It’s now official that Goldberg will enter the 2017 WWE Royal Rumble in San Antonio, Texas, but when all is said and done, he should not be celebrating among the fireworks
GOLDBERG! GOLDBERG! GOLDBERG!
After a dozen years, it’s been pretty crazy to once again hear these chants (whether they’re piped in or not) in a WWE arena. And it was certainly crazy to watch as Goldberg decimated Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series in under a minute-and-a-half. But where do they go from there? Well, we got the answer the very next night on Monday Night RAW, didn’t we?
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While I think it’s safe to say that most wrestling fans assumed the Goldberg appearance at Survivor Series would be a one-off, we now know that’s not the case. He announced after a backstage meeting with Stephanie McMahon that he would be taking part in the 2017 Royal Rumble match in San Antonio, which returns to the Alamodome for the first time since 1997 when Shawn Michaels recaptured the WWE Championship in front of his home crowd.
Look, I get it, okay? I really do. Goldberg is a draw. Goldberg means money in merchandise and ticket sales, which they’ll certainly need to fill that place in January. But I just can’t get behind him winning the Royal Rumble and going on to headline WrestleMania 33 in Orlando.
I just can’t do it.
5. WWE doesn’t need him to win
As I said previously, I understand the draw to Goldberg. I understand why they brought him in and I’m sure it did help sell a few more video games. But WWE does not need him to win this match. I’m sure they’ve already sold more than a few t-shirts and Goldberg simply being at the Royal Rumble in any capacity would help sell some tickets to the event. But WWE does not need him to actually win the whole thing.
They just want you think that he can. For more than a year in WCW, Goldberg was built as this unstoppable force that could roll over anybody. I mean, he went over Hulk Hogan clean less than a year after his debut. And the streak was what it was, and for the time, it did what it was supposed to do. Goldberg was an instant superstar and was perfect for the Monday night wars. And after a 12-year absence from wrestling, WWE played up how unstoppable he was upon his return, even going as far as calling him the most dominant WCW champion in history, something that Hogan, Ric Flair, Sting and others could probably argue … but I digress.
Goldberg is in great shape for 49 years old. Hell, he’s in great shape for any age. And once again, he’s being built as this unstoppable force, especially after beating the guy that’s beaten everyone else in WWE for the past two years. But WWE does not need him to win this match. Sure, his inclusion in the Royal Rumble may get some old WCW fans to finally subscribe to the WWE Network in hopes that they’ll see their former favorite wrestler win. But I’ll go ahead and say it again — Goldberg does not NEED to win the Royal Rumble.
4. Goldberg shouldn’t be in a title match at WrestleMania 33
This might play a little bit off of the last entry but allow me to further explain.
Since we now know that Goldberg’s match at Survivor Series wasn’t a one-off, it’s safe to assume that he’ll be sticking around at least through WrestleMania 33 next April in Orlando. But we also know that the winner of the Royal Rumble gets a championship opportunity on the grandest stage of ’em all, and Goldberg belongs nowhere near the WWE World Championship or the Universal Championship. Period.
Yes, there are a lot of people who will want Goldberg to get one more shot at a title, and WWE is certainly playing that up, especially given his title run promo the night after Survivor Series. But that does not need to happen, and that’s why this kind of plays off of what I said in my intro. It’s not just me thinking that Goldberg shouldn’t be or doesn’t deserve a title match at WrestleMania (which is my thought process right now), it’s that they don’t need him to be in a title match at WrestleMania.
The nostalgia factor is there. Even as I’m writing this, I can picture him holding the Big Gold Belt (and the US title for that matter) after beating Hogan in Atlanta in the summer of 1998. But nostalgia will only take you so far. Sooner or later, Goldberg is going to have to have a real match, and let’s be honest with ourselves here, that’s really not his thing. Outside of his match with DDP at Halloween Havoc in 1998, I can’t think of one Goldberg match in either WCW or WWE that stands out as a classic.
So do we really want a guy like Goldberg wrestling for one of the biggest prizes in wrestling at the biggest show of the year? Nostalgia will only take you so far until it gets stale and the fans turn. Need an example?
I’m going to go ahead and let you get your “Batista isn’t Goldberg” statement out of the way in your head before I continue…..
Okay, here’s the thing. Batista is not Goldberg. Batista was BETTER than Goldberg, and trust me, I’m not even a Batista guy. But Batista was always a better wrestler, told better stories in the ring and was always better on the microphone. With that being said, I will say that I have been impressed with Goldberg’s mic skills since his return. But isn’t this scenario playing out just a little bit like things did back in 2014 when Batista returned to WWE after a long absence? You’ve got a big guy that was once a star and once a champion who signs a big contract with WWE to come back and take part in the Royal Rumble, which I think everyone knew he was going to win. And at the start, Batista was cheered heavily upon his return. And then what happened?
