of this rivalry is being used as a way to push WWE 2K17 video game sales and the continuation of the feud through the shopping season further promotes the game. As I said previously, it cost several million dollars to produce the video game and there’s the potential of several million dollars for profit so there’s more to Goldberg’s return to the company than just his appearances on WWE TV.
When you consider the upside of the potential drawing power of Goldberg through WrestleMania, it makes the most business sense to protect him from ring rust until the conclusion of the feud. Essentially, the Survivor Series finish allows the angle to draw more money and a longer match can be presented at the biggest stage possible. If the Wrestlemania 33 match isn’t quite up to par, it’s a moot point because at least the feud will have already drawn the money it was designed to draw during the course of a few pay-per-views.
Until next week
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