The fans turned on him.
Yes, the Daniel Bryan situation was happening at this time, and that certainly did play a big part in how the main event for WrestleMania XXX changed, but this just seems like the exact same thing to me. The nostalgia thing is cool for a while but it wears off and should only be done in small doses. That’s why I like a guy like The Rock only showing up from time to time. That’s why they bring in guys like Austin and HBK for these appearances. We want to take a look back and remember how great a certain era was. But does that mean that I want one of these guys to win the Royal Rumble? Absolutely not. Okay, Michaels maybe but that’s not the point here.
But that’s what happened with Batista. They brought him in after the success he was having elsewhere and thought they could capitalize on it. It worked for a minute and then it was gone.
And if you really look around, there’s not as many people chanting “Goldberg” as you might think. The people turned on Batista when there was something fresher and cooler to root for; don’t think for a second that the same thing can’t happen to Goldberg. There’s a lot of time between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, and letting Goldberg win the Royal Rumble only sets him up to fail in a championship program leading to WrestleMania. There’s really only one way to go with this whole thing, isn’t there?
2. Goldberg needs to be eliminated by Brock Lesnar
This is what they’re leading to, right?
Okay, let’s tally up the score here. Goldberg now leads Brock Lesnar 2-0. He’s got the win at that atrocious match from WrestleMania XX and now the win in yet another monstrosity at Survivor Series. And yes, I’m on the side of those that despised the match that just took place. I do love the fact that WWE can still surprise us, which is exactly what happened, but I just don’t like how things went down. For years, Brock Lesnar has been built as this monster that beats up on everybody, ends the streak of The Undertaker and destroys guys like John Cena and Randy Orton. And then a guy who hasn’t been in a ring for 12 years comes in and ends that?
Come on, guys. Give me something here. But if that’s the way they want to go, then let’s just go all the way with it.
It’s been reported that Brock Lesnar saw the payday in a longer program with Goldberg and he’s probably right. But if we’re going to do that, then let’s just build on that. I will admit that it will be cool to see Goldberg in a ring with some guys we haven’t seen him in there with before, but it will be hard for him to build something with anybody other than Lesnar. The foundation is there and Lesnar will be looking to get even, so it only makes sense for him to eliminate Goldberg as a way to build towards another grudge match at WrestleMania. That’s the only real play that I see here.
And just to throw this in there again — no, there does not need to be a title involved for these two to go at it one more time. The match alone will sell tickets and subscriptions; just let them go one last time and be done with it. If you want him to get into a program with somebody else, wait until next year at SummerSlam to take care of that … if he’s still around.
1. The Royal Rumble winner needs to be someone on the full-time roster
With all of that being said, this is the real reason that Goldberg shouldn’t win the Royal Rumble.
As I’ve stated at length, WWE doesn’t need Goldberg in a title match at WrestleMania to make his appearance at the Royal Rumble worthwhile. Just him being there will be enough and it will help build towards another match with Brock Lesnar down the line. So let those two have it out at the Rumble, possibly eliminating each other, and give the spotlight to somebody that’s on the full-time roster.
Goldberg doesn’t need the rub. Lesnar doesn’t need the rub. Batista didn’t need the rub. It’s guys like Bray Wyatt that really need this Royal Rumble victory. It’s not these part-time guys who should be winning a big match like the Royal Rumble, and for two of the last three years, that’s what we’ve gotten. We had the Batista debacle in 2014 before Roman Reigns won the next year and put on a great match with Lesnar at WrestleMania before Seth Rollins cashed in. Then, last year, we got Triple H winning the Rumble and the title to go with it. While it was a decent storyline, is that something most people really wanted to see?
Do you really think all the guys in the locker room enjoy seeing these part-time guys win these big matches? Again, are the fans really going to get behind it if Goldberg is in one of the final guys in the ring, especially if an underdog like Bray Wyatt –who finally got a big PPV win at Survivor Series– or a fan favorite like Seth Rollins or a returning Finn Balor or perhaps a newcomer like Nakamura is in there with him? I really just don’t see that happening.
Maybe that’s just me. Maybe I’m just not seeing and/or enjoying what some of you folks are. Again, I see the fun in the nostalgia that Goldberg brings to the table but I get that way when any of these older guys come out during the Royal Rumble. That doesn’t mean they should win. And Goldberg shouldn’t be winning this thing either.
So do you agree with me or not? Should Goldberg win the 2017 Royal Rumble? We’d love to get your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below.